By Annette Quijada
“I am All Girls” tackles the important subject of child sex trafficking with great sensitivity. Director Donovan Marsh’s storytelling is emotional without being completely explicit or exploitative about the matter.
The film takes place in South Africa and follows special crimes detectives Jodie Snyman, played by Erica Wessels, and Captain George Mululeki, who is played by Mothusi Magano, as they work to bring down a global child sex trafficking ring.
Snyman finds herself in an unexpected allyship with a serial killer and vigilante Ntombizonke Bapai, played by Hlubi Mboya, who is going after the men involved in the ring.
Wessels and Mboya are the two leading ladies who manage to make this film captivating.
Wessels commits to her role as a detective who has let a case become her entire life’s focus.
Mboya’s breakthrough performance captures the pain that follows her character after years of trying to recover from being trafficked by powerful men as well as the power she’s developed over the years as she seeks revenge.
Crime and thriller loving audiences will very much enjoy this film for entertainment purposes.
But it’s also important to recognize the importance of “I am All Girls” in regards to bringing awareness to the exploitation of a lot of young girls who suffer around the world.
A heartbreaking fact about the film is that it’s based on true events.
Although it is not completely mentioned in the film, a man named Gert van Rooyen was a pedophile from South Africa who allegedly kidnapped six young girls between 1988 and 1989.
In the film, the character who represents van Rooyen is named Gert de Jager.
The son of van Rooyen claimed that three national party ministers were involved, and in the film we see this parallel event occur when a minister is seen selling a group of young girls away.
Toward the end of the film, a memorable line is said by Bapai when she finally faces the men responsible for her pain, “My name is Ntombiezonke Bapai. My first name, it means ‘all girls.’”
Bapai avenges not only herself, but all of the girls who lived this nightmare.