Every year, South African factory worker Xolani travels to the remote mountain area of his tribe to participate in the initiation ritual that turns young boys into men. When one of the boys discovers his best kept secret, Xolani’s life is in jeopardy.
Xolani belongs to the South African Xhosa tribe. Every year, he takes leave of absence from work to participate in the ‘Ukwaluka’, a ceremony that lasts several weeks in which boys are turned into men. Together with a group of men, he travels to the mountain area where the rituals will take place. Every man has his own disciple, for whom he acts as a mentor. Xolani takes care of Kwanda, the only boy from the group who grew up in a well-to-do family in Johannesburg. The others come from the countryside and look upon Kwanda as a pigheaded city boy.
Kwanda gradually discovers that Xolani is in love with Vija, one of the other mentors. It turns out that they have been seeing each other secretly for years at previous editions of the initiation ritual. That discovery puts Xolani’s life completely upside down.