Byline: Refeloe Letsoisa

08 December 2022

The Market Photo Workshop and the Mpumalanga Department of Culture, Sport and Recreation is conducting a Social and Environmental Awareness Project with participants identified from communities within Gert Sibande District.

Mpumalanga Cultural Experience hosted a film festival on Thursday, 08 December 2022 at Johan Stegmann Theatre in Secunda whereby film makers gathered and shared their ideas about the industry.

The media, outreach, and advocacy initiative aims to teach locals how to create photos that bring attention to and raise awareness of environmental issues and their social repercussions.

It emphasizes that environmental preservation and development efforts in South Africa are intimately related, and that proactive conversation including neighbourhood residents will be necessary to achieve a just transition and reform in the energy sector towards a sustainable future.

With a particular focus on natural resources, environmental health, social effects, and initiatives to decarbonize and reform the energy sector toward renewables, Market Photo Workshop uses the project as a cultural platform geared toward empowering local community members as advocates for change within their community.

January Thwala and Samukelisiwe Zwane exhibited images which were taken during their photography sessions.

The images were captured from different communities, particularly in Leandra (Leslie), eMbalenhle and Bethal which were presented in class by the students telling a story either about community members, environmental issues and businesses.

January Thwala explaining images captured from the different communities.

“Some of the students have their own studios and would like pursue photography so luckily Market Photo Workshop is here to teach us how to use different angles to take proper and nice pictures,” said January Thwala.

During the exhibition, Samukelisiwe stated that the students also created videos telling a story about their neighbourhoods.

Students from the workshop and other community members were given the platform to interact with film makers who were invited as panellists at the event.

Five different films by Ms Rudzani Muthambi, Mr Sifiso Nobela, Loyiso Oldjohn, Mr Sifiso Milanzi and Ms Sihle Hlophe were presented as a glimpse of their work, and everyone was given the platform to ask more information about filmmaking.

“You do not need a big camera to take pictures, one can simply use their smartphone and make money,” said Loyiso Oldjohn screening of mobile journalism.

The participants are reflecting on and sharing their lived experiences through the creation of images and stories in the hopes of igniting conversation for the benefit of the local community as well as other communities that face similar difficulties that can often obstruct agency.

Mr Sifiso Milanzi sharing an overview of the Mpumalanga film industry.