Posts Tagged ‘Alexandra’

Siyakhona held their mobile public cinema screening on 25 August 2011, the screening was held in the Setshwetla area near Marlboro Gardens. We demonstrated a good strategy of working together with local stakeholders such as Alex FM and Amakhone Esintu. The Alexandra community station reported on the event and dj Umbrella joined us to listen to what the community had to say. Amakhone Esintu, a local theatre production company performed African traditional ways of story telling to empower our community with issues related to battle against rats.

Mobile Community Cinema Screening

Lehlohonolo speaks to the community

Eco solutions provoked a possible solution by playing a digital story about owls and their role in managing the rats and also verbal teaching of the importance of balancing the eco system. Introducing owls to the rats problem is part of a solution which then sparked debate amongst the citizen of Setshwetla.

After the rats film the audience shared their views and opinions:

They highlighted the issue of cleanness as one of the problems, they then suggested to be given extra plastic bags to put in their rubbish.

People also have a problem of congestion as one of the problems that prevent proper cleanliness, and they suggest that the cleaning company must intensify cleaning effectively in congested areas .

They also highlighted the issue of housing as the main solution to the rats problem.

More than half the population believe in different myths that are attributed to owls . However one lady suggested that it would be better to live with owls than rats. The over-all response of people on this eco-solution showed a greater need for more workshops about owls.

The Setshwetla screening was one of the best screenings that we ever had around Alex. The turn out was +-350 people and more than 50 kids were there. Organizations from Alexandra township like Life Line also supported our consultation, helping us to facilitate the dialogue session after the film and encouraged us with support for the great work we are doing.


They are big with different kinds of colors. They don’t care about life as long as they get something to eat. You will find them everywhere, but they stay in a township called Alexandra yes I am talking about Rats. Others may take rats and mice and make them their pets but for us people of Alex it’s terrifying to have rats as our pets.

We live, eat, sleep with them. These rats have invaded our beautiful township. mobile public screening in Setshwetla Alexandra

They are seen day & night yet we think it is normal, at first it was 1, 2, 10 but there are millions of rats in Alexandra township. These rats come with their own diseases, but still we sit and keep quiet. I am a citizen journalist of Alex who is very concerned because these rats won’t only give me their disease, but the whole of Alex will suffer.

So we took the rats’ film to Setjwetla one of the informal settlements in our township, trying to hear their views and what can we do about this problem.

The people were very shocked when they heard about the diseases that the rats carry. We consulted with them. This is what they said, “as long we don’t clean after ourselves nothing will be done to get rid of these rats”, the other one said “we as Alexandra citizens, we need to help the municipality and work with them to keep our township clean”.

We do not plead to the government only but to the people as well please let’s keep our yards clean, let’s live in a clean environment, the government is trying to help Alexandra by bringing owls to the township so people I leave you with this question. What do you think about owls in the township of Alex?





Hillside Digital Trust’s mantra is “We are one people, we have one destiny, we can make the world the way we’d like it to be.”

Our task is simple, to bring about real change and make a real difference. Our Siyakhona (We can do it) Video Journalists use their skills in film, new and social media as community organizers, they are empowered to engage with their community, identify the root causes of their social ills, organize the community to find the answers and implement action plans to solve the issue together with all role players, stakeholders and partners.

We started in October 2009 and our concept is proving itself as a game changer in community development. There’s been a paradigm shift at the offices of Region E since we presented our call to action video on the rats crisis in Alexandra Township.

To remind you Siyakhona’s advocacy call to action film on the rats crisis so impressed all the regional directors of Gauteng, that they pooled all their resources together, from as far as Orange farm and Soweto. Our film inspired the departments of health, environmental affairs, service delivery, roads, water, the Police, emergency services and others to join our campaign. Over three days they joined us and nine hundred local volunteers in a major clean up and education campaign. The Regional director has since overhauled their entire approach on service delivery. Before the campaign their departments worked in silos, each not knowing what the other was working on. Siyakhona has inspired the city to bring all departments together in an integrated service delivery plan for Alexandra and surrounding areas to combat service delivery issues in a manner that is sustainable and visible to the community.

Herbert and Lucky joined me at the Region E offices to identify the hotspots Siyakhona will focus on for the clean up campaign and rodent crisis; Pan Africa precinct, River Park Precinct, Madala Hostel, Nobuhle Hostel and Helen Joseph Women’s Hostel, how to monitor the project’s impact and get the support of specifically the hostel dwellers as well as the rest of the community. The regional director established monthly Siyakhona task group meetings at her offices. The task group involves representatives from departments of environmental health, housing, PickitUP, Stakeholder management, Service delivery, urban management and ourselves in which we will work together on this and other service delivery issues and implement innovative solutions.

All departments have been briefed on the Siyakhona Initiative and have been directed to submit plans on how they can best add to the project and its impact on the community. Further to the clean up campaign we are also discussing other projects such as recycling, developing green based cooperatives, rehabilitating the Jukskei river, ending tribalism as well as delving into the problem of housing delivery.

Region E will pay the costs of our public screenings, literature and marketing materials and participate in conversations with the community at our screenings. I met with Ephraim; marketing specialist for Region E, he relayed how excited they all are to join the Siyakhona Initiative and add to our work. He believes that joining our grass root initiatives will be far more effective than trying to implement projects developed at management level.

We’ve also been given the go ahead to produce and distribute a Siyakhona Environmental Health DVD on rodent control.

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is doing awesome!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,800 times in 2010. That’s about 7 full 747s.


In 2010, there were 46 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 82 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 96mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was December 10th with 85 views. The most popular post that day was 16 Days of Activism for no Violence against Women and Children..

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for siyakhona project, siyakhona, siyakhona africa, rebecca malope, and zwakanaka.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


16 Days of Activism for no Violence against Women and Children. November 2010


The Siyakhona Project June 2010


About Hillside Digital June 2010


Siyakhona and Hillside Digital featured on CNN iReport June 2010


For the love of the Game. June 2010

Zwakanaka is so cool that it’s nc´a, dope, sooooper-  ayt, the bomb, wicked, off the hook, in fact it’s dianesa and njo-jo and most importantly it’s moving forward, that is what it means. And that is exactly what it does. Zwakanaka only looks as far back as the ‘right now’. It can see around corners and moves into the future to create spaces that haven’t been invented yet. It is constantly changes, grows and expands with the urban youth it represents. If you want to know what township cool is- you need to get with Zwakanaka.

Zwakanaka caters to a street-wise youth culture who want more than the classic once-off downloads and music. Zwakanaka offers original local content accessible to a township market on the MxIt platform and gives filmmakers and mobile users an opportunity to create and enjoy relevant mobile media entertainment. It represents a first in terms of giving a voice to filmmakers and consumers alike to determine what they want to get across to each other.

Emma Kaye, A leader in mobile media, entertainment and content noticed a gap in the urban mobile youth market. Her vision and experience allowed her to create a mobile platform which would enable young township filmmakers to reach a large market. Emma teamed up with Danny Lurie and Nadiva Schraibman, the founders of Hillside Digital which trains township youth to be social activists through making documentary films. This partnership gave birth to a creative filmmaking initiative characterized by storytelling which will enable the filmmakers to become financially sustainable.

Emma Kaye is CEO of Gate 7 New Media and is widely known as an innovator and industry leader in the fields of animation and mobility. She is recognized as one of the top 50 women globally in mobile entertainment. Documentary filmmaker Nadiva Schraibman and social activist Daniel Lurie developed Hillside Digital which empowers impoverished communities by giving them a voice and uniting them through film and mobile cinema to jointly come up with solutions to their pressing problems.

You can find Zwakanaka’s short films on MxIt. For more information contact Emma Kaye at:

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.

By Nana Mathebula

My team and I were given a project by Into the Limelight Communications for The Gauteng City Region Observatory (GCRO), a partnership between UJ, Wits and Gauteng Government. Our brief was to interview people regarding their activities surrounding sports, entertainment, how they use parks, cultural precincts and entertainment. We shot this project over the course of last week. It has been an eye-opening experience where we had to work as a team. I like to think that we were given a chance to do this project for the city to use as a door to start working together as a team and making change in our community and our surrounding areas.

Then it was time to show our dedication, skill and love for the work we do. We are young trained video journalists; we do short films and screenings. At the same time as interviewing people we did a lot of drive-by shots in different places like Pretoria, Soweto, Orange Farm , Zoo Lake , Alexandra and Sandton. My first concern was transportation, which was a challenge for the team, however although it was a challenge for everyone we managed to get to where we needed to go.

The challenges we faced on interviews concerned getting people who wanted to be interviewed. During our interviews there was a guy I approached for an interview, as I introduced myself to him I could see that he looked bitter but this didn’t stop me from wanting to interview him. After I had told him what I was doing he asked me what that had to do with him and told me I was disturbing him and that I must move away from him. So that was a bit stressful for me, that someone could talk to me like that.

However I did not let his attitude get me down for long. There were friendly people who were interested in what we were doing which helped us to have a great time, especially at the Gay and Lesbian Pride event at Zoo Lake. We all had fun and enjoyed filming what we saw. For me it was exciting because their were interesting people in their beautiful outfits and costumes. It was colorful and joyful, they just didn’t care who was there and who was looking they just enjoyed themselves and that made things easy for me to move around them.