Koi and the Whale

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A girl, named Koi, deals with life in the shadow of her father. Her father is famed in the village as the man who was swallowed by a Whale. Each year the village celebrates this feat in a massive festival. Koi has spent most of her childhood trying to match her father's magnum opus. She fashioned herself as various sea creatures to entice one to swallow her, she has even tried ponds, but the frogs won't have her. Koi sticks out like a sore thumb in the day’s festivities, in a red dress and a noticeably bare head. Each day on her way to school she must pass a giant mural of her father reclining on a Whale tongue. At the 12th annual Whale festival, Koi surrounded by whale hat bedecked villagers, has decided she has had enough. If she can't join him or match him; she's going to do that other thing...beat him.

Biblical connection

This story is inspired by Jonah and The whale. I always wondered what became of Jonah's family when he was swallowed and what did they feel when he resurfaced? A person with such an achievement/calling as it were being marked for life and so too are his children. This is where the narrative of Koi and the Whale finds its fins- Koi is that child. She has to deal with a life that will never measure up and a father that seems to belong to everyone but her. This deeply conflicts her and makes her skeptical of him, what he has done and everyone that chooses to celebrate him. A life tethered to the ocean's unknowns doesn't suit Koi at all.


  • Jonah(Koi's father): Sabelo Cele
  • Ziva(Koi's Mother): Nomfundo Ngweya


  • Director/Writer: Shivana Naidoo
  • Producer: Shveta Naidoo