The Makhanda Film Festival is a new Eastern Cape initiative focusing on film and film makers.  This years programme is themed “Once upon a Time” and serves as a platform of sharing documentaries, films and workshops, and aims to build a community of cinephiles and film makers.  The collective behind the festival seeks to facilitate skills sharing.  This inaugural year, they have arranged various master classes for those interested in the film medium film, to explore and learn and share.  The collective has a special focus this year on “Ukuza kukaNxele” (the return), the life of the Xhosa indigenous Prophet Makhanda, who was also known as Nxele ,a warrior, philosopher, war doctor and served as a commander of chief Ndlambe’s son, Mdushana who fought against British colonial advances.

The Festival programme includes a series of Masterclasses and panel discussions if you would like to register or see further details please visit this link

i am thandiwe

Our roots tell us who we are meant to be, our routes in life show us where we have been and who we are. In this personal self-reflective documentary Thandiwe Wiltshire shares her life with us. Not only as a black child raised by white parents, but as a young woman who makes us introspect on ‘what is Black’, and Blackness in relation to her family dynamics. Adopted at the age of three months, all she has known is the life created for her by the Wiltshire family; but with an identity entirely her own and one which she fought hard to create.


dear friend

Writing a letter is a unique kind of intimacy. It takes care, time and thought. ‘dear friend’ is a film that draws from the contemplative patience of letter writing to share the story, of many women, rarely told. The letter greets the viewer with an abrupt and fierce jerk into the memories of the two survivors of intimate partner violence. You are invited into the intimate psychology of two women and into the fragmented, visceral, dark and shadowed reality of intimate partner violence in same-sex relationships. The film leaves no room for “women cannot be violent”, nor for ignoring the very real truth of the survivors. ‘dear friend’ demands you to admit to yourself all the things you may have chosen to be blind to and to see past the darkness and the shadowed veil of silence shrouding this issue. It casts light and commands: even if you choose not to see, you will hear these stories.


ecwecweni – free but not equal

Some children are still more equal than others even after 25 years since the end of apartheid. Over the years the Eastern Cape has seen low numbers of matric passes and question why this happens. As a province with a high level of poverty and underdevelopment it is no surprise that rural schools are affected. This film aims to bring light to the struggles faced by rural schools and the role government should be playing.


clone made cars

This is an investigative documentary on the car theft syndicate of both clone and made cars in Johannesburg and globally. We establishes how the crime operates and find the various role players. The documentary emphases the fact that this car theft crime trend must be exposed and stopped, as it is fuelled by underhand law enforcement officials through corruption.


baxu and the giants

A story of how Rhino Poaching triggers social change in rural Namibia, seen through the eyes of a 9 year old girl.


frozen time

Frozen Time tells the story of four housemates; Jody (Faheen Khan) who, having inherited a house from his late political activist uncle, decides to create his own “rainbow nation” by turning the house into a commune and his rather damaged housemates who include Tashenka (Teresa Luboya-Muanza), a prostitute on drugs, Samir (Katleho Sinivasan), a borderline con-artist who preys on other people and Vusi (Richard Mayes), a man with a dark secret. When Jody mysteriously dies, the four who are left alive (including Tintswalo, Samir’s estranged girlfriend who has come to visit) decide on a self-imposed quarantine until the next morning as they try to deal with Jody’s sudden and unexpected death and figure out what caused it. During this period, the characters unravel to give us a glimpse of who they are and we see how catastrophe can reveal the true nature of human beings.


the last victims

A former member of South Africa’s infamous death squad must atone for his past when he helps one survivor search for the bodies of a missing anti-apartheid cell. Unaware that as they hunt for answers, they too are being hunted.


lomhlaba ungowethu! – this is our land!

We explore a successful black-owned farm in Kwazulu Natal. The community project operates under the Eyethu Trust after land was redistributed to the people of eMabomvini near Kranskop. The farmers talk of their history, their sugar cane and timber production and the real issues of land expropriation without compensation. With land expropriation without compensation and the questions around sustainability this documentary is an provocative example of a successfully black-owned community farm that might answer some questions.



After leaving her Pondoland village 11 years ago, Zimkhita Kweza revisits her past and questions a cultural practice that has shaped her identity. She is now a feminist with new ideologies and questions about the isiXhosa practice of virginity testing. On a journey seeking for answers she meets different people and leaders in the community who face her provocative questions.