Beginning on a train travelling from the coastal province of KwaZulu-Natal to Johannesburg, Vaya focuses on three passengers and follows each of them into the city. They're strangers to one another, yet bound by interlocking destinies and a shared naïveté. Nkulu (Sibusiso Msimang) is charged with retrieving his father's remains from the capital and bringing them back home for burial. What he doesn't know is that a whole other set of relatives have their own plans. Zanele (Zimkhitha Nyoka) is chaperoning a young girl who's en route to reunite with her mother, a singer who manages a tavern. When Zanele meets the mother's charismatic boyfriend, he promises that he can get heron TV as a dancer, but there's more to this offer than meets the eye. Nhlanhla (Sihle Xaba), excited by the prospect of getting rich quick, is caught up in criminal activities — ranging from kidnapping to murder — the moment he gets off the train. Vaya was directed by Akin Omotoso.

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Critic Reviews (3)

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Critic Score Distribution
Highest score:
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Average score:
  1. Positive: 2 Out of 3
  1. Mixed: 1 Out of 3
  1. Negative: 0 Out of 3
Critical Consensus: Good.

The Iris

25 Jun 2017
Like it’s Tsotsitaal namesake meaning “to go”, Vaya, Directed by Akin Omotoso, literally begins on the move. Opening on a train bound to Johannesburg Vaya follows the intertwining paths of three young South Africans journeying from their rural ...

Awards Circuit

01 Jan 2017
When it comes to international film festivals, it’s almost a given that there will be at least one dark multi-narrative film among the lineup. This year’s Toronto International Film Festival was no exception. Hailing from two countries as vastly ...

Vulture Hound

01 Jan 2017
Foreign cinema, or rather: the outside—alien, should be a term used for any film that is foreign to art, and only succeeds in replicating the status quo. So in many ways, this category applies more to the mainstream, as supposed to where the term i ...

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Release Date:

September 9th, 2016 (Toronto International Film Festival, Canada)
March 2017 (South Africa)

Executive Producer:

Jan du Plessis, Matthew Moodley, Cecil Barry


Kabelo Thathe


Harriet Perlman, Robbie Thorpe, Craig Freimond, Tshabalira Lebakeng, Zaiboo Anthony Mafela, David Majoka, Madoda Ntuli


Vuyani Sondlo

Production Designer:

Amanda Scholtz


Richard Mohlari


Joel Assaizky

Original Score:

Joel Assaizky

Production Company:

Rififi Pictures, Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa, MNET, Mvest Media, Red Pepper Pictures, Ladies and Gentlemen Films, Ford Foundation, The Raith Foundation Trust, Gauteng Film Commission




110 minutes

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