Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Hillside Digital Trust is proud to announce that it has been awarded a grant of £10,074.92 from the Indigo Trust in support of the Hillside Digital Trust’s implementation of Sony and FIFA’s Siyakhona Media Studio at the Kick4Life Football for Hope centre in Maseru, Lesotho. The much needed funding will enable the participants to benefit from a further three months of intensive training by providing salary costs, travel, Internet and administration.Image

 Siyakhona (We can do it) is a project that identifies youth, both men and women, from varied and under-privileged backgrounds and provides them with the skills and confidence to be the voice of their community. The hands on and practical training in human rights, journalistic skills and ethics, digital film production, community engagement and creative thinking will empower 8 young leaders to inspire active community participation in bringing about social change through their call to action films. The group are training hard to become citizen video journalists and human rights activists, investigating the views and experiences of those whose voice is less often heard in Lesotho, including young people’s views on HIV and AIDS.

“We are delighted with the support and faith the trustees of The Indigo Trust has placed in us and Siyakhona. The grant will go a long way toward ensuring the success and sustainability of the Siyakhona Media Studio in Lesotho,” said Danny Lurie, founder and Director of The Hillside Digital Trust.

The trainees recently completed their first cycle of training that culminated with the launch of the Siyakhona Media Studio to the public at the Football for Hope Centre in Maseru. Students screened their first films to an impressed and delighted audience.

In the next few weeks the video journalists will use their training to engage their community to discover their burning social issues. With the community’s support Siyakhona will seek to understand the problem, its root causes and together they will find creative solutions to implement. Siyakhona will produce a magazine show highlighting the issue and their call to action, and screen it all over the community to rally support and mobilization.

Rather than me telling you how the project is continuing with the support of the Indigo Trust and the project’s headline sponsors, I recommend you read about it from the video journalists themselves at


The Hillside Digital Trust’s Siyakhona (We can do it) project in Alexandra Township, South Africa received recognition in the House of Lords on 8 October 2012. Brian Mjiyakho, an aspiring filmmaker trained in the Siyakhona project received a certificate of commendation from HIVsport patron; Baroness Potter-Newton, for his directorial debut, “Goal for Hope.”

 “It was a wonderful and awesome experience for me to be invited to the House of Lords in London to receive recognition for the work that we have done.  Meeting people was also the amazing part, it’s just a good feeling to know that there are also people who are inspired by the little work we do, while to them it’s a huge thing and to share ideas regarding some of the issues that we all experiencing,” said Brian Mjiyakho.

HIVsport ran an international competition that encouraged young people to create a short film that illustrated how sport can raise awareness about HIV and AIDS. This could be interpreted in any way they chose, keeping in mind that the purpose of this film was to be used to educate young people in Europe and Southern Africa.

 The Hillside Digital Trust upon learning of the HIVsport competition used the opportunity to train local high school student, Brian Mjiyakho to make a film about how football is being used to educate the youth on HIV and AIDS in Alexandra Township.

The film and associated education pack, available for use from was produced by HIVsport as part of the Millennium Development Goals Realisation Project, funded by the European Commission’s EuropeAid programme.

 A delegation of partner organisations from four countries (Bulgaria, Romania, Italy and South Africa) had convened in London for a series of EuropeAid meetings in support of this programme of work. The meetings culminated in a lunchtime reception in the River Room of the House of Lords, hosted by HIVsport Patron, Baroness Joyce Gould of Potternewton. Speakers at this event included the Rt. Hon Lord Speaker and Dr. David Hawkins, Chair of HIVsport.

 “The energy and quality of the ideas from all the young people engaged in this project has been excellent. HIVsport is delighted to be able to launch ‘Fact or Fiction?’ today in the House of Lords in the presence of our European Colleagues and film makers from South Africa”, said Dr David Hawkins.

 An award was presented to Brian Mjiyakho and Danny Lurie; founder of the Hillside Digital Trust from South Africa as part of this event followed by further presentations from winners of London’s Sex Factor Ideas 2012 (another competition that engaged young people about sexual health, linked to the 2012 Olympic Sexual Health Legacy Programme).Image

Our piece of humble pie

Posted: March 7, 2011 by Danny Lurie in Uncategorized

Sunday the 27th of February was another example why growth is so static in our townships; Artists in Alexandra are quick to depend on outsiders for sponsorships because we always forget to work together. Enough having ciphers where we diss and put each other down to spit and shine our own egos. How about we start spending more time on the things we can do together and the resources we can use from one another?

A potential sponsor of the music workshop that was expected to be held on that day pulled out at the eleventh hour blaming punctuality and leaving an eager but poorly informed crowd hanging.

Blame African time but the preparations began thirty minutes after the time that was set for the workshop to start, after dedicating thirty more minutes to disappointment and finger-pointing, the artists that were expecting to be performing after the workshop refused to leave without a show.

The new formation and arrival to the scene in Alexandra the “Untitled Band” set up their gear and gave the crowd a mixture of cover tracks and own compositions before free styling with hip-hop artists Linda, Disciple and Twigger Mansion. The entire show was live and raw and the crowd was pulled in by the new flavours to their ears when passing by.

Dreams coming true should be about creating your own chances and opportunities. There’s a lack of growth in Alexandra because we don’t believe in ourselves enough to implement our own visions and ideas. The serendipity of this event has encouraged me to believe in the destiny that I am setting forth for myself. Revolutions did not begin with people wanting fame and recognition instead they grew from an individual wanting to better a certain part of their life.


It’s time we stop trying to imitate past martyrs who then had reasons to be confined to who they were told they were, we need to start being concerned with who we are not and that can only happen with us learning and adapting from other cultures.

The world is only concerned about where you are from after you’ve become a part of something that has mattered to the rest of us. Music is a universal tool and that’s where we should be concerning ourselves with what we’re hearing and what we should be saying.

It’s sad that even collective efforts are only mere excuses for independent gains. Bands are formed by people looking at how much money can be made from using one another’s talents. Why are we so afraid to admit to our mistakes? Isn’t that the whole point of growth? Townships are no longer a result of segregation but an excuse to the things we’re not doing.

Thank you to the following mentions Alex FM, David Chislett, ALPOA, HILLSIDE DIGITAL, LINDA, DESCIPLE, TWIGGER MANSION and THE UNTITLED BAND your efforts and contributions are appreciated.

Writer: MAMO.

By Gladness “Nana” Mathebula

Siyakhona covered the ‘No to child pornography and human trafficking’ awareness campaign in Alexandra township at Thusong youth center on the 23 October 2010. Guys from the film and publication board and bikers representing their clubs; Gauteng’s Night Riders, Signature de Bikers and the Hood Ratz Bikers were out to support the campaign. 

Child pornography in terms  of South African law is any picture or any description of a real or imaginary person who is under the age  of 18 years , or is represented as being under the age of 18 years.

A few days ago I saw guys  sell pornographic DVD’s to a 10 year old girl. I started having questions popping up in my mind, where does she watch the DVD, with who, when and what was her reaction, after watching the DVD what does she feel like?

I told them that I would call the police. One guy laughed as he told me the very same police came here for the very same porn DVD’s and police take the  DVD’s for free. I am a mother in Alexandra Township, I am worried about the future of our children in this country.

The community came out in great numbers to show support. I was so impressed to see young children coming in a huge number to support the event.

At the same event I spoke to Amanda Ndlovu, she is 14 years old. She told me that porn is her food, clothes and she can’t live without it. She saves money from her lunch box money given by her parents. Her parents have no idea of what she does with her pocket money.

The event was a success but my main concern is I didn’t see any of the children’s parents support their children at this child pornography awareness campaign. We cannot do it alone. Parents, the Police and the government have to be involved and  help us save our children.

The Siyakhona (We can do it) Alexandra team has been working almost seven days a week since November and had just achieved my dream; using the medium of film to create change within their society. They have achieved beyond my wildest dreams.
With portable projector and screen they have shown the film to to just about all the residents of Alexandra township. The team created a platform for freedom of expression; dialogue, ideas and debate. Soon after the screenings Warren, Tshepiso and Lehlohonolo took a copy of their film highlighting the growing crisis of rats to the municipal managers of region E, without an appointment.
The team so impressed the managers with their film and powerpoint presentation of the possible solution, that they were referred to the next highest level. Three short meetings later Siyakhona Alexandra had presented their film on rats to the directors of every region of Gauteng. These public servants and their staff were so inspired by our team’s work that they committed to pulling all their resources, time and in some cases holiday time, to help our team and the residents of Alexandra to get rid of the pollution which is exacerbating the rat crisis.
900 volunteers came each of the three days to join our campaign together with Region E, PickitUp, Emergency Services, Departments of environment, service delivery, health, urban management,the police, the metro police, Alexandra Renewal project, local NGOs and others to clean the worst areas of Alexandra. It was a fantastic effort but it is by no means the last. The impact has created further determination with our partners to turn Alexandra township into a safe environment for its residents.
The team has since the campaign ( the last ten days) produced two Mxit videos for mobile download (Watch this space!!!) and an advocacy based citizen video journalist film on their community addressing the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goal (MDG); reducing hunger and poverty. I had no reason to worry as the team pulled together and produced some wonderful work.              

I am from Khayelitsha township in Cape Town. Before Siyakhona, I was involved in performing arts like music, poetry and acting. I have attended workshops on women leadership programmes in townships in South Africa and Kenya.
Siyakhona has made an important impact on my life. On a stage I connected with my audience but with video I can reach further. I have also had the ability to tell the untold stories of Khayelitsha and reached both the people who are effected by the poverty as well as the individuals who think that Khayelitsha is dangerous community. Finally, the skills I have learnt here has changed the way I see the world, and the power of telling stories with a camera.
With my skills, I want to fight for women rights, bring cinema to the community and become a loud voice for my community and my people.

The moment we have all been waiting for arrived in the heart of Alexandra; the home of soccer experienced the grand opening of the Football for Hope Festival. It began with a colorful, multi racial amazing parade as the locals supported with their ‘Vuvuzelas and shouts’ towards the stadium.

At the football grounds, well-known celebrities were performing and mesmerizing the crowd; Danny K, Kabelo, Squatter Camp, African theatre and dance and a number of other acts lifted the fans of the great game.

An unbelievable number of fans made a dazzling welcome for FIFA President Sepp Blatter and President of the Republic of South Africa Mr Jacob Zuma. The president opened with an inspirational speech and then declared the games to begin, it was just as fulfilling a experience as  the FIFA World Cup opening ceremonies.

Kenako (It is time), the Siyakhona team were ready to use all their training to cover the festival. Tshepiso and Susan presented with camera men Herbert and Warren and were directed by Shirley and Lehlohonolo. It did not end there, the Sony team was there with outstanding pictures by Siyakhona delegates, and we had interview with the team.

‘We love Football for Hope and thank you FIFA’ those we there words from the local children who enjoyed themselves at the opening and the first match between Alexandra and Uruguay. It was dejavu once again when Uruguay won 2- 0 to the Alex team.

Our cams were deployed, with the help of Streetfootballworld, strategically to cover everything; from the parade of the delegates from San Kopano to Three Square grounds home of the FFH Festival, to a birds eye view from camera tower inside the stadium. It was an amazing day.