#CreatepreneurAfrica- Riaan Hendricks, prolific South African filmmaker on the “Ramothopo the Centenarian” journey

A multi-award winning, Cape Town's prolific film director, Riaan Hendricks weaves into a rich tapestry of storytelling moments engrossed in the delicate elements of his creations. He wavers on motions of a constant struggle to engage audiences with emotional landscapes of life characters and stories into the beyond of everyday lives. His latest film follows the 110-year old Ramothopo and his 99-year-old wife, Anna.

Ramothopo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He initiated his ‘sterling directorial debut’  into the world of documentary with ‘A Fisherman’s tale in 2004.

His celebrated work constantly pushes the boundaries laid out in the documentary genre. Riaan is currently completing his Masters in Film at the Universtiy of Cape Town( UCT).

Skype: riaanhendricks | Twitter: @filmseason
Vimeo: riaanhendricksfilm | Facebook: riaanhendricks

A Fisherman’s Tale (2004) “…reminds me of the art of Picasso and Diego Riviera, who had used their art to animate the condition of the working people and their dignity”
– Professor Ben Turok, 
Independent Newspapers.

His film “The Devils Lair (2013) was received critical acclaim and was played on almost all the continents receiving multiple film awards.

 

  • Best Documentary World Cinema Award at the New Zealand International
  • Documentary Edge Festival 2014
  • Best Documentary Feature Award SAFTA’s 2014
  • Best Documentary Feature Editor Award SAFTA’s 2014
  • Jury Special Mention Documentary, Luxor Film Festival, 2014
  • Best South African Documentary Feature, JOZI FILM FEST 2014
  • Best South African Feature Documentary, Screen Excellence Award, 2013
  • Jury Special Mention at the 24th Festival Cinema Africano Asia Latin Americana, 2014

Meet CreatepreneurAfrica’s  profound South African filmmaker, Riaan Hendriks

Riaan Hendricks is a filmmaker. A beekeeper. Publisher of Docstreet Radio (www.soundcloud.com/docstreet).
What is your latest film all about?

My latest film is titled “Ramothopo the Centenarian”. It’s story of what it takes to return the love and care to 110-year old Ramothopo old and Anna his 99-year-old wife – who for generations played a vital role in their family and community.

In her younger years, Anna spent her younger life as a prophetess and healer. Leprosy was amongst many of the sicknesses she knew how to cure. She assisted many barren women to have children.

Even the mentally ill were lined up at her door for help. It’s not easy to judge her age from gauging her intelligent conversations. This woman she is strong – and surpassing 100 is nothing new in their family.

Their home was always a refuge to those in need of help.

Ramothopo was a preacher over hundreds of people. It’s his feeble state that compelled his granddaughter to spend more time with him in what seems to be the last years of his life. She’d leave her Cape Town family behind and journey the 1800km trip with 2 year old Anushka to attend to Ramothopo – whom she calls her dad. Her own dad passed away when she was still very young.

The film itself is a heart-warming experience. We all have a Ramothopo and an Anna in our lives. And if time permits – we too will find ourselves where they are. After watching the film – you’ll never look at life quite the same again.

How did you finance the film?

This is one of the most expensive films i’ve made in recent years. It’s also my longest. The cost cannot be translated into cash value – since it’s entirely funded with passion, handwork, and perhaps diligence. Usually, you’d go out and look for money before you film – or when you are in the edit. This film, however – was never meant to be a film. Initially, I was merely taken by the contrast between my two-year-old daughter and her interaction with her great-grandparents. I chose to film it for memories keep shake.

However – the more I filmed, the harder it became to confront the themes as it manifested itself.

I’m of sound mind and healthy body. To confront the realities of feebleness, old age and the dependence on love and care is the hardest I’ve ever filmed. Yet it’s in the very struggle of processing the themes and translating it into meaning that a film gets born. From experience, I know that is how all my films are done. It’s in your heart where the film gets born.

Thus every time we went to Botlokwa, i’d film. And the more I filmed – the more the humanness of feebleness, madness, and love emerged.

A life experience that changes you often makes a good film. This film changed me. I could not walk away from it without translating it into cinema and be titling it “Ramothopo the Centenarian”.

Where to from here?

Well, the film was finished a few days before the Encounters International Documentary Film Festival. The festival itself has always been the home ground of South African documentary cinema. So I’m thankful for their continued support of my work over the years. But with the Ramothopo, I truly thought that this time around they will be rejecting my work!

The film has possibly the longest documentary film shot that I know of. It’s a black and white film. It’s about old age. Yet, the maturity of their film selection and their ability to appreciate documentary cinema implies that South African documentary has a great future under their curatorship. So long live Encounters!

Obviously, we’d like to have the film broadcast. It is the centenary year of Nelson Mandela. If ever a film reflects the lives of our ordinary aged and feeble – this is the one.

I’m hoping a broadcaster will pick it up – so that we can translate some of the sweat, blood, and tears into bread, butter and attend to some requests their granddaughter has for her grandparents.

What advice do you give to aspiring creative is who look up to you?

It’s in the heart. That’s’ where it starts. Follow your instinct – even if it makes little sense. It’s not supposed to make sense – you are a filmmaker, not an actuary. If the final product has no resonance with your audience – move over to the next film. It’s a combination of your external physical craft and your internal filmmaker’s voice being honed. If the festival or funder rejects your work. Cry loud. Wipe your tears soldier. Eventually – it will all come together. You have to explore and discover through your cinematic choices who you really are.

And you have to push it. When you are young – it’s easy to close doors with your restless passion and vocal conflicting ideas. It’s fine. Let them close the doors. If you are able to stand up for what you believe and go hungry for it. Do it. It will only shape your character resulting in better work down the line.

When was the first time you were paid for your passion?

My first real paid job was when the National Film and Video Foundation funded my 26-minute documentary “A Fisherman’s Tale (2003).” When you consider how these guys are developing our industry, making huge financial investments in our development as film-makers – often granting us the license to explore our medium: regardless of its commercial value. We should applaud them for it.

Storytelling is an act of culture – their commitment ensured great vibrancy thereof. Furthermore, they managed to create a conducive environment to grow our talent and industry. If only our public broadcaster could come to the table in the same way. Could you imagine what positive impact that would have on the emergence of South African cinema?

 

 

 

#CreatePrenuerAfrica: South Africa’s Usha Seejarim’s soul journey into artistic realms linking human connectivity

 

We all have storerooms, backyards, and trunkloads storing archived unwanted or expired products and life experiences, right?

Somewhere items are lying about like odd hangers, broken irons and pegs?

Usha Seejarim translates ordinary objects into a dichotomy of monumental artwork. Items used daily like irons, brooms, safety pins and wooden pegs mark the aura of her humanistic themes in the dynamics of space, displacement, chance and time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

2013 – Beaded portrait for the funeral of former South African president Nelson Mandela

With a  master’s degree in fine art and a simultaneous qualification as a laughter coach, Usha Seejarim is a visionary artist with an astonishing profile of esteemed works, including the Nelson Mandela funeral portrait along with numerous large-scale public artworks.

Curator of the thought-provoking  ‘I am because you are: A search for Ubuntu with Permission to dream”  exhibition was an initiative to encourage viewers to contemplate the value of  Ubuntu in contemporary life. The  exhibition comprised of  52  artworks  from a range of artists

She was recently awarded the Best Sculpture prize at the Senegal  Biennale of Contemporary African Art (Dak’Art). She remains no less than one of the laureates of this festival.

http://www.ushaseejarim.com/projects-1/

” I never thought I would become an artist as a child. I loved art, but it was not seen as a profession in social circles and the community I was raised in.  I enrolled at FUBA  (federated Union of Black Artists), in Newtown Johannesburg when my school did not offer art as a  study subject. I took part-time courses at FUBA and never looked back. I then got a  qualification equivalent of a bachelor of fine arts  at Wits technikon and my Master’s of Fine Arts at Wits University ”

Usha Seejarim : winner of the sculpture prize of biennial DakÁrt in Senegal

Meet CreatepreneurAfrica – ‘Aesthetic Extraordinaire’ Usha Seejarim

 

Tell us what drives you? What is your true passion in life?

The constant pursuit of a feeling of complete presence and joy. Albeit fleeting, for me, this is achieved through stillness, through being in nature and through making art.

2007-2010 – Why Men, created for the Sandton Business Improvement District, Johannesburg,
How did you find your passion and how old were you?

This is always a difficult question to answer. I have always enjoyed drawing and making things. Perhaps when I was a teenager, I became aware that this was somewhat of a gift, through the attention given by others.

2005 – Pin Code
What about your passion appeals to you the most? 

That despite the fact that the work is often complex, often incredibly labor intensive and often challenging to navigate, it always seems effortless and enjoyable.

Forgiveness-02.jpg 2013 – Forgiveness
What drove you to make money from your passions?

The stubborn attitude to making it work and not succumbing to easier means of earning an income that would involve negating the making of art.

When was the first time you were paid for your passion?

Perhaps as a student when I took on mural painting and other student jobs available for an art student.

What kept you going when you thought about giving up?

A belief in myself and an inner voice that said that this is, in fact, bigger than yourself. An acknowledgment of a gift.

 

What motivates you every day to be even more successful?

A definition of success that is much further away from where I am right now.

2008 – Screens for the South African Chancery, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
What do you have to say to all of the people who doubted you?

I would like to believe that I have matured enough not to care about those that have doubted me. My journey does not involve proving anything to anybody. I am simply doing my thing and getting on with it.

What advice do you give to aspiring creative's who look up to you?

I stress the importance of being authentic. Be yourself and allow your unique journey to unfold. Work hard without trying too hard. Be ambitious without being desperate and learn from those who you admire. Emulate their work ethic and not their work.

#CreatePreneurAfrica Zziwa Aaron Alone, Uganda’s King of Guerilla Fimmaking!

Zziwa Aaron Alone, a multi-award-winning film director, all the way from Uganda in East Africa,is all about understanding African culture through the realm of moving pictures.

Guerrilla filmmaker Zziwa Aaron Alone is on a mission to redefine the art of great filmmaking with lights,camera and literally,no budget!

The filmmaking industry in Uganda is undoubtedly growing. My film,‘The Superstition’, was nominated alongside Jackie Chan’s, ‘Chinese Zodiac’ at the  2014 Abuja International Festival”

Zziwa Aaron Alone

  • Nominated Best Film director in 2014 and 2015 – Arusha African film festival, Tanzania.
  • Nominated in 2016 – Africa Movie Academy Award, Nigeria 
  • Nominated Best Director- 2017 Uganda film festival

Meet #CreatepreneurAfrica, Uganda’s Zziwa Aaron Alone

 

Tell us what drives you? What is your true passion in life?

What drives me? ……  I love to bring stories to life. It drives me everytime I think of stories that can change the generation, the community, and the world.

Our narratives impact positively on human change. My passion in life is when I make stories go to screen. I feel great when stories which I gave birth to are embraced by audiences. It motivates me more and more to give them more…..

How did you find your passion and how old were you?

The way I found my passion is through frequent hangouts at a local cinema hall, aka Bibanda, with my elder brother when I was little. I think I was like five years old when he took me there and I enjoyed Chinese Kung-Fu films.

Later I found myself taking myself alone there. The passion grew and this always got me trouble at home! When I grew older I decided to make my hobby my reality.

What about your passion appeals to you the most? 

What appeals to me about my passion is when  I am appreciated, whether I direct, write or act in my films. 

When the cast and crew are appreciated with awards and recognition, it encourages them to take on new projects. I embrace appreciation and audience attendance at my screenings each time I have them.

What drove you to make money from your passions?

 I studied entrepreneurship at the university. I am a person that hates to be employed.  The richest people in this world are entrepreneurs. Being employed by others will not make me rich.  I drove my persona into a business module rather than slaving off for another.

 

When was the first time you were paid for your passion?

It was in  2013 when I was working under someone else. First comes passion, we get by, even when pay is scarce.

What kept you going when you thought about giving up?

First of all is when I was nominated at the Abuja international film festival for my film ‘The Superstition’ alongside Jackie Chan’s film, ‘Chinese Zodiac’.

This was motivating. My films made it to  Arusha film festival in Tanzania as well as the Silicon Valley African film festival in the USA and the academy awards in Nigeria.

This shows me people appreciate my work out there.  I have a passion for storytelling and film. If there was no passion I would have given up ages ago.  Being an artist is challenging. It may be challenging all over the world, but I feel it in Uganda.

 What motivates you every day to be even more successful?

Firstly, what motivates me today is the people I work with. They never give up no matter what circumstances or challenges appear.  We face it together.

Secondly my mother Jacqueline Guglielmino. She encourages me, she is the most hardworking woman I have ever seen on this planet.  I want to be like her.

Thirdly, my brothers. They have always had my back.

Fourthly, the awards that I win on projects with all those on my team.

What do you have to say to all of the people who doubted you?

Time tells, today you can see someone as low today,  but tomorrow, he might be  the one to bail you out, so be polite and humble

Be human, respect people’s hustle and what they want, as long as it’s not a crime.

So what  I can tell them is, always give people a chance, empower them and believe in them. Believe in what they are trying to do, no matter how many years it may take.  Artists careers take a long time to kick off but eventually, it does.

 Even Albert Einstein went through challenges in his discoveries but is now celebrated.

 What advice do you give to aspiring creatives who look up to you?

What can I advise all those that are aspiring in this creative sector?

No matter what challenges appear, always have hope and follow your dreams.  Never ever mistreat people who make you or who have made you who you are. Have respect and focus on your path. Set goals and a clear vision for your passion and success will prevail.

   

#CreatepreneurAfrica- Nigeria’s Lieutenenant Alexander Emmanuel Ochogwu

 

Welcome to the world of an academic, teacher, lover of arts and author, Alexander Emmanuel Ochogwu, ready to embrace a world of peace!

 

 

Air Force Flight Lieutenant
Strategist
Poet and Writer
Expert in Peace, Security and Conflict Studies

 

His debut  “Diary of a Boy Soldier”, a historical fiction, is a first-hand literary revelation that chronicles everyday realms in the dynamic life and times of being a student at the Nigerian Military school

The unique storytelling journeys through adventures, thrills, and suffering encapsulated in the diaspora of life experiences at a military school in West Africa.

 

 

 “Omo” made the list of Daily Trust Newspaper ‘Most Anticipated Book of 2018’, amongst other pre-published recognitions. 

I like music, musing, surfing, traveling, solitude and locked up in God’s Presence.I am focused, with an eye for excellence. I believe in me.I can CHANGE the WORLD  : Alexander Emmanual Ochogwu

Meet #CreatepreneurAfrica,Alexander Emmanual Ochogwu Air Force Flight Lieutenant

Tell us what drives you?

The realisation that life is ephemeral and the value we add along our journey through this path is what matters.

What is your true passion in life?

To invest my personality by way of mentorship and artistic expressions, on others as much as I can so as to make the world around me better than I met it.

How did you find you passion and how old were you?

Finding my passion was accidental. I was barely twelve when I realised I had elements of creative writing skill. My classmates back at Nigerian Military School Zaria (A military secondary school in Nigeria) had rewarded me with gifts whenever I wrote love letters or constructed persuasive letters on their behalf, to their parents.

Knowing I was sought after gave me the validation that I had this skill inside me. Subsequently, I became intentional about it  – did more studies about the art and began building my vocabulary library, as we used to call it back then.

What about your passion appeals to you the most? 

The understanding that through writing and mentorship I can impart lives.

What drove you to make money from your passion?

Money is good, yeah. However, for me, money comes second place after my passion, which is to add value to my world. With my understanding that when one meets a need, reward follows, meeting a need is my drive. Money naturally comes as the reward.

When was the first time you were paid for your passion?

As an amateur writer in secondary school, I had received gifts and cash tokens as appreciation for the work I did.

But since I took up writing professionally, I started getting paid for my work in 2005 when I wrote my debut novella, The Diary of a Boy Soldier.

What kept you going when you were about giving up?

The biggest challenge I had was that of external validation until I discovered that I had my own unique voice and had to stick with it. So I resolved within myself that I have a special skill that requires no further validation for me to operate within the space of my belief. This decision got me over the waves of discouragement and discontentment.

What motivates you every day to be even more successful?

The realization that knowledge is inexhaustible and as such, the need to continually improve myself through learning from others so that I can give back to my downlines.

What do you have to say to all those who doubted you?

For all those who doubted me, I am grateful to them for making me excel above their doubts. They made me work harder and redefined myself to what I have become today, the very thing they had wanted to prevent me from becoming. They were a catalyst to this success story.

What advice do you give to aspiring creatives who look up to you?

As a creative, you must be ruthless with your passion. You must be open to learning and abreast of trends in your area of interest. The world is not friendly enough to accept you with ease. So you must be up-to-date, proficient and competitive in the marketplace.

Strive to break through, create your own unique voice, and shout until you are heard. Additionally, you must identify what your true motivation is, and when you find it, nothing can deter you from achieving it.

Your true motivation should not be money. Otherwise, you may give up when money fails to show up as planned.