EIGHT ambitious young film makers have been given a chance of a lifetime to share the stories of their community with the nation.
The Walmer-based Masifunde Learner Development film group caught the eye of Bay TV executives after it produced several short films for Youtube.
Bay TV were so impressed that they offered the youngsters their very own show titled Izimvo Zethu – My View, Your View, Our Lives, which is broadcast on Dstv fortnightly.
Two shows have been flighted so far.
Izimvo Zethu can be described as a unique opportunity to get an inside perspective of a South African township.
“The broadcasts will empower the community to tell their stories and be heard. The focus of the show will be on portraits of interesting people from within the township, success stories from the community and Xhosa culture,” Masifunde communications officer Rachael Chikadaya said.
The group, made up of Walmer High pupils, works from the Xolelanani Youth Centre in the township and meets every Friday afternoon to brainstorm for new episodes.
Each episode is 15 minutes long and the filmmakers aim to highlight the positive as well as the negative stories in the area, group coordinator Sebastian Kuhn said.
“We have been working for two years as a film group, we learned how to film, how to edit and how to narrate. Now we have the opportunity to show our work on a national TV channel. That is a big challenge, but also a great chance for the film group to be seen as professional filmmakers.”
Kuhn came to South Africa from Germany in 2009 and “thought it would be amazing to start a film group”. He approached Masifunde with the idea, and by 2011 the project was up and running.
“They are turning into celebrities in the township,” laughs Kuhn. “They are recognised in taxis and on the streets from being seen on TV.”
The youngsters said it was a proud moment seeing their first episode air. They admit that it has been hard work but they are learning all the time.
“I am proud of us. We are living the dream of storytelling now. With Izimvo Zethu we can share our views and let the people know what we know,” group member Andisiwe Mbelekane said.
Amanda Mncono said her friends were excited about the show and asked if they could join the group.
She added that it had become more than just a hobby for her.
“I would like to go into film one day. It is in our blood now,” said Amanda.
Bay TV station manager Geoff Hookins said: “Izimvo Zethu is the realisation of a dream to have young film makers from Nelson Mandela Bay making a difference through telling the stories of their community through the visual medium.”