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Congratulations to Prof Sylvia Vollenhoven and the second year students (2020)

A huge congratulations to Prof Sylvia Vollenhoven and the second year students (2020) for being shortlisted at the African Union 1 Million 2021 Initiative for their special projects. The African Union shortlisted six films from UJ for the AU 1mby2021 Project and will soon choose their TOP 3. In addition, the African Union plans to use these six films on the African Union social media platforms and their YouTube channel.


The covering note from the African Union states:


“This is the last year of the initiative and we are going to be having an anniversary month in April and would love to use these videos. In order to do that we will share a consent form to allow us to use the content from the students and the people they interviewed for their films. These will be shared on our social media platforms and archived on our Youtube channel.

“We are still ideating internally what the anniversary campaign will look like but as soon as we have our content calendar approved, we will share with you so the students can keep an eye out for them and amplify on their own platforms. 

“And just as a final note – we are incredibly impressed with how each of the groups interpreted the brief – a big congratulations to them!”


The top 3 films will be announced soon. Here are the finalists from UJ:




  1. Wilford Gwabeni’s Story


Group 4

Director                 Molemo Mogano

Producer               Lesego Mabote

Camera                  Xolani Mkhize

Editor                     Xabiso Jikelo

Researcher            Tshepo Nxasana

Writer                    Ofentse Moatshe

Lighting                  Bongani Mncube


This submission is powerful because of the intersectionality of education and youth living with a disability. Hearing directly from Wilford on what the difficulties of navigating spaces that should be accommodating to him are not is an eye opener, to the many ways young people are excellent despite challenges they may encounter. This submission holds a mirror up to us as policy organisations and the work we do.


  1. Lethabo Makateng‘s Story


Group 10

Producer                                            Mbalenhle Ntuli

Director                                              Khethiwe Majola
Camera                                              Lebohang Mazibuko

Editor                                                 Dineo Setjie
Researcher                                        Logan Dineo Rasekune
Writer                                                 Sibonelo Ngwenya
Sound & Lighting                             Oratilwe Kobane


The intro was fantastic, the placement of the information slide was great as a scene setter. Thoroughly enjoyed the use of subtitles here because we find that people communicating in their mother languages gives room for more emotion. This submission really shone a spotlight on the reality of any young African girls and women. The way it was approached complements the importance we place on amplifying youth voices.




  1. Nthombizodwa Ramatsebe‘s Story


Group 6

Producer & Group Leader                  Lebogang Monakedi

Camera                                                  Mncedisi Buthelezi

Director & Researcher                        Tshepang Galane

Editor                                                     Inga Sirhamza

Writer                                                    Paballo Moloi


This submission had excellent visual storytelling. Seeing her in the lab juxtaposed with the reality of her situation gives you something to root for in her and her aspirations. This submission, although more focused on education, excelled in articulating the linkages between education and employment because none of the 4 Es of 1 Million by 2021 are standalone thematic areas.


  1. Sandile Nkomo’s Story


Group 5

Editor                                     Tevin Thabane

Producer                               Lwazi Lolwane

Director & Researcher        Hope Dithung

Camera                                  Inkosi Magudulela

Writer                                    Fortunate Rakimane

Lighting & Sound                 Thando Nkosi


This submission felt like a cinematic experience there was a particularly well thought out over the shoulder shot that supported Sandile’s narration. Content-wise the video had a lovely arc In that he lands on his feet despite the challenges he faces – which speaks to the resilience of African youth across the continent. It would have been great to explore a bit more around the statistic in the blurb about how 83% of African youth join the labour force but cannot find jobs There is something to be said about how young people make a way where there is none and adapt well every time.




  1. Themba Buthelezi’s Story


Group 9

Director                 Siseko Rethu

Producer               Melikhaya Siwa

Editor                     Ruzivo Gwata,

Writer                    Dineo Vanessa Nthutang

Camera                  Baxolele Cekiso


This submission was riveting from start to finish, we could not look away. A big reason for this is the attempt to address depression and some of the external factors that can be the cause of it and how often it is experienced generationally. This story was a perfect example of how to tell stories that can connect with people. By the end of it we were all rooting for Themba and definitely want to sample his kotas if ever we make it to South Africa. It captured the essence of the 1 Million by 2021 initiative while also not shying away from other issues young people face and overcome.


  1. Odwa Nolitye‘s Story


Group 3

Producer                               Dan Msiza

Director                                 Kevin Magagula

Editor                                     Katlego Matlhaela

Camera                                  Sandra Nwaogu

Writer                                    Lehlohonolo Ntsekalle

Researcher                            Siphesihle Xulu

Lighting & Sound                 Khotso Mokoena


Odwa is a storyteller – a good one, and the group of students who amplified his story knew to let him tell it. Substance abuse and how it limits the potential of youth is a big issue that we don’t often have policy-level discussions about but this submission was optimistic – the story and circumstances were sad but he was not. It also gave us a powerful tagline “Change Your Story”.

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