By MBASAKAZI MAKUBALO
The Amazwi Literary Museum was buzzing when I arrived at the 15th Annual RUTV Documentary Film Festival, where stylishly dressed fourth-year students from the School of Journalism and Media Studies were celebrating the immanent screening of their documentary series, The Young and the Restless.
This bunch of aspirant filmmakers is exuberant, glamorous, and charismatic.
After socializing over refreshments, we finally take our seats in the auditorium as we await the big reveal.
Andisiwe Cetyiwe graces the stage as MC for the evening.
The first film presented is Praise’s Protein. It profiles Rhodes student Praise Tembo in his quest to discover an effective treatment for Sleeping Sickness. Produced by Bokang Khuto, Patrick Kidd and Prashalan Govender, Praise’s Protein is set in the Rhodes Biotech Lab. The film highlights the importance of science in tackling global epidemics but also the lack of resources to advance scientific research in South Africa.
The mood is rather more sombre as the second film Jikijela: The Documentary, is presented. Produced by Anathi Ndevu, Iviwe Mzandisi and Andisiwe Cetyiwe, the film invites the viewer behind the scenes of Jikijela (the play) to reveal the impact of corrective rape on the LGBTQIA++ community in townships.
Fortunately, we are in celebratory spirits again upon hearing that Jikijela won a Standard Bank Ovation award at this year’s National Arts Festival.
The Little Jazz Towns is the third film. Motheo Mabamba, Bongo Jwaqa, Sinentlahla Ndema and Sinazo Kos collaborated with the International Library of African Music to preserve the history of Eastern Cape jazz. The filmmakers embarked on a series of road trips to towns like Queenstown and King Williams Town to meet with and honour our jazz legends.
Before we knew it, Imizwilili eQokolweni was on the screen. Sese Letsoalo, Ntando Hlabisa and Sonwabise Dzidzi produced the film to showcase our rich musical heritage. It follows the life of a committed music teacher who is an educator at an old mission school and changes lives in the rural village of Qokolweni.
The class of 2022 attributed their success to Dr Alette Schoon.
She, in turn, paid tribute to them, saying they had been one of the most joyous, enthusiastic and committed groups she’s ever taught.
In closing, Tinayeshe Makamure played a piece on the mbira, before celebrations resumed in the foyer.