Buhle shines spotlight on cinema

Buhle Sithela is a young man on a mission to bring cinema to Khayelitsha. He continues to clean dust bins to raise money towards his dream.

While many unemployed young people continue to rely on their parents and relatives for support, 23-year-old Buhle Sithela continues to strive for success and stardom.

A little more than a year ago, Buhle of Harare started a bin cleaning company with the hope of raising funds to start a community cinema.

He works with a group of other young unemployed people in the community, where they clean rubbish bins at a minimal cost.

After months of hard labour, his dream of opening a community cinema became a reality when he started Sunbox Cinema, a mobile initiative that allows people to watch movies anywhere and at any time – for free.

The project runs on solar power, with all the equipment fitting into a suitcase and running at no cost to him.

He only has to buy or hire movies. Buhle now hopes to reach and motivate scores of young people in and around Khayelitsha and his efforts have already been acknowledged.

On Friday May 19, he flew to Johannesburg for further training, thanks to the Red Bull Amaphiko Academy which acknowledged his entrepreneurial spirit.

The academy is a launchpad for social entrepreneurs around the country, offering them the opportunity to connect with leading innovators in the country and outside South African boarders for 10 days.

In an interview with Vukani before he left for Johannesburg, Buhle said he realised a need to screen movies for township people.

He said he was inspired to embark on the initiative after working for various production companies.

This after his attempt to study events management at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) hit a dead end. He was forced to quit his studies in the second year due to financial constraints.

“I screened my first movie in December,” he said, adding that when he went on holiday to the Eastern Cape at the end of the year, he took his equipment with him and showcased movies there. “My plan is to get people to watch films in a group,” said Buhle.

He said people in the townships were not interested in movies, and he wanted to change that, vowing to visit different communities and screen the movies.

“But that means I must now buy more movies,” he said. “I want to see this grow big. But for now I look at venues that can accommodate about 50 people. From June I plan to show movies once or twice a week.”

Buhle hailed his community, particularly young people, for their support. He said they often came with tips. “Ultimately, I hope to turn this into something big which will be profitable and create opportunities for young people in my community,” he said.