Thando Thabethe. Picture: Instagram
Thando Thabethe. Picture: Instagram

WATCH: Thando Thabethe talks about cinematography with Gaopie Kabe

By Entertainment Reporter Time of article published Oct 21, 2020

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Thando Thabethe’s new YouTube channel, which was created over a month ago, aims to educate young people who are in entertainment about the current state of the industry.

In the latest video, episode 10, Thabethe sat down virtually to interview one of the country's only female cinematographers and DoP (Director of Photography) Gaopie Kabe.

Kabe, an award-winning cinematographer, is responsible for camera and lighting on shows like “Lockdown”, “The River”, “The Hustle”, “Thula’s Vine” and “Valedictory” - whose release was postponed due to Covid- 19.

During the interview, Thabethe and Kabe talked about what cinematography is, how to become a DoP and some of the challenges faced by female DoPs in the industry.

Kabe explained that a cinematographer is a person who is in charge of the camera and lighting department and told her story of how she entered this career.

“In Grade 11 we had a school trip to the “Phat Joe Show”. I just saw all these cameras, lights and busy people, like makeup people and floor managers. And I thought, ’what is this world?’.

“That’s when a new door opened and the journey started”, said Kabe.

Further, into the conversation, they talked about people referring to Kabe as “a female DoP” instead of just a DoP.

In her response, she said: “For a very long time I was opposed to it. I didn’t like it. And every time someone would say that I would correct them until a fellow filmmaker said to me that ’it is just that’.

“There aren't a lot of female cinematographers in the world and in SA I am one of very few and of colour.

“I could either be called a cinematographer and camouflage with the boys or I could make myself visible,” said Kabe.

She also spoke of challenges being a black female cinematographer on set.

“There are a lot of challenges, but I think because people know me and know that I worked my way up - there has been a lot of respect.

“The challenges are when someone does not know you, your history and where you come from and then they will disrespect you because of gender, and that’s what a lot of men do,” she said.

Her advice to aspiring cinematographers is to do as much research as possible.

“Back when I started we didn’t have the internet. So the first thing would be to find out what a cinematographer does.

“Then, if you do have funds, go to school and get the theory side of it and lastly training and interning is the best way to learn. That is how I came up,” she said.

Watch the full interview here:

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