Good Madam (Mlungu Wam)
2021 / South Africa / 92 Minutes / Jenna Cato Bass
Still mourning the loss of the beloved grandmother, who raised her, single mother Tsidi is forced to leave her home in Gugulethu, after an irreconcilable feud with her relatives, who have plans for the family house. With nowhere else to stay and her 9-year-old-daughter Winnie in tow, Tsidi has no choice but to contact her estranged mother Mavis, who has worked as a live-in domestic for the same white ‘Madam’ for the past 30 years. Tsidi blames her mother for never being around for her or her brother, as Mavis was always obsessively devoted to Madam’s white family. Even now, with Madam bed-ridden and her sons overseas, Mavis continues doggedly slaving away in the big suburban house. Mavis welcomes her daughter and granddaughter with reluctance. The house brings back alienating childhood memories for Tsidi, but Winnie is overjoyed with their comfortable new space. Mavis insists that Tsidi and Winnie stay together in the cramped maid’s quarters, despite the house’s many rooms remaining unused. When Tsidi learns that Madam is not only bed-ridden but helplessly catatonic, she resolves to make the house a home on her own terms, but soon meets disturbing, supernatural resistance. She starts to suspect that Madam is not as helpless as she seems and is conducting a campaign of terror against her. Mavis won’t hear it, remaining loyal to Madam and reminding Tsidi how grateful they should all be for Madam’s generosity. As Tsidi becomes more frightened for her own and her daughter’s safety, a visitor surprises them – Stuart, Mavis’s only son and favourite child who was adopted by Madam, descends on the house with his own ideas of what’s best for ‘the family’. With Tsidi’s already troubled bond with Mavis on the brink of self-destruction and her relationship with her own daughter deteriorating, Tsidi turns to her grandmother’s spirit to help her uncover the dark truth about Madam’s horrifying heritage.