After school yesterday, the 947 Breakfast Club - along with film stars, Connie Chiume and Dr John Kani - gave a lesson on representation.
“This is the proudest moment in my life as an actor,” started Dr John Kani.
Dr John Kani. Picture: Sitombe
The legendary actor was speaking to a cinema full of grade 10 learners from Itirele Zenzele Combined School in Diepsloot. They cheered on as he spoke.
He said he was proud “to be able to bring my work to young people who would otherwise never have the opportunity even to leave the classroom, to leave the township, to come and see work of this calbre, of this quality.”
Dr Joni Kani, Anele Mdoda and Connie Chiume with some of the lucky learners. Picture: Sitombe
As he spoke, Anele Mdoda pumped her fist in the air with excitement and everyone who stood beside Dr Kani was all smiles. They, along with 300 learners, were inside a Montecasino cinema to watch Black Panther. The Hollywood blockbuster superhero movie stars our very own Dr Kani as well as the legendary Chiume.
It was while promoting the film on the 947 Breakfast Club - which is hosted by Mdoda with a team that includes Frankie du Toit, Thembekile Mtororo, Alex Caige and Cindy Poluta - that the idea to screen Black Panther to kids from underserved communities came about.
Mdoda told us: “Mam’ Connie said around the world they’re doing this thing and they were shooting videos saying: ‘hey, it’s Mam’Connie from Wakanda, so glad that you can watch this…’ to be played before the movie plays for underprivileged kids in Las Vegas. And she was like: ‘I sat and I was like: oh, my word! I’m out here recording this for kids in America, what about our kids?’”
“As soon as she said that, we just thought: let’s make it happen,” Mdoda continued. “We’ve got the listeners who are very passionate about Johannesburg, we have listeners who have the means, let’s see how far we can take it. And it went as far as 8700 kids being funded to watch it.”
The 947 Breakfast Club team each donated R5000 of their own money and the listeners as well as companies such as FNB, Nando’s, Wimpy and others financially came on board.
Connie Chiume. Picture: Sitombe
The idea is to allow as many children from underserved communities in the greater Johannesburg the chance to see themselves reflected on the big screen as heroes and positive role models.
“When you think of charity, people are always having food drives or getting anitary towels - things that are necessary, yes,” said Mdoda. “It’s not necessary to watch a movie. But….”
Then du Toit finished her sentence: “But you’re going to be inspired.”
She continued: “We’re planting seeds for people to dream big. For people to see themselves on the big screen and say: ‘you know what, this is where I am but it’s not where I am going to end up.’”