Jewel ending explained — will Tyra and Siya’s romance last?

July 8, 2022
M.N. Miller 0
Ending Explained, Film, Netflix, Streaming Service
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This article contains major spoilers for Jewel’s ending.

Ready Steady Cut film critic M.N. Miller says, “There is much to appreciate about Jewel, particularly on how it deals with the white savior trope. However, the storytelling is too passive, and the romance is forced.

Jewel follows a travel brochure photographer Tyra (Michelle Botes), whose family has deep roots in South Africa. Her father was a police officer around when the Sharpeville massacre occurred on March 21st, 1960. She admits later she has no idea why she was drawn to come back to Sharpeville. All she knows is that her father was proud of that terrible day. All the police needed was an excuse of a few rocks thrown their way to shoot into the crowd, including bullets and tear gas. In total, 69 people lost their lives. The final count also included 80 injuries, including 29 children. So, a deep history haunts the township of Sharpeville, and the sight of white women walking around, arrogantly, does not go over well with its macho residents.

As they tour the Sharpeville memorial, Tyra and a crowd of her group of primarily white vacationers and their male tour guide have visitors. They watch a handful of women dressed in crisp white praying. The man yells at them in Zulu to go away. He comments these crazy ones are interfering with his speech. They are praying in Sotho for the lost souls that day. Tyra begins to take pictures. The women are praying for ghosts, but later they explain it is cleansing. Our photographer spots a beautiful woman in the back. Her name is Siya (Nqobile Khumalo), and Tyra cannot take her eyes off her.

As the film progresses, Tyra has no sense of personal boundaries. She finds and follows Siya to her home. She wants her to dance with her in public, which is not done in South Africa. Tyra even wants to be the white savior character by saving Siya by taking her to Cape Town to model. She resists her flirtations for a while, which does not go over well with her boyfriend, Tshepo. He is already impatient with her as Siya will not move away with him because she is her grandmother’s caretaker, who has uncontrolled diabetes.

Eventually, Siya’s boyfriend and associate attack Tyra and toss her in the river to die. The group saves her at the memorial, but as they put it, the river is not ready to take her. As she heals, Siya discovers her lady caller’s camera in his home. She leaves to find her and jumps in the river. It guides her back to Tyra, and they kiss for the first time. Unfortunately, while this is happening, Tshepo kills her grandmother with a shot of lethal insulin, perhaps because she represents one of two roadblocks to starting his life with her.

Netflix’s Jewel ending explained

When he goes to find his love, Tshepo lays eyes on her kissing the white woman, who has family ties to the massacre that still haunts the town’s residents. He is angry now, more than he has ever been. He takes the insulin needle and injects her with a lethal dose. She falls over, and his friend tosses her into the river. At this point, you must admire how the film takes care of the cliche, problematic white savior character.

It is explained that this was all to protect Siya from Tshepo, to get her to leave him. It is also said that Tyra is now with the river and time, but she will return to find her. As she walks away, the camera stays on her face as birds chirp. A piece of mysterious music plays, and her face changes as her eyes open wide. Then, for a split second before the film goes to black, we see the back of a woman with short hair and wearing a flowery shirt. We assume that the river has coughed up Tyra again.

You can stream Jewel exclusively on Netflix. Do you have any thoughts on Jewel’s ending? Let us know in the comments.