Soweto Rising

Production by Lilian Magari & Noxolo Mafu

“Soweto Rising” explores the amalgamation of street culture in Johannesburg. We look at the influence of Soweto and how it has come to inspire some of the most well-known street culture collectives and township youth movements such as Isikhothane. This film delves into the intricacies of this urban culture and tracks the journey of three sub-jects who have all made their start from the township’s emerging creative space.

Skin Deep

Production by Deneesha Pillay & Megan Flemmitt

Colourism is an issue which is particularly prevalent amongst the youth in South Africa and has shown to privilege some and not others in many ways. It is a topic which is discussed on social networking platforms, but these discussions rarely show the impact of this phenomenon on the individual who has experienced discrimination. Skin Deep looks at how this issue affects two women of the same ethnic group, within the South African context.

Liminal Space

Production by Dumisa Lengwati & Jason Randall

Liminal Space explores the difficulties of a developing country trying to preserve cultural knowledge and traditions that have been passed down through generations. It investigates the difficulties faced in the South African health sector as western methods and traditional remedies collide and where is difficult for traditional healers to be taken seriously. The documentary asks questions around whether or not South Africa is capable of formulating policies to legitimise the ancient practice of traditional healing.

Durban Derby

Production by Natalie Austin & Taryn Isaac

Fast. Kick-ass sport. And a whole lot of girl power. Welcome to the world of Roller Derby.
This new, underground sport in Durban has grown over the last two years, after it was launched in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2010. Two teams, Eve’s KanEvils and the MissFits, are followed during this 24-minute documentary to explore and capture the dynamic sport through different perspectives. Their personal experiences and insights are shared on the perception of the evolving presentation of women’s identity within the sport.

Ons is maar almal net mens

Production by Robyn Wertheim & Cindy Archillies

Ons is maar almal net mens is a highly personal film about negotiations of the “coloured” identity within two families and over three generations. Six people discuss whether or not they consider themselves “coloured” and what it means to them. As filmmakers we are members of the two families which made this film a highly personal one. We asked each character when they first found out that they were coloured and what this label meant to them.

Ubudoda Abukhulelwa – Male Circumcision

Investigative report by Lilian Magari & Noxolo Mafu

In 2013 some 70 initiates died and a further 567 were hospitalized as a result of botched traditional circumcisions in the Eastern Cape. The practice of traditional male circumcision serves as a rite of passage in the Xhosa culture as young boy’s transition to young men. However, in the Eastern Cape there has been much media coverage of illegal circumcision schools, serve health complications and even death, as a result of traditional circumcision. The introduction of the Medical Male circumcision drive launched by the Department of Health, has offered an alternative to this practice. Within this is Eastern Cape these two approaches are seen to be in conflict.

Ubudoda Abukulelwa, seeks to find out whether the government initiated Medical Male Circumcision program (MMC) will prove redundant in the Eastern Cape. The documentary seeks to find out what it means to be a man in contemporary South Africa. The intention of the film is to also fuel discussion and challenge the stereotypical narratives regarding male circumcision.

Below The Bread Line

Investigative report by Jason Randall & Dumisa Lengwati.

Unemployment within the South African context is a complex and diverse social issue with no simple solutions. Nowhere is this more visibly evident than in the Eastern Cape, with its pervasive rural and agricultural legacy. Despite the presence of a higher educational institution such as Rhodes University, as well as elite private schools, the problems of unemployment and poverty still persist in Grahamstown and the Makana municipality. While there are many organisational strategies to provide employment, this type of temporary employment is limited and does not provide a stable income or a sense of financial security. This has created a large demand for employment within Grahamstown’s informal sector.

Below the Breadline explores if Makana Municipality’s legislation is doing enough to alleviate the social issues of unemployment and poverty in Grahamstown?

The Silence

Investigative report by Natalie Austin & Taryn Isaac

In 2013, a student from Rhodes University wrote an article revealing a silenced reality.
This piece expressed by Siyanda Centwa, was based on his experiences transitioning from Grahamstown East to Rhodes campus. “Not a Place for Peasants”, an article in the series for Grocott’s Mail, “Tales of a Divided City”, highlighted issues of social stratification. As fourth year television students of Rhodes University, we used Centwa’s article as a platform to investigate the concept of a silence on class experiences in tertiary institutions.

This film project began as an investigation of general class experiences by Rhodes students. The university is considered to mainly be a middle class space, in which students who come from other backgrounds feel an initial sense of marginalization. This contrast of experiences and acceptance led to a variety of social outcomes. These came in the form of bullying, isolation, or attempts to conform to a middle class standard. Centwa relayed some of his experiences in the article which were captured in his film interview.
We approached students and experts on campus concerning their personal perceptions on the existence class divisions that have not been acknowledged and subsequently resulting in “a silence”. Not everyone shared the same sentiments of this claim, but many discussed the sociological challenges of such a diverse community at the institution. This was observed in many interviews and group discussions held during the production of the documentary film.

I won’t change my vote

Investigative report by Robyn Wertheim and Megan Flemmit.

South Africa held the fifth democratic elections in May this year. This election saw newly formed parties such as the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and Agang enter the race as potential alternatives to the African National Congress (ANC).

Running up to elections an increasing number of comments appeared on social media platforms which reduced the ANC voter and the ANC itself to stupidity. Many of these comments stated that if people, who live in impoverished conditions, continued to vote for the ANC, they only had themselves to blame for the conditions that they find themselves in. The film “I won’t change my vote” is a response to these comments. It is also a response to what seems to be a general lack of understanding that individuals in South Africa have about why people continue to vote for the ANC.
The film briefly speaks about the misconception people have regarding stupidity within the ANC. Mckaiser states that there are more intellectuals within the ANC than what there are in the DA. He says that one of the advantages of being such an enormous political party is that the ANC contains both intellectuals and fools.

By looking at these different aspects of voting the film shows how voting is done within a complex psychological framework. Taking this into consideration it is then not too difficult to see that ANC voters can be as rational as people who vote differently. We should because of this extend the same courtesy to people who vote for different political parties.

Tik in Grahamstown

Report by Deneesha Pillay and Cindy Archillies – Dangerous Minds Productions.

In the last four years, Tik (methamphetamine) has become a serious problem for Grahamstown. The drug makes its users forget their challenges of poverty and unemployment but leads to jail, institutions or death. Tik abuse in Grahamstown is prevalent amongst scholars and students and thenaffects their loved ones and the wider community.
Police Spokesperson, Captain Mali Govender, sees Tik and Tik related crimes as a matter of grave concern in the area. Clinical psychologist Scott Wood explains the effects of the drug on the individual and what makes the drug so popular. A DA councillor states that Tik abuse is not exclusive to townships but is a community-wide issue .A former Tik user and dealer speaks about his experiences as an addict and why he thinks the problem will not go away in the near future.

SciFest highlights teachers’ struggles

Report by Dumisa Lengwati & Tarryn Isaacs

Kitchen Chemistry, in the same vein as the show done by Die Physikanten, encourages the idea of scholars being able to express their lab-making skills outside of the classroom. Dr Stephen Ashworth showcased dramatic chemistry reactions using household items one could find in their kitchen cabinets. Dr Ashworth teaches chemistry at East Anglia University in Norwich, England. While SciFest illuminates a path towards a brighter science future, the problems within science education in South Africa remain when SciFest leaves. Science educators in Grahamstown speak about the issues observed and experienced within schools regarding the lack of institutional support and resources that have a negative impact on the performance of scholars. Some consider Grahamstown schools to be in a privileged position due to the accessibility of resources that are available at Rhodes

Rhodes’ Overall symbol

Report by Dumisa Lengwati & Taryn Isaac, School of Journalism and Media Studies, Rhodes University
Journalism, Rhodes University, RUTV4, School of Journalism and Media Studies, student TV, South Africa, Grahamstown,
Workers overalls are seen to be Rhodes University’s party uniform, but is this view taken by everyone?
The SRC in collaboration with the Alumni House recently attempted to break the world record for the biggest pair of overalls. It was organised in accordance with Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) as part of their student philanthropy day. If successful, the overalls will be hung from the Clock Tower, and this image will be distributed to alumni donors in the form of a thank you card. However, not all students and staff agree with the symbol and association of overalls with Rhodes’ infamous and wild drinking party culture. Some worry about the problematic potential class divide, insofar as overalls being the visual marker for the working class. Others feel excluded as they are not akin to the Rhodes tradition of celebrating big events wearing overalls. Overalls became controversial during the mid ’00s, as the trend of decorating them with sexist and racist commentary emerged. Fortunately, with the University intervention, this is on the decline and a general consensus is that the overall is a unifying symbol of Rhodes spirit.

Rhodes readies for water outages

Report by Dumisa Lengwati & Taryn Isaac, School of Journalism and Media Studies, Rhodes University

The perpetual threat of water shortages sees Grahamstown residents seeking alternatives for their water supply. Rhodes University has purchased a water tanker to help alleviate the effects of these dry spells.

The purchase of a R1,1 million water tanker will provide a necessary back-up supply. Last year’s shortages cost an estimated R115 000 a day due to the costs of plastic utensils in dining halls and bottled water for students and staff. According to Dr Iain L’Ange, Rhodes Infrastructure, Operations and Finance Division Head, the tanker will help the university to respond to emergency situations and be able to service all students living in residence. This move has been approved and applauded by the Makana Municipality, which struggles to cope with the ongoing crisis.

Die Physikanten at Scifest Africa 2014

Report by Lillian Magari & Noxolo Mafu.

Following the theme “Into the Space”, Scifest Africa 2014 welcomed award winning German scientist performing group: Die Physikanten. Creating a giant tornado of fire, crashing oil drums using air and making gigantic smoke rings, Die Physikanten aimed to make science exciting and accessible.
Sascha Ott, a scientist from Die Physikanten, believes that the purpose of the show is to allow children to become eager to learn more about science. Although the children were entertained and enthusiastic to interact with certain experiments, science teacher at Ntsika Secondary High School, Solomon Johnson explains that this excitement does not always filter into the classrooms beyond the annual SciFest. The inability to provide such experiments to local school children in a sustainable way, due to lack of resources, creates an absence in general science knowledge for young pupils.

Metal thefts hit Grahamstown schools

Report by Lillian Magari & Noxolo Mafu,

The illegal trade of stolen metal parts has hit Grahamstown local township schoolsand seen their premises severely vandalised. Thieves target metal urinals, water pipes, electricity cables and plugs. This epidemic has seen schools such as NV Cewu and Samuel Ntlebi without any electricity or adequate plumbing. As a result, educators and learners are unable to use the toilet facilities.
The need for tighter security sees these school squeezing out R20 000 to install Hi-Tec sensitive security beams. The expensive beams are a wise investment but also prove to be a hard purchase for the schools and even private homes.
As the most expensive product offered by Hi-Tec, it is difficult for the company to offer the beam to schools on a lay-bye basis. This becomes even more difficult as many of the targeted schools have poor infrastructure which makes the beams less effective.
Samuel Ntlebi specifically, has faced R100 000 in damages, with little or no money in the maintenance budget to do repairs.
Leonard Vodell, Manager of licensed scrapyard: Metal Masters, confirms a profit of R20 per kilo for metals brought in. These metals are often traded as broken or burnt pieces in order to make the identification process harder.
All the while, learners and educators are suffering as they are denied adequate sanitation and electricity.