Pioneering Living Legends Multimedia Training Programme Puts Dwindling Arts and Culture Coverage Under The Spotlight

Author: JT Comms
Date: 13 Mar 2018

Speaking truth to power, on his poem ‘Degrees’ from the anthology Azanian Love Song,  Dr Don Mattera writes “There is no hurt quite like being unloved, unwanted among one’s own, in one’s own land ”.


Cultivating a conscious media network was at the core of a gathering of a cohort of storytellers who locked minds in South Africa's inaugural living legends multimedia training programme.


A series of master classes conducted by highly qualified and acclaimed subject matter experts was carefully curated in an effort towards addressing how we can leverage technology to better profile and share our stories particularly when covering our living legends.


Journalists, writers, photographers, videographers, branding practitioners, fine art and story tellers made up the 20 delegates in Cohort 1 a pioneering and much needed information exchange on how we use multimedia which in SA remains a missed opportunity.


This lack of knowledge together with the widening gap of how Arts and Culture reporting in mainstream media continues to dwindle is at the core of creating a shift in how we package and share our stories. A worrying stat outside high data charges is how low the percentage is of media practioners unpacking the power of multi media.


A carefully chosen group of seasoned media and arts and culture subject matter experts were invited to share their mastery on the art of how to produce engaging content.  Facilitators included Brenda Sisane, Diane Coetzer, Sam Mathe, Helen Herimbi, Milisuthando Bongela, Kgomotso Moeketsi, Ismail Mahomed and Audrey Brown held master classes where they shared expertise on various ways of archiving and curating content.


Week one of the programme held at the Windybrow Theatre in Hillbrow saw our 20 delegates get trained on how to package and archive content towards profiling living legends within the arts and culture fraternity where our facilitators shared expertise on advanced, theoretical and practical skills about the methods and forms of multimedia product use.


Managing director of JT Comms Vanessa Perumal says: “This programme covers a gap and starts a conversation of how we can collectively revolutionise how we package content when telling our stories as Africans using technology as a tool.”


The most exciting part of the project is to see the delegates discover and engage in conversation on great chapters of South African arts and culture history through the reminisces of Dorothy Masuku, Don Mattera, Stompie Manana, Peter Magubane, Welcome Msomi and other living legends in real time filmed at different locations such Constitution Hill, the Windybrow Theatre in Hillbrow, the Roving Bantu Kitchen in Brixton and the JT Comms Media Resource Centre of African Excellence.


Providing accessible opportunities and resources to address the needs of various audiences from the elders to the young people, the climate of the programme reasons and engages young people in terms of history, which they feel is not preserved and only hear of such people when legends die. The Living Legends Multimedia Training Programme gives an insight into how heritage can inspire creativity and also how creativity can enhance heritage by allowing for more imaginative presentation and archiving methods.


An important observation during the first two weeks is the inclusive dimension of the programme, by involving young people in different ways, this brought the archive to life and brought about inclusion rather than exclusion, encouraging more young people to explore their own histories and collect their own oral histories and memorabilia to create their own personal archives.


“We are proud as the department to be associated with this pioneering training programme. It is our belief that our living human treasures have a fundamental role to play towards the proper archiving and writing of our stories as Africans.  We also hope to see more of our legends play an even bigger role in offering master classes and providing mentorship to the youth as part of our Living Legends Legacy Project” says Sithembiso Ntombela of the Department of Arts and Culture.


And it is in this premise that there is a newly found interest for the current and next generation of content producers to preserve our history; and that is the greatest legacy of the programme.


A graduation for the first cohort of students from the programme will be held at the Apartheid Museum on 20 March 2018.


For media accreditation, interview requests and access to high res photos please contact media@jtcomms.co.za or (011) 788 7632.


Issued by JT Communication Solutions in collaboration with the Department of Arts and Culture


Notes to Editor


Living Legends:

Dorothy Masuku was one of the most famous township singers in 1950’s South Africa and a pin-up to boot. She was best friends with Miriam Makeba and wrote some of the biggest hits to come out of the continent and her songs have been covered by artists such as Thandiswa Mazwai and Hugh Masekela.


Stompie Manana was born 1935 in Sophiatown and is a founding member of the African Jazz Pioneers and was a regular guest for the Pacific Express.  He also taught the late Hugh Masekela how to play the trumpet.


Peter Magubane is responsible for many of the iconic images from major political events of the era such as The Sharpeville Massacre, Riots in Soweto, The Rivonia Trial. Despite witnessing some of the most violent events of the time first-hand, he remained focused and dedicated to his profession, always comprehending the brevity of his responsibility.


Don Mattera has been celebrated as a journalist, editor, writer and poet. He is also acknowledged as one of the foremost activists in the struggle for a democratic South Africa, and helped to found the Union of Black Journalists, the African Writer's Association and the Congress of South African Writers.


Welcome Msomi is an actor, writer and theatrical producer. Best known in South Africa as the author of the innovative and internationally successful Zulu version of Macbeth (uMabatha) and choreographed the presidential inauguration for Nelson Mandela in 1994.



Antony Kaminju, Bonga Gwadu, Bongani Siziba, Dianah Chiyangwa, Kgomotso Mamabolo, Kitso Kgaboesele, Lwazi Gwijane, Masi Losi, Nigel Sibanda, Ntombifuthi Sangweni, Sibusio Gcaba, Success Mthombeni, Thelma Seswana, Tshepo Gaerupe, Tsholofelo Dibakwane, Zinziswa Mani

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