His mother dying from complications from HIV disease, the young David ran away from an abusive father and lived with other homeless children in a series of large concrete construction pipes. At the start of the film, David, now known to all as Tsotsi, is involved in a murder committed by Butcher during a mugging. After a fight with Boston, Tsotsi shoots Pumla, a young woman, while stealing her car, only to discover a three-month-old baby in the back seat.
Tsotsi hastily strips the car of its valuables and takes the baby back to his shack.
The woman survives the attack, and works with a police artist to create a composite sketch of Tsotsi's face, which is then run in the newspapers.
Realizing that he cannot properly care for the baby on his own, Tsotsi spots Miriam, with a young child strapped to her back, collecting water from a public tap. He follows her to her shack and forces her at gunpoint to feed the kidnapped child.
Meanwhile, rich gang leader Fela begins attempting to recruit Aap, Boston and Butcher to work for him.
After he takes the child to Miriam a second time, she asks Tsotsi to leave the child with her so that she can care for him on Tsotsi's behalf. Tsotsi agrees.
Tsotsi decides to take care of the injured Boston, and has the men take Boston to his shack. Boston explains that he never took the teachers' examination, and Tsotsi tells him that the gang will raise the money so that Boston can take the exam. To do so, they will have to commit another robbery.
Tsotsi, Butcher and Aap go to Pumla and John's house; when John returns from the hospital they follow him into the house and tie him up. Aap is assigned to watch John while Butcher ransacks the bedroom and David collects items from the baby’s room. When Aap goes to raid the fridge, John activates the alarm. In panic, Butcher attempts to kill John, but David kills Butcher and he and Aap escape in John’s car moments before the security company arrives.
Traumatized by Tsotsi's killing of Butcher and fearing that Tsotsi will one day hurt him too, Aap decides to leave the gang. When Tsotsi goes back to Miriam's house she reveals that she knows where he got the baby, and begs him to return the child to his parents.
Tsotsi sets off to return the baby. He reaches John’s house, tells John over the intercom that he will leave the child outside the gate. Meanwhile, an officer stationed at the house alerts Captain Smit, who rushes to the scene, arriving just as Tsotsi is about to walk away.
The police train their guns on Tsotsi, ordering him to return the baby. However, John urges them to lower their weapons so that he can retrieve the baby himself. Holding the baby in his arms, he is convinced by John to give up the baby. After this point there are three alternate endings to the film. In one version Tsotsi emotionally returns the baby to John, then is simply told to put up his hands and the film ends. In the two others the baby begins to cry after he's returned it to the parents and Tsotsi reaches for a bottle of milk in his pocket so as to feed the baby. A police officer thinks he's reaching for a weapon and then shoots him. One version ends with the gun shot killing him, the other with him dashing off, jumping a concrete wall, and running toward the township.
( Tsotsi Trailer)
Directed by Gavin Hood and set in a Soweto slum, near Johannesburg, South Africa. It is based on a novel of the same name by Athol Fugard. The soundtrack features Kwaito music performed by the popular South African artist Zola as well as a score by Mark Kilian and Paul Hepker featuring the voice of South African protest singer/poet Vusi Mahlasela.