QUIET ON SET! Star and producer Joe Kazadi, director Cedric Wembe and the cinematographer on set prepping for a scene for the low budget student film The Missing Piece. Photo: Provided
THE AFROPOLITAN film independently produced by Witsies is nearing completion despite its low budget. The producer says this is due to careful planning and because everybody “came to do it with their hearts”.
The Missing Piece tells the story of a Congolese man named Joe who turns to a life of crime after losing his wife and child. The film also shows the relationship he forms with a little girl whose only companion is a teddy bear. The title of the film refers to the teddy bear.
When asked why people would want to watch their film, director Cedric Wembe said, “The problems and the issues at play in the movie are problems people face not only in South Africa but everywhere else.”
Joe Kazadi, the producer and star of the film, funded most of the film using his money which he set aside especially for the production.
He said, “Everybody came to do it with their hearts, no one came for the money.”
Despite the budget, Wembe said it was the aim of the crew to use the best equipment to make the best quality film people would want to see.
Wembe said the problem with making a film in Africa is always budgeting. There is never enough money to make a film in the “African context” especially when the production does not receive funding from external funders.
“Everybody came to do it with their hearts.”
Both Kazadi and Wembe have worked professionally in television and stage productions respectively but to them The Missing Link was different.
Kazadi said, “We [were] looking for the way forward. What was the positive and what was the negative and then we decided, yeah, we’ll do that.”
According to Kazadi, compared to other productions, this film had the most planning behind it.
“With the other productions we just rushed into it, we were not prepared mentally for it. That is why it [other productions] was not a full success,” he said.
The film is currently in post-production. Kazadi is looking to premiere the film at Wits University. They chose Wits because the film is primarily a student film. Students from Wits and AFDA film school in Auckland Park came together to write and shoot it.
“Ninety-five percent of people involved or 90 percent of the people [crew] are people who come from Wits,” Kazadi said.
Wembe and Kazadi want to take their film to the Ecrans Noir film festival in Cameroon, the Fespaco film festival in Burkina Faso and a film festival in Cape Town.
The trailer for the film has been released and is available on Wembe and Kazadi’s Facebook pages respectively.
Adrian van Vactor is an award-winning illusionist travelling the world to entertain and to educate with his show ‘The Secrets of the Supernatural Exposed’, which he performed at Wits University this week. Photo: Luke Mathews
Adrian van Vactor is an award-winning illusionist travelling the world to entertain and to educate with his show ‘The Secrets of the Supernatural Exposed’, which he performed at Wits University this week.
Van Vactor uses the art of illusion to entertain and to tell the story of how he has travelled the world searching for proof of the existence of magic.
His show looks at the claims made about supernatural phenomena and scrutinizes the claims made by practitioners of these acts. Van Vactor says that his show exposes these acts as fake. “I want students to have the ability to separate superstition from truth,” van Vactor said to the audience attending his lunch time show on the Wits campus.
He explained that the paranormal phenomena people believe to be true, like psychics, are fake. Van Vactor told the crowed he became fascinated with magic when his mother took him to see a psychic.
He explained that psychics do ‘cold reading’ where they guess their predictions. “I saw it was fake, and that’s when I became interested in why people are so fascinated with superstition,” van Vactor said.
Dylan Barry, a first year BSc student, attended the show and was part of an illusion . He said, “I thought it was very nice and got better as it went along.”
Sumayya Mayet, a first year BA student, was part of the same illusion as Barry and said, “It was very interesting and perplexing.”
Right off the bat I want it to be known that I’m a Christian. I grew up in the church, at first not by choice. My dad’s a priest and this gave me access to various churches and all kinds of Christians.
I’ve seen big churches, small churches, rich churches and poor churches. I’ve even been in churches that served as nuclear plants in the past. You name it, I’ve worshipped in it.
With these different churches came different people – people who worship differently to me. But some things stay the same. The teachings of Jesus Christ are always relevant. These are the basics of our faith, but we somehow forget them in our daily dealings with one another.
That’s why I made a list of the four fundamentals we Christians have forgotten. This is not an attack on Christ or Christians. I am not a perfect Christian, I am just an observer.
Number one: “To err is human, to forgive divine.” This is something we all forget. In traditional churches we have a segment in the service called “the peace”, when members of the congregation turn to each other, and forgive.
We greet each other as Jesus greeted his disciples after he was crucified. He greeted them in peace, because he wanted to show that he forgave them for deserting him. We hold grudges way too easily nowadays. We are too quick to say: “I will forgive, but I will not forget.”
Bra, to forgive means to forget. We must forgive in order to see the splendour of God’s kingdom around us.
Number two: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” In short, don’t mess with me and I won’t mess with you. We are too competitive, too confrontational with one another. We hurt each other.
We’re like crabs in a bucket, pulling each other down when we see someone rising above us. Haters are everywhere. They’re in your work place, in your class, on your social media. Let them be. I’ve seen too many upstanding members of the Christian community (even priests) messing with each other just for the sake of it.
Number three: “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s”. What this means is that God wants you, not your money. In George, my hometown, there’s a church whose congregation would give their last two cents to the church solely because the pastor convinced them that God wants them to give all they have to the church.
Now don’t get me wrong, the church needs resources to function properly, but there are people running churches like businesses. Money rules everything and the danger is we forget to listen to the voice of God. He wants you. The church wants your money, there’s a difference.
Number four: “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” Try this: walk straight, but look everywhere but in front of you. See how difficult it is to focus on moving forward if you keep looking at what others are doing?
This is what happens when you judge other people. If Jezebel wants to “twerk for real niggas”, let the woman twerk. You don’t have to do it. Live your life. Keep at your hustle. It’s hard enough out here, so focus on your life.
Well not all of us are perfect. “Let he who has no sin cast the first stone.”
In conclusion, the purpose of this list was not to convert people to Christianity. It’s not a warning for sinners to repent and it’s not a call for all of us to hold hands and sing: “We are the world”.
This is just my observation. And I hope it will make people think.
By Lutho Mtongana, Luke Matthews and Lameez Omarjee
Wits Vuvuzela spoke to some Witsies to find out about their thoughts on the broadcasting of pornography on local television. This comes with the news that the Justice Alliance of South Africa wants to overrule the decision by Icasa to allow the broadcasting of three pornographic channels on TV after 8pm.
Lisa Vetten has been working as a gender activist and works at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (Wiser) as an honorary research associate. Vetten has a master’s degree in political studies and has been involved in a number of research projects dealing with violence against women.
Currently her work deals with rape and the criminal justice system, as well as how to fund services that provide help to the victims of sexual violence and abuse. She is also on the Commission for Gender Equality’s section six committee as a specialist on violence against women.
In your opinion, is enough being done by society and by government to support the victims of sexual violence?
No, there’s a really big gap I think between rhetoric and reality. You will always find good police officers, good prosecutors, and good people in the bureaucracy. But I think, on balance, many don’t seem too clearly interested, some have never been trained properly, some don’t have the resources required to do the job. And some of them really have an unhelpful, sexist attitude towards their work.
In your opinion, what can be done by the police and government in general to prevent sexual violence or to help victims of sexual violence?
I think one of the difficulties is firstly that the police have a limited role in preventing rape and domestic violence. But what they can prevent is serial rape and domestic violence.
Gender Activist, Lisa Vetten. Photo provided.
And one of the concerns has been that the police have been sucked in by the idea that they are chiefly responsible for prevention. And you see that in the targets they set for themselves every year. And that’s really not their role.
Their role is enforcing the rule of law. So their target should rather be around things like arrest cases to court, how they can remove barriers to reporting and how they can make the criminal justice system more effective so that somebody actually thinks it’s worthwhile to go and get involved with the police and the court. Because it sucks up a good deal of your life and your time and often you get nothing out of it except humiliation.
I think it relates to the point about the police and reporting because it’s important to be able to encourage those who have been raped to be able to feel they can speak without fearing stigma and shame.
But in many ways I actually think our campaigns needs to be around “How do we get society to listen?” It’s all very well to ask people to speak out but if people don’t listen, or if they listen in ways that blame, I think they can make the problem worse. So we would like to see more campaigns around listening.
As we celebrate Women’s Day today, there are a lot of misconceptions around the concept of feminism. Wits Vuvuzela asked some male students what they think it is all about and spoke to historian Catherine Burns about the history of the social movement.
MR HOLLYWOOD: Joe Kazadi is the star and producer of the independent film, The Missing Piece, set in the Johannesburg CBD. Photo: Luke Matthews
AN INDEPENDENT “Afropolitan” film about recovery and redemption will be shot in and around downtown Johannesburg during May.
The Missing Piece combines the talents of South African writer Cinga Maseti, Cameroonian director Cedric Wembe and Congolese producer/actor, Joe Kazadi. It tells the story of Joe (28), who has to find happiness again after losing his family.
“Life has totally taken the taste out of him. So he’s dry, dry, dry,” said Kazadi, who plays Joe.
The Missing Piece refers to a teddy bear owned by a little girl who befriends Joe. “This little girl is basically the only person that shows love to this guy. She smiles at him every time he comes to the park,” said Kazadi.
Their relationship turns when Joe breaks into a house in order to get something to eat, not realising it is the house in which the little girl lives.
Kazadi described the story as “beautiful” and said it was inspired by the married couple he used to live with. The story came from what he imagined life would be like after a man got married.
“I just wanted to show the people that there’s a lot that happens to a man after he has made that commitment.”
[pullquote]”I was just trying to show that this guy [Joe] is going to find happiness through his own talent.”[/pullquote]
He was also inspired by the love people had for each other and he wanted to teach the audience we should accept one another. “We want a person because they either have a talent or they have something that you need. I was just trying to show that this guy [Joe] is going to find happiness through his own talent.”
The overall message of the film, according to Kazadi, is: “We must never give up. If you look at the whole story, this guy is dry, [the] life is out of him and, where he has lost hope, that’s when somebody come(s) from nowhere to pick him up.”
Kazadi came up with the original story, but did not write the script himself. The script was written by Maseti, a graduate of Afda film school in Auckland Park. Maseti, who graduated this year, has made several student films, one of which was shown at Cinema Nouveau in Rosebank at Afda’s annual graduation film festival.
Kazadi handed over scribe duties to Maseti because he wanted the script to be written by a professional. They were introduced by a mutual friend. Wembe, the director, has worked professionally in the industry. Kazadi met him when they were playing soccer.
Kazadi himself has worked professionally as an actor. He appeared in an American series, Strike Back, which showed locally on M-Net. He also appeared in Jacob’s Cross, Ekasi Stories and Generations.
Commenting on his attitude to the African film industry, Kazadi told Wits Vuvuzela, “I’m not so positive about the way we make films. I would really like it if everyone took this job seriously to show the world that we too can win awards and we have that ability to make great films.”
He did not believe Africa had achieved that yet.
The film will be shot in Bree street in Braamfontein and in Hillbrow. Shooting will start on May 1, and will premiere at the Wits School of Arts.
Kazadi said he hoped to take the film further. “We want to take this film to as many places as possible.”
EVOLUTION IN MOTION: Liesel Retief (on the left) and Pro Mchunu (on the right) are two of three actors who were part of the Walking Tall physical theater play. The third actor was Lesego Gladwin Molotsi (not pictured).
Photo: Luke Matthews
Drama for Life Town Hall presented a performance of Walking tall a physical performance play about the origins of the human race on Monday, April 7 at the Yvonne Banning studio.
Walking tall is a Paleontological Scientific Trust (PAST) core educational program based on the origins of Africa and the earth. The aim of the campaign is to develop Africa’s rich heritage and promote interest in the origin sciences.
Pro Mchunu, Liesel Retief and Lesego Gladwin Molotsi were the professional actors who performed on Monday in the Yvonne Banning Studio at University Corner.
The performers agreed that they got along, Mchunu said “We have to because in physical theatre we have no sets or props, we only have each other.” According to Retief, the response from the audiences is positive. She said, “A girl came up to us and said that she learned more from watching the show than from reading it.”
They started rehearsals in January, and were already performing the production by February. They travel throughout the country and other countries in Africa performing for school children and students.
Walking tall has been seen by over 1 million university students and school children around the Africa over the past 13 years. The science of the origins shows the shared African roots of all people. PAST uses Africa’s ancient heritage to build African pride, promote community spirit, social unity and environmental conservation. They also want to get the youth of South Africa interested in science that will lead to a strong African presence in the field.
After the performance there was a question and answer portion where the actors explained the scientific terminology used in the play. They also answered questions from the audience, giving the show an educational and entertainment feel.
The overall message of Walking Tall is that human beings share the same origin and we share a genetic bond that can not be broken.