Zone 14 star inspires SA youth


Vusi Twala is a well-known South African actor who is using his prominence to
educate and inspire the country’s youth by delivering motivational talks at high-
schools in which he encourages learners to pass Matric and pursue positive
future prospects. He is also conducting filmmaking workshops, in an initiative to
inform learners about an art form he believes they know next to nothing about.

Twala once had his heart set on becoming a soccer star, but as fate would have
it the small town boy, who grew up just outside of Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal,
would instead find fame as a character on the SABC1 drama series Zone
. Twala landed the role when he played an extra in one of the episodes
and caught the attention of director Angus Gibson. However, despite his natural
acting abilities he initially found himself overwhelmed and intimidated by a world
he knew very little about.

“In my neighbourhood, people have very little knowledge about the film industry
– as kids we even used to break open radios to see who was talking from
inside. When I arrived on the set of Zone 14 I had no idea what
terms like “dialogue’, “on set’ or “running lines’ meant. Being in a position like that
can really knock your confidence, or prevent you from succeeding,’ Twala

In his workshops Twala uses a short film Lost Innocence, which he
shot with the support of friends in the film industry, to explain and demonstrate
how different production disciplines and processes come together to produce
the end result. He has also launched the Behind the Blazer Film Project, an
initiative aimed at getting learners to produce their own short films, for which he
has big aspirations.

He explains: “The bigger idea is to get different communities to compete with
their short films in order to win a blazer with a badge. The winners would go on
to host film clubs in underprivileged areas where they can screen their films and
create conversations around issues which South African youth are facing.’

Still in its infancy, the project needs funding for equipment, transport, food,
location fees and security costs, in order to gain momentum and have
meaningful impact.

Twala believes that there are many unique South African stories which aren’t
being told and adds: “I would like to be able to showcase the creativity and
untold stories of these kids, there’s a lot that they go through. It’s important for
them to be heard, for them to find a passion and tell their stories.’

Keep up to date with progress on the Behind the Blazer Film Project by following
the initiative on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.


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