James' Journey to Jerusalem

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James' Journey to Jerusalem
James' Journey to Jerusalem FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed by Ra'anan Alexandrowicz
Produced by Renen Schorr
Written by Ra'anan Alexandrowicz
Sami Duenias
Starring Siyabonga Melongisi Shibe
Release dates
19 May 2003
Running time
91 minutes
Country Israel
Language Hebrew, English, Zulu

James' Journey to Jerusalem (Hebrew: מסעות ג'יימס בארץ הקודש) is a 2003 Israeli film directed by Ra'anan Alexandrowicz and produced by Renen Schorr.


The film's plot focuses on an African teenager named James (Siyabonga Melongisi Shibe) whom hails from the fictional African village Entshongweni, who goes on a pilgrimage journey, on behalf of his village, towards the Holy Land, Israel, and especially in order to come to Jerusalem. Upon arriving in Israel, James is suspected to be an illegal foreign worker and as a result he is arrested. Shimi (Salim Daw), a contractor of foreign workers, releases him on bail to work with him. After James explains to him that he did not travel to Israel to work, Shimi clarifies to him that since he paid for his release, James now owes him. Therefore James is forced to interrupt his journey and begin working for Shimi.

Shimi tries to gain a profit at James' expense and makes him work for other people as well. Shimi's wife sees him as a kind of an amusement. Salah, Shimi's father, soon discovers that James is exceptionally lucky rolling dice and he decides to exploit this in order to win in backgammon games against his friends. James hopes to pay his debt to Shimi so that he can finally reach Jerusalem, but as time passes he learns how to conduct with the locals. James starts managing his foreign worker friends, and soon he becomes a cheap labor contractor himself, just like Shimi. James buys himself nice clothes, a mobile phone and a TV. As a result, he forgets about the pilgrimage.

Eventually James remembers the original reason for which he arrived in Israel, but it is already too late – he is arrested by the immigration police and transferred to an Israeli prison. The prison is located in the Russian Compound in Jerusalem, and so as he is handcuffed, James finally gets to see the city for which his village prays to.


Actor Character
Siyabonga Melongisi Shibe James
Salim Daw Shimi
Arie Elias Salah
Sandra Schonwald Rachel
Hugh Masebenza Skomboze
Florence Bloch Re'uma
Ya'akov Ronen Morad Police Officer


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