The National Electronic Media Institute of South Africa (NEMISA) has developed a digital skills training course to prepare 15 unemployed youths, and five former boxers from Mdantsane, for entry level positions in the film and television industry.
Upon completion of the training, participants will be conferred with a post matric SAQA accredited NQF Level 5 Statement of Results equaling 45 credits for the qualification in Film and Television Production. The training is in partnership with the Scenery Park based Kumkani community radio station, and the Eastern Cape Socio-Economic Consultative Council (ECSECC), an entity of the Eastern Cape Premier’s Office.
The eight-week course combines theory and practice and includes a 40-hour face-to-face session and seven weeks of building a portfolio of evidence produced within a workplace. It will enable participants to use a mobile device in the form of a tablet to script, shoot footage, collect audio, edit visuals, package, before publishing the content on their social spaces and websites.
The training began on Monday, 1st of August and will conclude on 30 September 2022.
Station manager for Kumkani community radio Alime Dyubula said: "The 15 students identified for the training were self-taught in film production and were working at the station’ subsidiary film company Montywood Production”. Confirming the goal of the project, she noted that the station has always wanted to formalize the film industry in Buffalo City, in particular, whilst noting in this this regard: "We are always looking into people doing what they do, and love best, within their places of stay rather than them going to Joburg.”
This was a welcomed observation and indeed a truly noble and well-timed gesture given the historically significant role that this community, and its wider surrounds, has played in the history of our nation’s liberation struggle, and its role in continuing to shape and form the province and the nation.
There is no doubt that the storylines and films scripts that could emerge just from this history alone should enable this initiative to grow from one level of success to the next. Picking up on this legacy and richness of spirit in the township and its people, Ms. Dyubula noted: "The Buffalo City Metro community is full of stories and storytellers but the industry is partially organized hence we see a huge chunk of film money being given away to production companies that are not even from the Eastern Cape and that as people from the Eastern Cape we have to work for such companies [situated outside of the province] and let them tell our stories on their terms, that does not sit well with us,”
In reflecting on the partnership and its contribution to this broader vision of developing and nurturing homegrown talent and providing a platform for bringing its stories to the work, Ms. Dyubula concluded that: "By having stakeholders such as NEMISA to formalize our work academically, we will start to receive a certain kind of respect before we can get to the funding part of the film side”.
Ms. Dyubula further confirmed: "There is a need of formalizing everything that is being done in the film industry. Everything that is happening there is self-taught, we then thought it will be best if they get formal training and so that they have something to show when they apply for work from these production companies…with this training they will have a credited certificate to show”.
ECSECC’s Xolile Martin said the five former boxing champions had expressed an interest to start their own YouTube channel to document their stories. They are:
- Nomakhaya Sunduza (Former female boxer and current boxing referee)
- Lwandile Sityatha (Former IBO Junior Bantum World Champion)
- Sakhomzi Magxwalisa (Former SA Super Feather Weight Champion)
- Ncedo Cecana (Former SA Flyweight Champion) and;
- Siyanda Mfundisi (Former Eastern Cape Super Flyweight Champion)
Asked how ECSECC got involved in this partnership Mr. Martin said in August 2021, the Premier of the Province of the Eastern Cape, the Hounarable Oscar Mabuyane launched what is known as the Microsoft Digital Skills Virtual Innovation Hub. "The event took place in Komani and gained a respectable amount of attention and information about the event reached numerous newspapers and websites. An article in the Dispatch reached a community worker in Mdantsane by the name of Kholiswa Tyiki. Ms Tyiki then approached ECSECC and lifted the plight suffered by retired former boxing world champions in the township,” Mr. Martin said.
East London and particularly Mdantsane puts the province of the Eastern Cape on the shining spot globally by producing the largest number of World Boxing Champions than any other single settlement in the world. Mr. Martin said it was for this reason that ECSECC took up the call and roped in NEMISA to provide basic Digital Skills to retired former world champions. "We were able to attract over 10 former boxing champions. This training session also made it to the newspapers on October 26, 2021. The Board of ECSECC caught on to the article and supported and applauded this initiative,” he said.
After various engagements between NEMISA and ECSECC for nine months, NEMISA reverted back saying that they have designed a course that will be appropriately suited for the boxers.
Project Manager for Creative Media at NEMISA, Doc Fick, said with this qualification the boxers "will be able to brand themselves, sell their services, do videos. It is a promotional tool.”