This is a result of the call by Mandela to make his birthday, July 18, a day for giving back and improving the world in whatever way they can. But after “liking” that picture of your favourite celebrity posing with a baby at an orphanage, or dishing up soup for streets kids for a day, do you believe they’ve truly made a difference?
Film star and movie producer Terry Pheto says people in the entertainment industry need to ask themselves how they can give back through their craft. Then, improving people’s lives would not be reserved for one day of the year.
Pheto has partnered with Thobeka Madiba Zuma in an initiative called Films for Change. In founding the Thobeka Madiba Zuma Foundation, which increases awareness of breast and cervical cancer, Madiba Zuma was looking for a way to get the black community talking about cancer. Pheto suggested films could play a role.
“Through Films For Change, I will produce a series of short films telling people’s stories about cancer. As black people, we don’t really talk about cancer. We still see it as a disease that somehow doesn’t affect us. We speak about HIV and Aids all the time, but nobody is saying anything about cancer, yet so many black people suffer and die because of it. Hopefully, the films will change this.”
Pheto will spend Mandela Day at the Durban International Film Festival where her latest film, Ayanda, is being screened. She will host a panel discussion which aims to answer the question: how can the film industry give back to the community. Madiba Zuma will be the guest of honour and will talk about the role of women in South African films over the past 20 years.
“I’ve always admired Thobeka’s commitment to the good work she does. She truly inspires me,” said Pheto.
But Pheto won’t be missing out on spreading the positive spirit of Mandela Day. She’s invited 27 children from Save The Children South Africa to spend the day with her at the film festival, where the children’s version of Long Walk to Freedom will be read.
“One of my favourite childhood memories is when my grandmother would gather me and all my cousins and tell us stories,” she said. “This is where my love for African storytelling was born.
“So, on Mandela Day, I will be sharing the tradition of storytelling with children. “There are so many things we can do to inspire and improve the lives of people around us.
“We just need to do what we can with what we have.”