Pretoria - Filmmaker Kenny D Mdluli, who was born in Pretoria, has landed a directing opportunity on the SABC 2 documentary series, Mother of all Professions.
The series, MOP as it is widely known, has been around for more than 10 years.
Mdluli joined in season 8. It airs every Sunday at 3pm and there are only seven episodes left for the year.
The show profiles exceptional teachers across the country.
“We all know them; we have all been touched by one or two in our schooling years and beyond. So I’ve always wanted to work with this team as a filmmaker, but I never thought I’d end up being one of the directors.
“I first joined the team as a drone operator, then I was called to become one of the camera operators under the guidance of Bulelani Busakwe, a man with years of experience in the field, which made this a huge learning curve for me,” he said.
“I discovered that the executive producer, Keutlwang Reid, was watching me when I was given the opportunity to direct some episodes. I felt very fortunate, especially because at some point it was tiring, emotionally. We had to listen to different stories about the struggles the teachers go through just to bring education to class and help the learners beyond that point.”
“The challenges faced by learners range from drug and alcohol abuse, to poverty, lack of parental guidance and other societal issues. Some interesting moments came from teachers who spoke about the importance of early childhood development as the most critical stage in every child’s life.
“In some cases we interviewed teachers and parents of children who have learning difficulties. It was at this point that I went home feeling sombre and heartbroken, touched and compelled to make a difference where possible.
“Eventually I made a commitment to create a project where I share my filmmaking skills with the young kids in Winterveld, where I grew up. I hope this will keep a few young people safe and away from the streets, while doing something productive with their lives.
Mdluli studied towards a diploma in information technology in 2010. This helped him to get a job at a bank, in the payment distribution department, for debt counsellors.
He used those years to buy film equipment and keep the filmmaking dream alive. He went on to supply Mzansi Magic with feature films in that period.
Born in Winterveld to a pastor, Mdluli is one of five children.
He has shot four feature films so far. His first was titled Snakes and Ladders, produced in 2014 for Mzansi Magic.
Another, Stuck – Soutpan Road, won an award for the best screenplay at the African Emerging Filmmakers Awards in 2018.
In 2019 he produced another documentary about Khwezi, a young entrepreneur who was in a car accident, fought for his life and is now in a wheelchair, yet still chasing his dream.
Mdluli’s advice to others wanting to venture into the film industry is: “Take a phone, an old camera, or any other tool and start shooting. Just start and learn through experience.”