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Jafta Mamabolo chats working with Mary Twala and African storytelling

28 June 2021 - 08:00 By deepika naidoo
The former 'Generations' actor has opened up about his latest venture with Ten10 productions and about directing 'Freedom'.
The former 'Generations' actor has opened up about his latest venture with Ten10 productions and about directing 'Freedom'.
Image: Instagram/Jafta Mamabolo

Actor Jafta Mamabolo is beaming with joy after the release of his film Freedom, and has opened up about his concerns for the youth of SA, working with the late actress Mary Twala and taking Africa to the world.

The actor chatted to TshisaLIVE about his directorial debut film Freedom, following the story of a student struggling to get by, eventually becoming entangled with a loan shark.

Jafta said the story was partially inspired by his own experiences as a student.

“The initial concern was probably sparked in 2006. I was a first-year student at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT). When I enrolled at TUT, I was sent to the Garankuwa campus and experienced something I had never experienced for the first time in my life, which was a protest for fees and for financial exclusion. I was quite surprised that kids who were on students loans and kids who had come from underprivileged backgrounds were basically being told they could not study because they  had no money.”

Speaking about the #FeesMustFall movement that been ongoing in Mzansi, the star believes the situation shouldn’t have escalated to the point where protest was necessary.

The former Generations actor also lambasted leadership for not passing the baton to the youth.

“I don’t think it should have got to a point where to protests were necessary. I am still of the thought that #FeesMustFall was never supposed to be necessary. I am not particularly happy with the way the situation has been handled because we can’t constantly harp on about how the youth are the future but at the same time make it very difficult to obtain that future,” Jafta said.

The film was shot over several months in 2017 and featured actors Mandla Gaduka, Kenneth Nkosi and Mary Twala. Speaking about working with the legendary thespian, the star only had kind words about her and spoke fondly about her humility.

“It was incredible. She was so much fun to work with, especially because she was so overprotective of me. I was kind of a big deal because it was my set. But when she was around no one messed with me at all. She was always overprotective of me, always had something kind to say about me.

“For someone to come onto set every day without all the happenings of a celebrity, fame and ego despite her being a legend, it was very humbling. It reminds you that you never have to take yourself so seriously. You are never bigger than the story,” he said.

The star has soared to international heights after being appointed as the head of development at the London-SA venture Ten10 Entertainment (formerly Ten10 Films). In his new role, the star hopes to change the way African stories are told to the globe, saying it is monumental to have Africans tells their own stories.

“I want us to tell our stories the way we have always wanted to tell our stories. I get bored, honestly, that Africa stories are shown through a Western lens. Even in those stories, where the connotations are kinda good, it is cool but is still through their eye of how they see us, 

“It is about time we were afforded our own voices and have the chance to tell the stories the way we want to tell them. For far too long people have dictated what Africa is to Africans.”