Bulelani and team members

Even though Khayelitsha entrepreneur, Bulelani Mvotho (39), endured a number of set-backs he persevered and today Snapshot Mobile Cinema is celebrating its 10th year with a sponsorship from the MTV Staying Alive Foundation based in London.


Bulelani’s roving cinema offers the community in Khayelitsha access to movies whilst supporting the local South African film industry in showcasing their work. He himself has been part of a number of local TV and movie productions, working as part of the crew for independent filmmakers and companies and he also spent some years as a video mentor for Livity SA magazine.


“There are so many people in the township who simply cannot afford going to the movies so we have teamed up with local filmmakers to showcase their films, especially those screening HIV content to increase the level of awareness.


“I have always had a love for films but in the township where I grew up, as in most, there were no cinemas. Cinemas are located in affluent areas, transport to get there is an issue and tickets are expensive. This inhibits many to consider cinema as a form of entertainment but also as education since many of the films focus on pertinent issues that affect our daily lives.”

With the support from the sponsored Small Business Academy (SBA) offered by the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB), Bulelani will now be able to turn his business into a sustainable enterprise.


“The SBA programme has challenged me to go back to the drawing board by understanding my offering, pricing, marketing and how to engage with my target audience. Funding has always been one of my major challenges but with the networking opportunities offered by the programme I hope to strengthen my contacts with the film industry and engage with big brands for partnership opportunities.”


The SBA programme with major sponsors ABSA and the Distell Foundation empowers small business owners in low-income communities with business education and mentorship.


Snapshot Mobile Cinema negotiates with local filmmakers for permission and then screens the movies in public venues such as community and youth centers, church and school halls. Tickets are priced at R20 per person however Bulelani is always on the look-out for sponsorships to offer the movies free of charge. 


“My vision is to offer Snapshot nationally especially to rural and farming communities where the closest cinema would be hundreds of kilometers away. My dream is to partner with major cinema houses in offering movies free of charge and eliminating the barriers to accessing movies. I want to inspire young people to be story-tellers where we no longer rely on foreign producers to tell our stories but ourselves to be the narrators.”