It cost Ntsikelelo Mavata 50 cents to watch his first motion picture at a neighbour’s house – the only person who owned a TV in his near vicinity. He was just six at the time, but he enjoyed the combat classics like Rambo and the Jackie Chan movies. Mavata later moved to Port Elizabeth’s Motherwell township to live with his father, who took him to the cinema for the first time. The moment convinced him of his calling to film, and his desire to do good in his community through it.
Mavata’s dream took him to the big city, but not to chase the limelight. After matriculating, he left the Eastern Cape to study at Big Fish School of Digital Filmmaking in Johannesburg. Instead of staying on in Gauteng or moving to media-centric Cape Town upon graduating, he returned to Rhamnyiba village on the outskirts of King William’s Town to tell the stories of ordinary people in rural communities.
Experiencing life in a metropolitan city made Mavata aware of just how little support there is for aspiring film professionals in these areas. Driven to deliver mentorship that could inspire the growth of film in the Eastern Cape, he started a production company with three friends. Making use of local actors and crew, Kwanontsomi Enterprise has so far produced three short films, two documentaries and a feature film, giving Mavata’s community the opportunity to showcase its talent.