The Durban film community, this week, mourn the passing of one of the industry’s most loved and respected characters, George Sithole. Sithole was a well-known scriptwriter and producer with several radio and television drama series under his belt including, “UBAMBO LWAMI’ for SABC 1 and “Devils’ Island’ for Ukhozifm. He was described by many of his colleagues as “the Leon Schuster of the new South Africa’.
“George Sithole was a man determined to grow the local film industry and had been working tenaciously on a number of projects to provide our local talents with new opportunities,’ says Toni Monty, head of the Durban Film Office (DFO). “George dreamed big, worked hard, never took “no’ for an answer and was the most innovative filmmaker I have come to know in Durban. He will be sorely missed.’
Vikash and Rani Sitaram of East Coast Media who have worked extensively with George Sithole on a number of projects were full of praise for their friend and colleague. “George was a great friend of filmmakers, musicians and artists. Our company, East Coast Media collaborated with him on his first feature, dealing with music piracy and later on the local feature film comedy, “I Wish I was in Jail’.
“We were currently involved with him in developmental projects to build capacity in the local film industry and also assisting with the development of the script for “I Wish.2’, the sequel to the original comedy.’
“George shared our vision of “indigenous’ films made by South Africans, for South Africans,” continues Rani. “His enthusiasm, energy and wry sense of humour made working, or just talking with him, a great pleasure. He will be sorely missed, a void that will be hard to fill. Who will lobby for indigenous filmmaking now?’
Another close friend and fellow industry collaborator Mandle Ndimande says, “We have lost a brilliant writer, a visionary and a good friend. We hope his legacy will live on through his works and projects in development.’
Sithole leaves his wife Thandeka and daughters.