At the recent Sunday Times Top 100 Companies Awards Ceremony, Sasani
Africa, owner of leading Johannesburg-based television facility Sasani Studios,
was placed tenth in the corporate social investment (CSI) category.
Out of the 3 200 companies listed, 997 provided the required documents for
entry into the awards and the top 40 were analysed in detail. Others in the top
10 besides Sasani Africa were Sappi, Mondi, FirstRand, Group Five and Neotel.
“We are ecstatic,’ says Sasani Studios CEO Eileen Sandrock. “I was completely
gob-smacked when we received this acknowledgement from the Sunday Times.
It is a huge honour for our tiny company and a complete surprise. Our CSI
project started from a need identified as a lack of skills for our requirements, and
as a result we started an internship programme.’
Sasani trains unemployed learners in various disciplines, normally starting with
studio assistant skills – rigging, basic camera techniques and basic lighting. In
addition their interns undergo computer literacy courses as well as basic financial
“The end result is that they gain knowledge to equip themselves in the film and
television industry and in business in general,’ explains Sandrock. “Once the
initial training is complete, the interns normally elect to specialise in audio,
editing, engineering or production, in fact any other discipline that we offer that
the intern may show an interest in.’
Those interns that show potential are often employed by Sasani Studios as
freelancers, or on a fixed term contract. These interns also supply the entire
industry with skills, and are often employed by pay-TV broadcaster M-Net or on
productions such as Rhythm City, The Wild and Muvhango.
According to Sandrock, from a Sasani perspective, the most rewarding part of
the programme is to witness the transformation of the unemployed learners.
Often the interns enter the programme with a certain sense of disillusionment,
perhaps even desperation, and within a matter of days they are energised and
“They develop new skills and knowledge, and most importantly, they develop a
sense of purpose,’ concludes Sandrock.