Lusaka Community Hall in Nyanga was the venue for a graduation ceremony for a group of learners who had done a six months film and television course. The programme is intended at up-skilling unemployed youth and graduates with film and television production skills, thus enabling them to respond to the digital media environment.
And according to Deputy Minister of Communication, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, the crop of 35 graduates were the best in the country.
They had taken part in the Media, Information and Communication Technologies Sector Education and Training Authority course, which was held over six months.
The programme has benefitted 150 learners and was rolled out at three centres in the Eastern Cape (70), Western Cape (40) and Gauteng (40).
Ndabeni-Abrahams applauded the learners for being top achievers in the country regardless of attending classes in a community hall, which is not conducive for learning.
“We have given you the skills to fulfil your mandate. Now you can make money by taking videos in birthday parties, funerals and other gatherings.
We have given you the skill to tell stories and produce local content,” Ndabeni-Abrahams said.
She encouraged other youth to apply for the web development programme, which is aimed at giving training about graphic design and also Information Technology (IT) support.
Nick Green, from Atos, the company which facilitated the training, said they have offered job opportunities to 50 top achieving learners from the participating provinces and 10 of them will be coming from Nyanga.
He congratulated the graduates and advised them to utilise the skills they gained.
Raymond Dakuse, from MICTSETA, said they were, at first, worried that the classes would be conducted at the hall.
“We were sceptical about allowing you to attend classes here, but the councillor insisted that it was the right place...it is now time for you to utilise the skills that you have been given. You do not have to start with producing big films,” he said.
The SABC’s Andile Noganta said: “This is a huge deal. You should be proud and trilled of yourself. As the SABC, we have a heavy mandate to produce local content and it is costly. We are looking for future producers of local content.”.
Khaya Yozi, an MP, said he was grateful to the deputy minister for coming up with such a course.
“It is beautiful to have such a working relationship with national government. This community is blessed to have a deputy minister who always listens to our challenges. This programme was not a joke, it was very serious.
“Do not play with opportunities that you are given. I am happy that we have succeeded on the programme,” Yozi said.
He said he had received over 100 applications for the programme and that he is also sitting with dozens of CVs from youngsters who want such opportunities.
Each learners received a stipend of about R3, 500 per month for the duration of the course.
Abrahams said there is a need to train youth in producing animation(cartoons), an industry which is making inroads but received less attention from local producers.
She revealed that a three year course to produce animation would cost about R150 000.
Also in attendance during the ceremony was Gugulethu MP Mandisa Matshoba and Bishop Gampe Mbuba.
Themba Monethi, one of the achievers in the programme hailed it as “great” and a launching pad for a career in the film industry.
He also thanked Ndabeni-Abrhahams for coming up with the idea of the programme.