Use local talent to tell our stories

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Pretoria – Communications Deputy Minister Tandi Mahambehlala has challenged film producers and directors to use local talent when telling stories of South Africa and Africa.

“We have young emerging actors and actresses. We have a crop of actors and actresses that are experienced in South Africa, and now someone has to come and convince me why do you want to go to America and get a Winnie Mandela of South Africa, whereas we have people who would make us proud in ensuring that they play that role,” said Deputy Minister Mahambehlala.

The Deputy Minister was speaking to SAnews during the screening of the movie Kalushi at Nu Metro Cinema in Menlyn Mall on Monday, as part of Solomon Mahlangu’s birthday celebration.

Kalushi is a South African film which narrates the life of Solomon Mahlangu and tells the story of the martyr through South African voices.

The Deputy Minister argued that there’s no need for producers and directors to go and outsource talent, which South Africa has, as if they are looking for a scarce skill.

“We have a responsibility to ensure that these kids who are at Varsity College studying drama and creatives are encouraged ... by people who would mentor you, make you flourish and ensure that at some point you portray one of the prominent people of South Africa,” the Deputy Minister said.

She commended the Director of Kalushi, Mandla Dube, for using local talent in telling Mahlangu’s story.

“He did a sterling job in ensuring that he is showcasing not only the story of our country and liberation stalwart, but also the talent that we have as South Africans and the experience that is there from our own. We need to promote our own brand and be proud of South Africa. We hope that all producers and directors will stick on that so that we are a better country that tells its own stories, through its own people.”

She said the screening of Kalushi aims to show young people the road South Africa has travelled and sacrifices made to attain its political freedom and ensuring that South Africans are liberated.

“We also want to educate our young people of the importance of activism, and that when you are young don’t only go to Cubana, but also participate in your local area, be in a street committee or in a committee of young people because you’ll be able to assist in bettering the life of somebody who is needy.

“This movie is also telling young people that even if you grow up in a disadvantaged community or family, you can make a name for yourself, write your own history and be a creator of your own destiny and achieve what you want to achieve,” Deputy Minister Mahambehlala explained.

She added that the department is hoping to roll-out the movie with the help of the Film and Publication Board with the directors.

“The role we are playing and still going to play is to popularise Kalushi because we believe that it’s educational and for young people to see what Kalushi and other stalwarts have done for them to attain this freedom.

“As the Department of Communications, we have assisted the directors to put together packages so that people who want to screen Kalushi buy the package at Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) and go and screen the movie,” she said.

Congress of South African Students (COSAS) Secretary-General, Khulekani Skosana, thanked Wits University for agreeing to rename its Senate House after struggle stalwart Solomon Mahlangu and urged the youth not to burn  institutions of learning.

Skosana also made an earnest plea to expand the Solomon Mahlangu Scholarship Fund (SMSF) to young entrepreneurs.

“Before Solomon Mahlangu went to exile, he was an entrepreneur, and we want young people around Mamelodi  to open businesses and get assisted through the fund,” urged Skosana. –

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