A Growing Thing is an observational documentary filmed over several years just outside of Johannesburg, South Africa.
25 years after the end of apartheid, a dedicated mother of six in the townships near Johannesburg is determined to become a community leader and change her place in the world – as well as that of her female peers, one step at a time. The film provides a glimpse of post-apartheid life from a woman’s perspective.
With only a 5th grade education, Jabulile Ndaba, a tall black woman with a contagious sense of humor, never thought of herself as a manager. Now she is a leader-in-training at a women’s project near Johannesburg. The project, Kopanang, enables women to earn money through embroidery — and enables Jabulile to learn management skills.
Jabulile is the sole provider for her large family. Her husband drinks away his earnings at the local bar. When Jabulile discovers that their teenage son has started smoking the highly addictive street drug “nyaope,” she determines to do whatever it takes to help him quit.
Kopanang is run by an Irish nun who is training the women to run the project by themselves. When she announces that she will be moving to Australia, Jabulile and her fellow leaders are expected to take over the management of Kopanang: Can they rise to the challenge?