Date:09 December 2018 - By: Tshifhiwa Mukwevho
For a young professional television and film producer to leave behind all the glitz and glamour of well-paying freelance opportunities in big cities to start a new life in a village where the film and TV industry is almost non-existent is virtually unthinkable.
After 10 successful years of freelancing for multi-national corporations as a television director, director of photography and a voice artist, Murendeni “AfreeCa” Ramunenyiwa decided to leave Johannesburg and relocate back to his home province of Limpopo with only one thing in mind: to build a sustainable film and TV industry from scratch.
He has just released two trendsetting movies, entitled Ngavhe Ri Sa Fi and Medengu. Ngavhe Ri Sa Fi is an intriguingly horrifying Tshivenda and Sepedi horror film, where a typical weekend getaway for a group of rebellious teenagers turns into a nightmare when their hired taxi gets stuck in the sacred forest.
In Mudengu, a rebellious pastor's son defies his father and dumps law school to pursue a thankless Tshivenda rap career (VenRap). All hell break loose when the gangster boyfriend of his gold-digger prostitute girlfriend is released from jail. The young man's VenRap career suffers a fatal blow.
"Our lives are an accumulation of the decisions we make, both big and small,” Ramunenyiwa said. “I'm a visionary, and I'm not scared to invest in my vision.”
Ramunenyiwa has invested all he has worked for into his dream of starting a first South African, Limpopo-based movie channel. "I had had enough of the South,” he said. “I just couldn't continue advancing other people's dreams while my dream suffered. There's literally no big television company I didn't freelance for in my time.”
His vision had always been to study film at Wits University, to volunteer at all broadcasting corporations in South Africa in order to acquire practical knowledge, and freelance for at least 10 years while building a profile.
“I also wanted to save enough money to buy my own production equipment, then start making premium-quality films in marginalised languages for local and international markets,” he said. “I have done all those things, and I'm now in the practical phase of my dreams: making movies for my people and the world."
He was born at Vhufuli Village. He comes from a very religious family and his maternal grandmother, Vho-Tshinakaho Phillistus Mugivhi, would always encourage all her grandchildren to participate in church dramas. Murendeni's love for storytelling was also born at that stage and he played in several sketches at Tshisahulu Lutheran Church in his early years.
Both films are showing as Indoor Day Cinema at the 2010 Centre in Thohoyandou on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 12:00, 14:00, and 16:30 at a cost of R50 per movie or session. For Outdoor Movie Nights, at similar dates but with the gates opening on 17:00, entry is R50 (students), R100 (general), and R300 (VIP).
By: Tshifhiwa Mukwevho
Tshifhiwa Given Mukwevho was born in 1984 in Madombidzha village, not far from Louis Trichardt in the Limpopo Province. After submitting articles for roughly a year for Limpopo Mirror's youth supplement, Makoya, he started writing for the main newspaper. He is a prolific writer who published his first book, titled A Traumatic Revenge in 2011. It focusses on life on the street and how to survive amidst poverty. His second book titled The Violent Gestures of Life was published in 2014.