Londeka Mazibuko was an Integrity Icon Film Fellow for 2019 and is an aspiring film producer. She has previously worked on the set of Uzalo and most recently directored SWIFT’s national campaign on sexual harassment. She tells us more about her personal film project, “I am Human too” which she completed as part of her film fellowship with Accountability Lab.

  1. “I am Human too” is a film about child abandonment in South Africa. Why was this an important film to make?

Children need deliberate and special protection. They are among the most vulnerable members of society and deserve a chance at life like everyone else. The South African Childrens’ Amendment Act sets guidelines for the provision of care, advocates for early childhood development and highlights national norms and standards for children who are abandoned.This was an important film for me to make given the rising number of children who are abandoned in the country. What we’re not having a conversation about are the reasons why this happens.The rising levels of inequality, the worrying figures on our household earning index, the drivers of teenage pregnancy and pressures teen moms face from their peers and communities. As a country we need to start talking about this on a deeper level. I am hoping my film inspires this conversation. We need to give action to what Whitney Houston sang: “I believe that children are our future, treat them well and  let them lead the way.” 

  1. The film does not make use of human subjects to convey its message, tell us more.

I used a teddy bear to express the feelings and experiences of not being cared for; it is also something most of us can relate back in resembling our childhood. It brings a sense of vulnerability. I wanted the viewer to understand how society continues to fail our children, and so the environments in which I chose to shoot the film were also an important visual element in this piece. 

  1. Was it hard to make a short film on a phone? Tell us about the experience.

It was relatively easy to use a phone for this short film. Large filming equipment can often draw a lot of unwanted attention. Using a small compact mobile film kit allowed me to focus my efforts on getting the shots I needed to tell the story. The editing took up most of my time, however I was pleased with the end product. 

  1. What would you like the audience to take away from this piece?

The film aims to reduce stigma and judgment for people who are unable to take care of young children. It is heartbreaking for a child to be thrown away like garbage or left to wander alone around the city, but the stigma and judgement won’t stop this from happening. I hope to share this visual project as a first step in having a conversation on why child abandonment happens. Hopefully, it can start the process assisting communities and working to raise awareness of the support systems that exist. 

I hope after the audience has watched the film, it leads to the elevation of the issue of child neglect and that it is taken seriously and that communities are encouraged to get more involved. 

The Integrity Icon film fellowship is a three-month learning opportunity for young people to develop skills in filmmaking and broaden their understanding on integrity and accountability. Fellows support the effective delivery of our Integrity Icon South Africa short films by working in both production and post-production roles. The fellowship specifically recruits young people who have a passion for film and are interested in shifting and challenging narratives.