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Alexander, better known as Xan, is the main protagonist of the 2005 adventure movie Duma. He is a 12-year old boy who is the owner of Duma until he releases him into the wild with the help of a drifter named Ripkuna. He is loosely based on Xan Hopcraft.

He is portrayed by Alexander Michaeletos.

Role

While he and his father, Peter are driving on a road at night, they come across an orphaned cheetah cub and pick it up. They take the cub to a restaurant and they feed it some milk. Xan realizes that the cub is a cheetah and Peter decides to adopt him. They bring the cub home and introduce it to his mother, Kristin. They name the cheetah "Duma" and they quickly form a strong bond.

As Duma grows up, Peter teaches Xan how to ride a motorcycle and they ride alongside Duma. One day, Peter falls ill and is brought to the hospital, but recovers shortly afterwards. Peter eventually tells Xan that Duma will eventually have to return to the wild before Duma grows too old. Xan tells him that Duma doesn't want to be wild, but Peter tells him that Duma was born wild and that he can be released northwest of where they found Duma. Unfortunately, his father ill again and dies and Kristin is forced to move to Johannesburg to live with Aunt Gwen, much to Xan's dismay.

Xan arrives at his new school, where he is teased by a bully named Hock Bender. Meanwhile, Duma escapes the hotel and follows Kristin to Sunnighill Primary School. Duma arrives at the school and the kids flee in terror. Xan spots a group of police officers sent to capture the cheetah and searches for him in the bathroom, where he is ambushed and pickpocketed by Hock and his cronies. However, Duma comes out from one of the stalls and scares the bullies away, allowing Xan to take Hock's money. As they leave the school, they are confronted by the officers and they flee to a nearby playground. Kristin tries to call out to Xan, to no avail. They flee the city and Xan decides to take Duma to the wild, but not before leaving a note for his mother.

Xan takes his father's motorcycle and he tries to figure out how to get to their destination. They travel to Botswana until he eventually runs out of gas. They continue moving until they come across a crashed plane and settle there. Later, a mysterious drifter named Ripkuna comes by and he tries to use Xan's motorcycle. Xan wakes up and confronts Rip. Rip explains that he's going south and Xan tells him that they're going west. Xan asks for water and offers to give him a ride. Rip shares his water with Xan and tells him not to share it with Duma, as they don't have enough water. They introduce each other and Xan notices a bush baby in his jacket. Rip names it "Mashaka" and explains that their destination is only a few days away.

The next day, they use his motorcycle as a desert sailboat to guide them across the salt pans. They stop as the parachute rips a hole and they manage to find water as well as find some ostrich eggs. Xan explains that he plans to cross the Okavango and Rip informs that the place is extremely dangerous. Xan tells Rip that he isn't afraid and Rip tells him that it's wise to be afraid. Throughout the journey, Xan notices that Rip is taking them in a different direction and they arrive at an abandoned village, which Rip describes as full of angry spirits. Rip spots a helicopter searching for them and they all hide. It is revealed that the pilot is Kristin, who is searching for Xan and she leaves. The following night, while they're camping, Rip points out to Xan that the reason Duma has the black streaks on his face is due to a prophecy about a mother cheetah crying so long and so hard after losing her cub.

The next morning, they arrive at an abandoned diamond mine and Rip heads in. Xan is suspicious of Rip and he and Duma try to flee until Rip is caved in. Xan heads over and manages to partially free Rip. Xan accuses Rip of trying to turn him and Duma into the authorities for a reward and abandons him as he leaves with Duma. They arrive at the Thamalakane River and Xan decides to cross it the next morning. Xan builds a raft and Duma reluctantly hops on after witnessing a bird getting devoured by nearby crocodiles. As they ride through the river, they realize that they are headed for a waterfall and are knocked off. They are pursued by the crocodiles, but they manage to make it to shore.

They later come across a herd of cape buffaloes, but the buffaloes chase them and they end up getting separated. Xan searches for Duma and later manages to find Mashaka. However, he gets attacked by a boar and is knocked unconscious. He is then rescued by Rip, who managed to find Duma after he was caught in a poacher's trap. Xan apologizes to Rip for leaving him and Rip admits that he did want the money. Rip explains his backstory to Xan and Xan suspects that his mother hates him for leaving her. However, Rip explains that parents never stop loving their children and Xan asks him why, to which he explains that he's a father. They come across a herd of gazelles and Duma hunts one of them, but fails. They later come across a party and scare off the tourists with a black mamba before stealing the food. While on a boat, they trade each other and Xan teases Rip by playing dead.

They eventually arrive at land and they come across a gazelle carcass, but Duma refuses to share. Rip then gives Duma his hat and introduces Xan to a cave his grandfather always showed him. They talk about their fathers and Rip explains to Xan that each person has their own destiny before their deaths. Rip tells Xan that he will be with his family and Xan will be with his mother. Xan tells him that things have changed since his father's death and Rip tells him that changes happen with families all the time, as Xan has changed from a little boy since he ran away from home.

They finally arrive at the Erongo Mountains, but are attacked by a swarm of tsetse flies. Rip covers Xan with his blanket to protect him as he gets bitten by hundreds of flies. The following night, Rip develops sleeping sickness and they are stalked by a pride of lions. The lions move in to attack, but the pair manage to build a fire. Xan heads out to get help and the lions follow him. However, Duma breaks free from his leash and leads the lions away. Xan manages to arrive at a local village and informs the villagers about Rip. Xan leads the villagers to Rip and discovers Duma gone. The doctors bring Rip to the village and give him medicine to cure him. Xan searches for Duma and the doctors are revealed to be Rip's family as Rip is finally cured. Rip tearfully apologizes to his wife for leaving them and introduces Xan to his relatives.

Xan continues searching for Duma and manages to find Duma. He notices that he has bonded with another male cheetah, who turns out to be his long-lost brother. The two of them successfully hunt down a gazelle and Xan reminisces what his father said about Duma. Duma eventually comes over to Xan and Xan wishes him goodbye as he leaves with Rip. He then heads back home on his motorcycle with Mashaka and arrives at the farm, where he is happily reunited with his mother. Xan states that there are things that he knew without knowing and that Duma took him somewhere special during their journey.

Trivia

  • In real-life, Xan Hopcraft had his pet cheetah, Dooms before he was born and he died when Xan was 7 years old. In addition, his mother was named Carol Cawthra Hopcraft, instead of Kristin. Xan also lived in Kenya, instead of South Africa.

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