Actor Thato Molamu on starting Leaders in Motion Academy

Entrepreneur and actor Thato Molamu says that he wouldn’t be where he is today if someone didn’t give him an opportunity to be in the film industry. Now he wants to pay back

Molamu’s Foundation, in partnership with Gateway Media and the South African Creative Industries Incubator, has launched a township Film Academy in Gauteng. It’s the first of its kind in SA.

The Leaders in Motion Academy is aiming at training creative young people between the ages of 18 and 35 in  Tshwane.

The academy is mainly targeted at aspiring township filmmakers from financially disadvantaged backgrounds in the metro.

Molamu became a household name for his role as Nicholas Nomvete, a spoiled brat trying to make headway in the advertising industry, in the SABC1 soap opera Generations.

“You look at television today: we tell stories from the townships but yet none of the kids from townships have rights to that content,” he says.

READ MORE: eThekwini Film City to develop industry in Durban

Molamu explains that he sought a solution to empower young people with skills so they can drive their own economic progress.

“We said, let’s not complain that no one is giving you money to produce something. Let’s empower them with skills, business skills as well so that they are able to create an economical industry for themselves in the township,” says Molamu.

Molamu, who is also the director of Thato Molamu Foundation and Gateway Media, says that they are looking for people who are extremely passion about the industry.

“It’s a people-based initiative. We need to see the work that you have done, we need to see that you have committed to do something,’’ he says.

Selected young people will be given an opportunity to gain valuable work experience through a well-crafted, accredited, fully funded theoretical and practical film course to commence in September this year.

During the 12-month programme, participants will receive tuition in accredited film and video production theory and practical instruction on productions, with access to industry professionals. They will be exposed to on-set environments and shoots via LIMA’s industry partnerships. The business side of the film will be emphasised through focused entrepreneurship modules throughout the programme.

The entrepreneurship modules for filmmakers are presented through the Enterprises University of Pretoria, with certification from the University of Pretoria upon successful completion. The academy will offer the film and video production course accredited by Seta. He says this academy is proudly designed for the township by the township.

Students from Tshwane townships like Hammanskraal, Soshanguve, and surrounding areas will be shuttled to and from the academy. Daily meals, at no cost to the student, will be provided while in attendance.

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To date, at least nine candidates have been selected. “We want to curb township social ills by giving talented young film entrepreneurs with creative minds the skills, resources and funding they need to succeed. My reason for partnering with the South African Creative Incubator is because I simply love the idea of creating the township film economy.”

“It creates opportunities for youth to tell their own stories, create their own content, and become sustainable businesses. Young people need access and a support system, and our goal and belief at LIMA is normalising access,” he says.