“BARAKAT” is South Africa’s Official Selection for the 94th Annual Academy Awards

The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) is pleased to announce that the first South African Muslim film shot in Afrikaans, (actually AfriKaapsBarakat, has been selected as South Africa’s official submission for the 94th Annual Academy Awards.

Directed by Amy Jephta and produced by Ephraim Gordon, co-founders of production companies PaperJet Films and Nagvlug Films, Barakat was released in cinemas in early 2021. The screenplay is by writing-producing team Amy Jephta and Ephraim Gordon who made their debut at South Africa’s 2017 kykNET Silwerskerm Festival with their short film Soldaat (Soldier), for which they won Best Screenplay and Best Short. 

Barakat Official Trailer

Jephta, a celebrated theatre practitioner, director and writer, also scripted South Africa’s official 2018 Golden Globes submission for Foreign Film, Ellen: The Story of Ellen Pakkies. In 2019, she was awarded the Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year Award for theatre. Actor and director Gordon starred in Nosipho Dumisa’s critically acclaimed 2018 debut, Number 37, which premiered at South by Southwest (SXSW).

“I am so proud that this film has reached as many people as it has, and to be recognised by South Africa in this way is incredibly special,” said director Amy Jephta.  “Even after an extremely challenging year for our film industry, we’re honoured that a small story about a family has connected us.”

Producer Ephraim Gordon added: “This was totally unexpected, but it shows that everyone’s hard work on this project has paid off. This film was a blessing from the beginning and continues to be.  It is our barakat.”

‘Barakat’ is an Arabic word denoting blessings, abundance and prosperity. The film follows the trials and tribulations of Aisha Davids (played by veteran acress Vinette Ebrahim), a widow who has to preserve the peace between four sons struggling to come to terms with the death of their father two years after the fact. Her sons, Zunaid (Joey Rasdien), Zaid (Mortimer Williams), Yaseen (Keeno Lee Hector) and Nur (Danny Ross) return to their family home to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr (or Labarang, as it’s called in Cape Town), the celebration marking the end of the month-long dawn-to-sunset fasting of Ramadan. They’ve never dealt with their father’s death or the void his passing has left. Each son’s unprocessed pain manifests in constant familial conflict, saddening their mother as she tries to move on with her own life.

The 94th Oscars® will be held on Sunday, the 27th March 2022.

Barakat was developed in partnership with MNET and funded in association with the NFVF, the DTIC, IDC as well as Indigenous Film Distribution, the South African distributor of the film.

Halls gives creativity a space to breathe

A true artist doesn’t just create art: they breathe their passion into their work and give it a life of its own. Now, Halls is creating a place where artists can breathe for their craft.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, people turned to the things that they cared about most for comfort in the face of uncertainty – passions like food, music and art. Now, in a world that’s slowly returning to normal, people are looking to brands with the question, “What are you passionate about?” Halls – South Africa’s #1 boiled candy – exists to help people breathe better so that they can focus on the things that really matter. That’s why Halls is founding The Breathing Space: a dedicated hub in the centre of Johannesburg where up-and-coming artists and designers can breathe for their craft and bring their flavour to life in the freshest ways, under the guidance and mentorship of Mzansi’s creative queen, Karabo Poppy.

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Trace Academia Launches Free Online Vocational Training Platform in South Africa


Trace, in the presence of the honourable French Minister Elisabeth Moreno and South African partners, has formally announced the inauguration of Trace Academia in South Africa, and the signing of a protocol of cooperation between Trace, Senghor University in Egypt, and Agence Française de Développement (AFD), to create a training programme to develop and support the professionalization of the creative and cultural sector in Africa.
 
Elisabeth Moreno, the Minister for Gender Equality, Diversity and Equal Opportunities together with the Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Trace, Olivier Laouchez and Trace Academia Co-MD, Prejlin Naidoo, launched the company’s latest youth empowerment programme.

Trace Academia is a free online vocational training platform built for young South Africans looking to build their skills to find or create jobs. Created in response to the high rate of youth unemployment in South Africa and the continent, Trace Academia will focus on empowerment through educating and training young people.
 
More than 50% of Africa’s population is under 25 years old. The youth are struggling with the effects of a longstanding economic and psychological crisis. The reach of the global pandemic has further accelerated the need for new approaches to education.
 
Trace Academia courses are created in collaboration with leading companies, institutions and experts to ensure that the skills provided are well matched to market needs. A localised, interactive and entertaining course format keeps the learner’s attention and significantly improves course completion rate.

Trace Academia will primarily target young South Africans in its inaugural year. The platform will launch with several locally produced training courses including Get Started with Digital Marketing (Grow with Google), How to Become a DJ (Trace), Spark your Interest in Electricity (Schneider Electric), Become a Successful Entrepreneur (Valued Citizens & UJ), Become a Real Handyman (Leroy Merlin) and Own Your Situation (Durex). Trace Academia will take the learner through the journey towards skill acquisition.

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New Reality TV Series in search of the Coolest OG in the Land

SABC2 recently partnered with Rebelintown Productions, for an upcoming new, first of its kind, reality series, THE COOLEST OG’S, which will give 12 South African senior citizens a chance to compete for a R100 000 cash prize and the title of The Coolest OG.

THE COOLEST OG’s starts on Sunday, 6th June 2021 at 18:30 on SABC 2.

An OG is someone who is incredibly exceptional, authentic and excellent in a classic way. Someone who is an expert in many facets of life and someone who has been around for a long time.

Featuring contestants from all walks of life, the series was shot across the country over 50 days and 50 nights, during the height of the global pandemic as the show captured the lives of 12 senior citizens from the ages of 60 to 80, confined in the safety of their own homes and exposed to fun and unusual challenges, ultimately on a quest to find THE COOLEST OG of them all.

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Zeitz MOCAA WOZA at home online event

Join Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) online on 8 August from 6 p.m. (GMT+2) for WOZA at home, an evening of style, beautiful food, and art-making.

This virtual event picks up from the museum’s pre-lockdown WOZA Friday sessions when it would stay open late. There would be live music, art sessions on the rooftop, and museum scavenger hunts.

Now that it’s going online, they’re kicking up the lineup.

This month is all about style. The evening will include three virtual rooms: MOCAA Insights will feature conversations about fashion, MOCAA Making where attendees will be guided through art and food making, and MOCAA Vibes showcasing a musician and DJ.

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