Diamonds in Grahamstown – Scifest 2015

The first diamond in South Africa was identified in the Grahamstown. Basil Mills conducts a workshop at Scifest Africa called “Diamond in the Rough”. He explores the story of the first diamond being discovered in Hope Town, near Kimberly. Participants have an opportunity to become miners by panning as the pioneer miners would have done.
We visit Grahamstown museums to find out more about this first diamond and its significance to the small town.

Report by Nikho Mageza & Laura Skippers


Science education in the Eastern Cape – Scifest 2015

With Science and Maths education in South Africa in a crisis schools have reduced and some even cancelled their teaching of these subjects. But initiatives are taken in the Eastern Cape to help students get a science education and exposure they might have missed out on.
Amongst these is a Rhodes University project for to give underprivileged schools hands-on scientific training. At Scifest from the other side of the planet a delegation of NASA scientists has arrived in Grahamstown, to educate South African students about the wonders, and the importance of science.

Report by Campbell Easton and Jenna Lillie


Loadshedding – A Vertov style montage

Most people in South Africa live their lives mostly, if not wholly centred around the usage of electronic devices. Whether for business or entertainment, the usage of electronics dictates the daily routines of millions. But what happens when the power goes off? This piece explores the routines of ordinary South Africans and their attempts to adapt when load-shedding strikes, and the power goes off.
Produced by Laura Skippers and Campbell Easton


Yoga and sport

Studies have shown that yoga can be supplementary to sports like swimming, soccer and rugby. In this video montage we take a look at a yoga class and a soccer practice, to see if there are any similarities between the movements.
Report by Jenna Lillie & Louise Fuller


When will load shedding in South Africa come to an end?

Is South Africa facing an energy crisis? Eskom says the situation is under control. However, the large number of citizens present at the Green Peace Rainbow Warrior campaign in Port Elizabeth shows that people are not happy with the current energy situation. The government’s temporary solution to the energy shortage has been switching off power to certain areas at scheduled times. Most of us know this as ‘load shedding’. Green Peace proposes a solution to these issues centred on renewable energy projects, but Eskom and the government say that coal and nuclear energy are the answer.

Greenpeace ship the Rainbow Warrior docked in Port Elizabeth on Sunday the 22nd of February to fight the South African government’s proposed nuclear plans. The government has proposed the construction of a nuclear plant in the Eastern Cape as the solution to South Africa’s current energy shortage. Greenpeace argues that this is not the solution and will only cause more problems for the country, they argue that renewable energy is the only long term solution.

Report by Rhea MacDonald and Louise Fuller



Imagine going to festival where nothing is for sale. Where free food, free clothes and free costumes are the order of the day. AfrikaBurn is one such festival that is all about giving without expecting anything in return. With more than 10 000 festival goers this festival aims to make radical self-expression accessible to everyone.

Produced by Rhea MacDonald and Siyavuya Makubalo


Sugar Loaf Cleanup

Sugar Loaf Hill in Grahamstown is a popular illegal dumpsite, so the local community members decided to clean up the otherwise beautiful space. Filmed and edited in the style of Dziga Vertov, this piece compares the actions of littering to students wasting in their university dining halls.

Produced by Nikho Mageza and Tebo Ramosili


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.