WFC in South Africa story


Since WFC began operating in South Africa in May 2008, it has run nine education programmes offering over 190 training opportunities for young people from four of Cape Town’s most populous township communities. Following on from a World Cup project, 8 participants were selected to form a trainee production team working out of an office in the notorious Khayelitsha township. Since the World Cup, this production team has piloted a number of revenue generation models across all broadcast platforms with a degree of success in each. Every year, they are joined by increasing number of new filmmakers, as WFC trains more young people to make films. [read more…]



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WFC in South Africa story continues…

In 2008 WFC began work in South Africa in the province of Free State with the creative arts charity Dramatic Need, teaching 86 children of agricultural workers to make films on cell phones about issues that affected their lives. Following on from this, WFC taught their first workshop in Cape Town with New Africa Theatre Association, arranged and funded by WFC Patron, Gerald Fox. Through working with NATA, WFC was introduced to Simcelile ‘Simi’ Kalimashe, a young man who lives in the heart of one of Cape Town’s most populous township, Khayelitsha. Simi gave us access to untapped youth networks that existed in the heart of his and other surrounding townships.

In 2009 WFC followed up this programme with a project teaching Documentary Film Making to an expanded group of young township residents. The programme was taught by veteran documentary film maker, Jo Menell (dir. Mandela, 1996) and one of the films produced was selected for the highly competitive Pocket Film Festival in Paris. During this trip, WFC Founder CEO trained a number of film and drama professionals to become WFC Tutors and in September 2009, WFC ran its first workshop with Amy Biehl Foundation Trust, a youth engagement programme with a 15 year track-record of success in providing after-school activities for young residents of Cape Town’s most dangerous communities, taking thousands of young people off the streets and away from risk every year.

In 2010 WFC delivered a Sports and News Journalism workshop to 35 young people to coincide with the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The young film makers produced over 80 videos reporting on events surrounding the World Cup from inside their communities. They contributed to a weekly programme on Cape Town Community TV, and to the bi-weekly BBC Online programme “Extra Time”. Their work was featured on prominent blogs such as Nokia’s N series blog, MobilizedTV, and Smartmobs.com and distributed internationally via WFC’s mobile site worldfilmcollective.mobi and through social networks YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

By this time WFC had consolidated the relationship with Simi Kalimashe and after giving him fifty Rands, the equivalent of £5, to buy data to access the internet, Simi drove the grass-roots presence that was key to making the 2010 World Cup project such a success. The project was run in partnership once again, with Amy Biehl Foundation Trust.

Following on from this project, eight participants were selected to form a training production team, working out of an office in the notorious Khayelitsha township. Guided and supported by WFC, the team began by making 28min programmes for the local community TV channel, Cape Town TV, and selling mobile downloads on South Africa’s most popular mobile phone social networking site, Mxit, with a subscriber base to their channel of over 150,000 young people across South Africa.

In 2011 WFC’s work was recognised by the Cape Film Commission (South Africa’s regional equivalent to the UK Arts Council) who sponsored a training programme that took fourteen Xhosa-speaking Cape Town residents aged between 18 and 26 and trained them, along with the existing team, to make a 12-part series, Uyfun’undazi? In English, ‘Do You Want To Know Me?’

The series called takes a common township statistic and gives it a human face by profiling an individual living in those circumstances. Stories include those of Nondoda, an artist with no arms and no legs making a living through his inspiring and original painting; and Maynadi, leading a child-headed household after she and her brother were orphaned by AIDS. Maynadi recently won the ‘Miss Khayelitsha’ beauty content and will be entered into ‘Miss South Africa’ later this year. The series has already attracted the attention of South African production companies and networks and WFC is currently in negotiations to license it. As a direct result of the series, the popular magazine Glamour South Africa approached WFC expressing an interest in featuring Mayandi in their April 2012 edition. This is the first time a township resident has been profiled in Glamour, and WFC was able to facilitate the interview, working with Mayandi and the Glamour team to make the three-page spread in their April 2012 edition happen.

Training participant, Loyiso Ngqwebo, had this to say about the programme:

“The World Film Collective experience showed me that everything can be done and everybody can do it if you put your mind to it. And that we the youth can make it possible to change lives in our community through telling stories”

During 2012 the WFC team have continued to build-up their slate. Films have included an adult literacy public service announcement for The Pearson Foundation as well as a behind the scenes publicity package for the eagerly-awaited, upcoming feature film, Black South Easter

Meanwhile training continued with The English Premier League’s support for a programme teaching 20 young township residents, aged 17-24, cell phone filmmaking and social media distribution to deliver key HIV-awareness messages. World Film Collective partnered with Grassroot Soccer to deliver a training programme over 9 weeks, during which the young filmmakers were taught how to direct produce, edit, market and distribute their films across social media. Having mastered these skills, the students applied them to the primary aim of this project: educating communities about HIV and AIDS

Building up a platform through social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, Mixit and Vimeo resulted in 3,524 supporters. Feeling a sense of responsibly to promote these messages, the team sought promotion through radio, TV and newspapers, reaching over 3,500,000 people. The training curriculum was designed around Grassroot Soccer’s HIV prevention awareness programme, which uses football-related activities to teach key HIV-prevention messages. WFC placed these messages at the heart of their curriculum and built a cell phone film and social media training programme around it. The result fuses together two of the most popular activities for youth in the townships – football and social media – to educate young people and save lives.

Project Participant, Sinetemba Makalala, had this to say about the programme,

“Creating our own brand made us feel proud and honored to have the opportunity to spread our views and opinions as well as our creativity. Building a group of followers made us realize how much responsibility we had to do our best, it was challenging and rewarding”

Following this, mobile phone handset giant, NOKIA, sponsored the WFC team to produce daily films for the local community TV channel, Cape Town TV. Running up to World AIDS Day on 1st December, the team are producing films that promote four key HIV messages: 1) Get Tested and know your status 2) Take precautions against contracting HIV 3) Support those living with HIV 4) Don’t stop taking ARVs if you have HIV. The team are using NOKIA Pure View 800 camera phones, HD-quality with depth of field and built-in stability function, to produce over fifteen fantastic films so far. The “Kaltcha Pioneers” are broadcasting to audiences of over 1.5 million people via Cape Town Community TV everyday, as well as build up an online community through Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Mxit.

Here are some more highlights of our work in South Africa:

  • 25 students have received work placement with local South African film companies
  • Five graduates from WFC training have been employed as WFC tutors
  • Two students from WFC training in South Africa was awarded a place at Big Fish Film School
  • One WFC graduate was given a work placement with a Johannesburg advertising agency, ‘Re:Public’, another works for ‘Live’ magazine
  • A WFC student’s film was selected for and screened at the prestigious Pocket Film Festival, Paris
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    “U have found me wanting to be in film school and cnt afford the expensive fees and Im raised by a widow mother who is a domestic worker. But I got the training for free at WFC. U showed me how to do short films and documentaries and u didnt leave us. WFC introduced us to the best experienced film makers in SA and also to the students that are in the film schools we dream of attending. The youth in my community have been motivated to be part of this. WFC saved me from crime and drugs.”

    Email from training participant and tutor, Simcelile Kalimashe,
    Khayelitsha, Cape Town

      In 2013 WFC South Africa launched their first APP and were commissioned to make a series for national broadcaster, etv. Following on from their HIV / World AIDS Day project run in partnership with Grassroot Soccer and NOKIA, the team continued their campaign in the run-up to Valentine’s Day. The message of the campaign is ‘Get Tested – Know Your Status’. They chose this because it had become clear in the films they had already made that many young people are too scared to get tested and this was contributing to the continuing spread of the disease. The team created an APP on popular mobile phone social networking platform, Mxit, and they gathered support for the campaign through Facebook and Twitter. The response was overwhelming as young people from township communities across the country commented on the films, in some cases even sharing their own status in spite of the stigma that is still attached to being HIV positive in these communities. Campaign co-ordinators, Nelisa, Liza and M’Zodota worked hard to push forward online debates on Facebook, with participants sharing experiences around getting tested and sharing advice. Some of the subjects that came up were, what do you do when your partners refuses to get a test, how do you respond if your partner is tested positive and where do you go for help if you are tested positive. Although the campaign only lasted for 5 weeks, the WFC SA team felt they had made a difference. Through the films they had seen what the real problems were for young people in relation to HIV, and using an application, community television and social media they had been able to create a community that supported and helped each other. To access the APP go to mxit.com > sign in > join the group ‘kaltcha pioneers sa’ and watch the films! Alternatively, you can watch the films on the ‘Our Films’ page > 2012

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