AFDA STUDENTS & ALUMNI
Find out more about our current and past students
Mbaliyekhethelo Khumalo (MK)
The moment I got to AFDA I realised that this is something different and that I’d get to study what I’d secretly been wanting to study all along. Currently, I’m working on a project where everything that I’ve been learning in class is unfolding in front of my eyes! The way I see it, we’re kind of revolutionists. Us as first years, we’re the catalyst for a different kind of change. AFDA is definitely the key place to start and build a network. This degree has shown me wonders and magical things, I don’t regret my choice to study at AFDA at all!
I’m in love with the fact that this course hasn’t been done before. Even more so, I’d been looking for a degree that intertwines business, the arts and innovation. At AFDA, I can creatively express myself on a daily basis. The BCOM is perfect in the sense that is highly interactive. Through pitching our business ideas, we receive valid, valuable advice. Feedback can be hard-core, but if you’re not ready for constructive criticism now, you’ll never be ready!”
Edwin Cole Chetty
“I am currently studying the newest degree at AFDA Durban, a BCom in Business Innovation and Enterprise. I have always been in Durban, since birth and went to basically every school with “Durban” in it; Durban North Primary School and Durban North College, where I matriculated. I always possessed a passion for performance and the arts. But this year, I came to the realisation that life had something more to offer. When in high school, I was forever adamant on going to AFDA, the School of Live Performance. This was truly the best choice for me at the time, no exams, meant no studying. Above that, I had starred in many productions and plays throughout my entire schooling career, from supporting to leading roles receiving multiple awards for my passion and contribution to the arts. Then AFDA’s BCom degree in Business Innovation came along - My first epiphany. Such a change from performance to business. Right now, I couldn’t be happier. I currently work with two of the four disciplines of my degree; Business Leadership and Operational Management toward the task of monetizing the AFDA Film Archive. Each term requires a business pitch as if done in front of a board of investors which I look forward to every time. Once my degree is complete, I intend to further my qualification to Honours and thereafter aim to become a successful and innovative entrepreneur – why get a degree to work for other people, when you can get one to have people work for you? I truly love where I’m studying, triggering shock and jealousy into friends whenever they hear me say, “I love studying. I love AFDA.”
Cape Town and South Africa are very different and fascinating in terms of scenery and infrastructure. South Africans are very strong willed and open-minded in their ideas, lifestyles and beliefs and this to me is a very personal attraction. It helps me to better express who I am and what I stand for. Every day I feel more comfortable as I learn more about AFDA and South Africa and the programme I am studying offers a unique experience as the worlds of Business and Arts collide.
As much as I am creative, I like to adopt a logical business approach. I believe that if you want to do something, you need to start somewhere. As an animation and cartoon fanatic, I decided to implement my own YouTube channel. The channel is a tool to identify what people like and I constantly think “How can I monetize my content? How can I collaborate with others to grow the channel?” Essentially, AFDA is teaching me the vocabulary and skill set to articulate my business ideas effectively. I am engaging in the business side of creativity on a daily basis. I’d recommend studying a BCOM at AFDA if you’re wanting to step away from the conventional, parrot style fashion of learning. If you’re looking for something different – AFDA IT IS!
“The fact that I am one of the first people to be part of such a new amazing and innovative B Com degree really excites me. I love that we don’t do exams here but have to produce an actual working and relative product .Lessons are also made to captivate and stimulate us. I am thrilled to be part of what is going to be an epic journey.” AFDA Cape Town, 1st year, Business Innovation and Technology student, Kyle April.
Being at AFDA has been incredibly insightful and taught me a lot about various components and the intricacies of film. I feel that AFDA is determined to help us grow. AFDA has a great and different way of teaching. We do focus on the theory but there is far more weight on whether we are able to produce a product. There is a lot of potential for growth in the entertainment industry in SA. I feel that our markets are flooded with foreign material and that SA needs to find its own brand and start creating more quality films. I hope to be an actor in the film industry. I realize that it will be challenging but I know that the industry is growing. Hopefully as the film industry grows AFDA will continue to communicate with those in the business and help the students gain real life experience and exposure. That will assist us in integrating ourselves in the market. Overall AFDA PE is a wonderful place to study where the staff are always trying to get the best out of us students
Being at AFDA has offered me the opportunity to learn practical ways to communicate my ideas. It has shifted my mindset to thinking about art in general and not just film I see great things happening, especially in the Eastern Cape. A lot of effort is being put towards developing the industry and film makers in the province. I am aiming to do an Honours degree and work towards building a solid good reputation for myself.
My experience as a first year Live Performance student at AFDA PE has been great so far. The staff are really helpful and the atmosphere on campus is very friendly. AFDA PE is the best choice you can make for your entertainment career. I’m so happy that I made the choice to come to AFDA PE . There is definitely growth in the entertainment industry. With AFDA opening more campuses it gives more people opportunities to be well trained. I hope to be a presenter on Top Billing or Club 808 in a few years time.
SHAUN GOUWS (Honours, Johannesburg)
Shaun Gouws obtained his Honours Degree in Motion Picture Medium in 2006 majoring in Producing. In 2007 he started working in the Promo department at Studio Zoo where after he moved on to become Head of Production at Ontwerp.tv, a boutique Commercials Production Company based in Bryanston, Johannesburg. After exploring and producing longer format mediums over a couple of years Shaun accepted a job offer in 2012 at Penguin Films in Cape Town where he Production Managed a 13 Episode Series for kykNet. Several of his films are currently screening on Movie Magic and the SABC and have won numerous awards at various film festivals. He gained a lot of experience working in the commercial industry dealing with clients like McCann Worldwide, Draft FCB, Ireland Davenport, The Jupiter Drawing Room and Leo Burnett. Shaun has produced numerous Television Commercials, Music Videos, Short films, as well as Production Managed series. Shaun firmly believes that South Africa has a wealth of truly inspirational stories waiting to be told and there is no reason for aspiring young talent not to do so.
MICHAEL IVY (Honours, Cape Town)
AFDA Head of CMS, Michael Ivy is a designer, make-up artist and stylist for numerous international magazines and for several leading international brands, including Levi Strauss, Absolut Vodka, Magnum, Spiced Gold, Nashua and Moët & Chandon. Michael trains students in personal styling, costume design, illustration, technical pattern-making, fashion, make-up, special effects make-up and garment manufacture.
LIEZL DE KOCK (Honours, Johannesburg)
AFDA Cape Town alumni and AFDA Johannesburg Lecturer, Researcher, Production Course coordinator, Liezl de Kock has cemented herself as a versatile, sought-after and multi award winning performer. In 2005 Liezl won a Best Actress award for screen for her role in Hollywood In My Huis, an Arts and Culture Trust Creative Industries award for Gumbo (2008), an Ovation Award and two Fleur du Cap Awards for the highest grossing theatre production at the National Arts Festival of 2009, Pictures of You ,as well as nominated for the Fleur du Cap Best Actress Award for her role as the mother in Rob Murray’s Womb Tide. Liezl was also mentioned in The Sunday Times as one of the best actresses of 2010 in South Africa. As Co-Artistic Director of a conspiracy of clowns Liezl co-produced and performed in Crazy in Love, which won best international production at the Amsterdam Fringe Festival in 2014. After completing her Master of Arts in Drama cum laude at Rhodes University Liezl’s master’s production, Piet se Optelgoed, won a Standard Bank Silver Ovation Award at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival in 2014 and performed at the Amsterdam Fringe Festival in 2015
RUDI STEYN (Honours, Johannesburg)
After receiving his Honours degree in directing and screenwriting at ADFA Johannesburg, Rudi spent three years writing screenplays while freelancing on music videos and feature film sets. His debut feature film as director and screenwriter is the AFDA MFA Production, Lyfstraf (Corporal Punishment), completed in 2012. Rudi's passion is to contribute to a local film culture and industry that appreciates the idea that art and entertainment are not mutually exclusive; that a film can be sophisticated yet still resonate with a broad audience.
MAURITZ GRUNDLINGH (Honours, Cape Town)
Mauritz holds a B.A degree in Dramatic Arts, and a Teacher's diploma, (University of Stellenbosch). Further studies saw him complete a B.A. Degree and Honours at the AFDA Cape Town Campus in 2007, producing best 24min films 'Uhambo' and 'AMPT'. Thereafter he gained experience in commercial, stills and independent film production management. He has returned to pursue his passion in teaching emerging filmmakers to reach their full potential.
STEPHANIE ESTERHUIZEN (Honours, Cape Town)
AFDA Head of Department for Production Design Stephanie Esterhuizen, started her career in fashion design and still photography shoots: however, the contacts she had in fashion pulled her towards filmmaking, Graduating from AFDA in 2007 she began lecturing at AFDA Johannesburg in Costume, Make up and Styling, but this did not stop her from continuing her work within the industry. She was part of the crew of South Africa’s first slasher horror film The Unforgiving (2010) and since then she has been working in the industry for television shows and corporate clients like All Access, Eskom, Parliament of South Africa and a Production for Mzanzi Magic. She is currently reading for her Masters of Arts to further her studies. She holds an Honours degree in Economic Management.
SHMERAH PASSCHIER (Honours, AFDA Johannesburg)
Shmerah’s love affair with AFDA began in 1994, an epic year for democracy and dreamers alike, when she landed on Rocky Street in Yeoville, fresh from PE in the Eastern Cape with nothing but a suitcase and stars in her eyes. 21 years later, after writing, directing, producing, editing and operating cameras all over the African continent, Shmerah teaches Film Theory & Analysis, Nollywood & Nigerian Cinema, Writing for Television, including Reality TV & Telenovela, Digital Cinematography, Post-Production for Television, Production Design, Broadcast Design, Ethnography in Film & Television Research. She is currently undertaking a PhD at Reel Edge Film Academy.
Ernest Nkosi – AFDA Johannesburg MFA
Ernest Nkosi has a strong back ground in business and marketing, having studied in the U.S.A during his formative years. Ernest has worked alongside some of the industry’s world leaders such as Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman. Driven by passion, underpinned by a strong work ethic, Nkosi is dedicated to telling true African stories. It is his belief that our country and continent have a suppressed voice, which can only be liberated through motion picture medium. Nkosi’s AFDA master thesis film, Thina Sobabili, was selected as the South African nomination for the Oscars 2015. “I feel very honoured to have my AFDA masters’ thesis film screened on the AFDA campuses before it gets released nationwide –at a cinema near you!” says Ernest. “The circle is now complete and the ball is rolling.” Thina Sobabili also won the Audience Choice award at Pan African Film Festival 2015 in LA then we won the Audience Choice Award at the Jozi Film festival 2015 seven days later.
Richard Finn Gregory, AFDA Cape Town MFA alumni
AFDA Cape Town MFA alumni, Richard Finn Gregory, is an award-winning documentary director and cinematographer, based in Cape Town, South Africa. He started in film in 2000 through writing scripts and worked as a stuntman in the booming fiction film industry. He went on to live in Tokyo for a number of years, where he began directing music videos. Upon returning to South Africa and seeing the changes the country was going through, he felt compelled to refocus on documentary filmmaking. Much of his work has focused on social and environmental issues in the developing world which led to working on projects in Asia, Africa, South America and Europe while shooting Nobel prize winners, heads of state, and ordinary people leading extraordinary lives. He was the last person to film Nelson Mandela in a private setting as part of the 21 Icons project. He was the director, writer and cinematographer of the award winning documentary “The Boers at the End of the World” (2015), the short documentary, “The Boers of Patagonia”(2014), the documentary “Crumbs: Toppling the Bread Cartel” (2014) (which was his AFDA Masters thesis film) and the short “The Decisive Moment” (2013).
Michaela Moriano (Hawaii) - 2nd year Costume Makeup and Styling and VFX Student in the Undergraduate BA Motion Picture Degree Michaela came to South Africa because her father moved to one of South Africa’s surfing meccas – Jeffries Bay. She loves South Africa’s great multi-cultural mix and weird but cool culture in the Cape.
Jack Buckmaster (New Zealand) - 2nd year Directing & Screenwriting student in the Undergraduate BA Motion Picture Degree Jack chose AFDA because of its hands on approach to training its graduates. He loves the local nature, scenery and the diversity of people in South Africa.