MUT collaborates with Umlazi Film industry to highlight the importance of art

As part of its good neighbourly obligation, the University has decided to partner with Umlazi International Film Festival (UIFF) when the UIFF hosts its second Umlazi International Film Festival from 27 November to 2 December 2023 at Umlazi Mega City Amphitheatre. There will also be a Film Workshop at the University. The festival will feature megastars like Sandile Dlamini, Langalakhe Zwane, Bongani Gumede, Mpume Mthombeni, Siyabonga Shibe, Thabo Mnguni, Mduduzi “Nqopho” Nombela, Mabusi Shezi, Mapule Mchunu, and Baby Cele. All these actors are from Umlazi Township. They will conduct masterclasses and workshops.

Yesterday organisers of the event had a press briefing at MUT’s Council Chamber where they gave an update on the festival and the activities aligned to it.

The Department of Marketing and Communications Senior Director, Mbali Mkhize, said they decided to partner with the UIFF in terms of the University’s Anchor Strategy, which dictates that MUT prioritises working with its immediate communities.  “We saw this as an opportunity for MUT to contribute to resuscitating the arts in Umlazi Township. But what is even more pleasing is that there is a chance for some of the youth to have gainful employment. We are glad to be part of this venture that will show the young people the way, and give them hope for a better future,” said Mkhize.

The festival’s co-director, Sabelo Ngema, said the reason for the festival was to positively impact young voices in the film industry, with an emphasis on youth, whose unemployment rates are high. The UIFF will host several masterclasses to upskill and nurture film talent. Ngema said that the masterclasses would be facilitated by great South African and international film industry practitioners. Some of these practitioners are cinematographer William Lwanga, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, whom Ngema described as “mastermind”; a Ugandan international journalist, Paul Morgan, and “highly skilled” US producers Kent Walwin, and Jeffrey Taylor.

The festival director Sandile Dlamini said: “The festival is to help connect potential collaborators and encourage co-productions between South Africa and other countries. We have several co-production treaties that we have not utilised as industry practitioners, plus our industry funders are always willing to support co-productions with or without the treaties.” Dlamini said the festival was on a mission to encourage film industry business to grow. Dlamini also said that their media partner, Royal Bopedi TV would share their employment opportunities and participants’ information would be saved in their database for various internships and on-the-job training opportunities by their film industry stakeholders like the Durban Film Office and the KZN Film.  Royal Bopedi TV will cover all the workshops and do live streaming of the festival. Dlamini played the role of Phakade in the Imbewu – The Seed, and ‘Mr Dlamini’ in the movie, Sibongile and the Dlaminis.