Ekse Lens wants to capture the youth

The trio, Mpumelelo Sefalane, Xolisa Bangani and Oliver Petrie were the founders of Ekse Lens.

A group of experienced filmmakers and photographers have put their heads together to share their knowledge and skills with the youth of Khayelitsha and surroundings areas.

Mpumelelo Sefalane, Xolisa Bangani and Oliver Petrie have formed a new non-profit organisation called Ekse Lens, aimed at giving a platform and opportunity to the youth to hone their skills and perhaps even launch their careers.

Through the organisation, these young minds intend to offer 10 students eight months of intensive training during which they will be taught how to make music videos, films and documentaries and other relevant skills.

But the fundamental aim of the organisation was to open a school of photography in Khayelitsha. Mr Petrie, said they wanted the youth from Khayelitsha to tell their own stories. They had already started the workshops and were preparing for the selection process.

If things went according to plan, he said, the would start the programme by January.

Mr Petrie said the programme was free. He said it was important for them to change the perception that being a photographer was just a hobby rather than a sustainable career.

Mr Petrie said they had already formed partnerships with local and international photographers and film-makers who were keen to give their input. “We want to make a valuable change. We want the youth to be agents of change. We want the youth to tell their own stories.

“We want more stories from the township that are told by the people from the township. We also hope that through this initiative we could create employment opportunities. We want young people to express themselves through these various platforms. The voices of young people should be heard,” he said.

His colleague, Mr Bangani, added that they felt that aspiring film-makers and photographers were not getting enough opportunities to hone their skills and that local opportunities were often given to people from outside of Khayelitsha.

He said they also wanted to extend their video and photography training to primary and high school pupils.