By LINDA BINZI
I sat down with Nontokozo Mchunu, a TV teaching assistant at Rhodes University’s Journalism School, to discuss her experiences and insights into the TV industry.
I approached her because I had heard of the movie Intellectual Giants of The Eastern Cape, which she was involved in as part of the production and sound team, as well as playing a minor role as an extra. This film, whose story travels around the Eastern Cape on a journey beginning in Makhanda, has achieved notable success. It was released earlier this year but has already been screened at festivals, including an international film festival in Zanzibar.
Mchunu has worked on a few other productions including the South African soapie Isibaya, the reality television program It Takes a Village, and her own production Lomhlaba Ungowethu! This is our land! which focuses on land expropriation.
According to Mchunu, working on Intellectual Giants of the Eastern Cape taught her things about her history she did not previously know. So it was important to share the story so that others would not forget their history, that they would know where they came from, and that the beautiful history of black people – especially thinkers and writers – would not be lost.
She notes how all we hear and see are the negative events that occurred to black people and how much of slaves they were,
This film is also important to her because it serves as a reminder to both herself and today’s youth that the history of black Africans is far richer than only that of slavery – there are so many wonderful stories about our ancestors, and one of them is that they were intellectual giants.
Mchunu aspires to be a movie maker, telling stories through various visual mediums. She wants to tell stories by directing movies, producing television shows, and hosting talk shows.
I then asked her the question: Is it possible to succeed as an aspiring student who wants to work in the film industry, especially without any prior knowledge of the field?
“I think it’s possible. I think anything is possible,” Mchunu replied.
Her advice is to watch a lot of movies, to interact with them frequently, to surround yourself with people from that profession, and to work in those environments. You can become amazing at anything, she said. You only need determination and a willingness to learn.
See also: sweetcinemaa.wordpress.com