Local film makes FOCAL history

2019-05-09 06:01
Doctor Sindiwe Magona who is featured in the documentary at the Amy Biehl memorial site in Gugulethu. PHOTO: Thembela Terra Dick/ plexus Films

Doctor Sindiwe Magona who is featured in the documentary at the Amy Biehl memorial site in Gugulethu. PHOTO: Thembela Terra Dick/ plexus Films

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A documentary about the history and future of Gugulethu will be vying for top honours at this year’s FOCAL International Awards ceremony, in London next month.

The 17 minute-long documentary has been nominated for Best use of footage in a short film production award and celebrates the use of archival footage in film and beyond.

The documentary takes a closer look at some highs and lows of the neighbourhood and features several local voices including Doctor Sindiwe Magona, social activist Geoffrey Mamputa, businessman Peter Motale and ex-Umkonto weSizwe veteran and businessman Patric Duze among others. It looks at different political timelines and major events from the 1958 forced removals to the brutal killing of Amy Biehl and the dawn of democracy.

The documentary was nominated by a panel of international jurors out of a number of submissions from around the world.

The documentary was commissioned by the Museum Service of the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sports.

It was shot as part of Gugulethu’s 60th anniversary celebrations last year.

Project director for the Gugulethu 60th Anniversary Celebrations, Phumzile Nteyi described the documentary as a lasting legacy for the area.

He said Gugulethu has a rich history, however it is not documented any where. As part of the area’s 60th anniversary celebrations last year. Nteyi said a decision was made to document some of the history for generations to come.

“When we had an elders lunch we realised that some of those people would die soon and will go with the history,” he said. “It was such moments that inspired us to do this documentary.”

Nteyi said the documentary would help inform the current and future generations of young people.

“This has put Gugulethu on the map, even if we do not win we will be mentioned at international,” he said. “We are over the moon.”

Mamputa said the documentary celebrates the “unique history” of Gugulethu. He said a lot of people suffered when they were forcefully moved to Gugulethu due to various reasons. Some even dropped out of school because of language.

“People who were brilliant in their schools before moving to Gugulethu ended up dropping out of school because they did not understand Xhosa,” he said, adding that despite all the challenges the area still produced some top academics and entertainers. “This film celebrates all that. It gives hope to the next generation,” said Mamputa.

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