Those who are familiar with the DofE, such as Tunde Folawiyo, may know that in South Africa, this scheme is known as the President’s Award for Youth Empowerment. It has been in operation in this country for over three decades, during which time it has helped countless numbers of young people to reach their potential. Last month, two participants from South Africa had the films they created as part of their Award activities screened at the famous Cannes Film Festival.
They were offered this opportunity by Films Without Borders (FWB), a UK-based organisation that decided to collaborate with the Award committee, in order to offer filmmaking classes to disadvantaged youths around South Africa. The two participants each made a 10-minute film, using the skills that the FWB staff had taught them over the course of several months.
The two finished pieces, entitled Finding Ubuntu – Township Heroes, and The Robertson Challenge, were filmed during the summer of last year. The latter was created at the Robertson correctional facility, by a local youth group and a number of inmates, and tells the story of a prisoner who wants to become a successful chef. The former was made in Cape Town, and is a collaborative effort, made by the students of St George’s Grammar School, Rustenburg Girls’ School, and Chrysalis Academy. It features a series of interviews with residents of the Gugulethu township, and focuses on understanding the concept of Ubuntu (which roughly translates as ‘human kindness’).
The CEO of the Award in South Africa, Martin Scholtz, spoke to the press about the films’ inclusion at the festival, noting that he and his team were ‘thrilled’ when they heard the news, and that the experience had inspired the two participants to continue exploring the art of filmmaking through the Award programme.
The two films were showcased at the Cannes Film Festival in May; anyone with an interest in this subject, like Tunde Folawiyo, will know that this is an extremely prestigious event, which has been held each year since 1946. FWB, which helped the Award participants to create these films, is a registered UK charity that offers filmmaking workshops to teens aged between 15 and 19. It has worked with disadvantaged youths in Palestine, Rwanda and Israel, as well as South Africa, and since 2010 has received support from the Earl of Wessex.