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Investing in African talent pays off

Chimwemwe Chipidza

A strategy to invest in skills development through the MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF) is yielding exciting results for MultiChoice, as  MTF graduates enter the industry.

Ongoing long-term investment by MultiChoice in developing talent for the content, production, and entertainment industry is having an impact across the African film and television industry – and helping to grow Africa’s creative industries into vibrant, economic hubs.

This investment – the MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF) – is a shared-value initiative that provides a platform for the creative industries to develop talent and build partnerships.

The MTF initiative takes a multi-tiered approach across three platforms – the MTF Portal, MTF Industry Masterclasses and the MTF Academies. There are MTF Academies in Kenya (for East Africa), Nigeria (for West Africa) and Zambia (for Southern Africa), run in partnership with respected local academic Universities.

The academies offer an accredited 12-month immersion programme including both theory and hands-on experience in film production and each year, 60 African students get the chance to hone their skills alongside industry greats.

“In 2018, we committed ourselves to building the skills base in the TV industry through the MultiChoice Talent Factory,” says MTF Director for Africa Nwabisa Matyumza. “Now, after four years of operation, we are seeing our graduates enter the economy – which is having a multiplier effect on the development of our sector across the continent.”

In  Southern Africa, the biggest impact MTF has made to date has been in the area of technical capacity.

“With the advent of MTF, the pool of well-trained individuals has increased allowing production companies to have a wider selection,” says MTF Southern Region Director Chris Puta.

“In the process, these media platforms are able to save money and time that they would otherwise have spent on training their own media workers.”

Puta says the MTF Academy in Zambia is contributing towards the development of the local industry to where it can compete with more established film and television regions across the continent.

“I realised MTF was making a powerful impact in our region after we submitted our student short films for the AMVCA awards this year. Pitted against East and West Africa, our film Nyau got a great response from an audience of industry professionals.”

Ultimately, though, the proof of the pudding is in how MTF graduates are able to impact the sector. In this regard, MTF alumni now occupy significant industry roles across the continent.

MTF graduates are working as directors, producers, sound designers, camera operators, art directors and editors on major African productions including SalemTemptedEngaitoMvamiziMum vs WifeMakofi and County 49.

Other alumni are working further afield on productions by French (Film Plug), German (DW Akademie) and Polish organisations. Some are furthering their studies at institutions like the New York Film Academy (NYFA), or as part of the Mandela Washington fellowship programme.

Many MTF graduates have become entrepreneurs, establishing production companies that employ other young people, contributing to the economic success in their countries. developing shows and providing screenwriting services in Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Mozambique.

In 2020, Savannah Skies, a film directed and produced by 2 of Zimbabwe’s MultiChoice Talent Factory Alumni, Nobert Mapfoche and Rutendo Mahofa was also nominated for the prestigious  Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards. Figure It Out, a film produced by yet another Zimbabwean alumni, Bulawayo-based, Nkosilesisa Ncube debuted on the DStv video on demand service, Showmax after she graduated.

“We are proud of the Zimbabwean students’ well-deserved achievements as well as their contribution to the local arts industry’’ says Liz Dziva Publicity and Public Relations Manager for MultiChoice Zimbabwe.

“Two local students, Chimwemwe Chipidza and Yvonne Feresu will be completing their year-long studies this October at the MTF Academy in Lusaka thus ensuring that Zimbabwe continues to benefit from the MTF initiative,” she said.

Yvonne Feresu

The next generation of African creatives is helping to shape the future of the film  industry and MTF is playing a key role in this development. It’s an investment that will pay off in decades to come, in the form of quality African content and entertainment.

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende