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Young film-makers capture stories about COVID-19

Written by Dale Hes

Western Cape youth are being challenged to try something new while at the same time, creating awareness about community health issues.

Young people in Khayelitsha are becoming ambassadors for educating residents about the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), while also learning the skills needed to become film-makers. Young filmmakers from Khayelitsha are creating short documentaries about COVID-19. Photo: Eh!Woza

Non-profit organisation Eh!Woza is a unique collaboration between medical researchers, artists and young community members. Their focus is to create awareness about the impact of HIV and TB in communities. During the COVID-19 outbreak, the organisation has also begun to focus on the impact of this new disease. 

Part of their work involves providing film-making training to young people, through the Learner Doccies project. More than 100 high school learners and young people have benefitted from Eh!Woza’s projects over the past six years. 

Since March, Eh!Woza participants have created four documentaries related to COVID-19. These films are designed to highlight the issues faced by people in the townships during COVID-19, while also providing education on the pandemic. 

Samuel Flans, a Khayelitsha youth who is one of the participants in the project, has grown quickly with Eh!Woza over the past year.

“I started out providing some songs for the videos that were being produced by Eh!Woza. Then I started learning more about the film-making side of things. I am now employed by Eh!Woza and manage a team in Khayelitsha, where we have made the short documentaries related to COVID-19,” says Flans. 

“When we started in March, it was amazing to hear that people in Khayelitsha did not understand what COVID-19 was all about. They thought it would not affect them. But by the time we finished our fourth film, there had been a shift because they were seeing first-hand that it was affecting their communities,” Flans says. 

Tasha Koch, one of Eh!Woza’s directors, explains that the organisation focuses on using a hands-on approach to training. 

“A lot of the training happens by ‘doing’. Participants are guided in making films of their own and in this way learn the technical details of how to use a camera and edit film footage, as we all as the conceptual and ethical approaches to story-telling,” says Koch.

*To find out more about Eh!Woza’s work and to watch the films, visit the website ehwoza.com or call Koch at 084 627 6276.