Wendy Gumede is a 24-year-old filmmaker from Kwa Zulu Natal. She earned a degree in Film and Television Studies at the University of Cape Town and an honors in Screenwriting. As a woman in media, Gumede is no stranger to sexism.
“As a woman, it’s easy for you to be on the other side of the camera. You’re expected to be pretty, thin, look a certain way, speak a certain way. For an aspiring director and producer, there’s this misconception that only men are in business.”
In fact, on a number of occasions, individuals have approached her wondering if she is the presenter rather than the director. What is even more difficult is working with men who are unwilling to see a woman in such a position of authority. For Gumede, the key to overcoming such challenges is perseverance.
“I believe I’m made for this, and some people beg to differ because I’m not a man,” Gumede said, “It’s something that really does not phase me now. I take ownership when I’m on set.”
Not only is Gumede shattering stereotypes on the set, but she is also working on a huge project for the continent of Africa. Founder and creative director for an upcoming website, HowAfricansLive.Com, she aspires to remove the notions that mainstream media has produced about African people.
“There is too much shared content,” she said, “focused on how Africans die and not how Africans live. So I created a site to explore our stories and share our stories – our authentic stories – about how Africans do life on the continent.”
The website will include documentaries, articles, restaurant and book reviews, as well as interviews with everyday people.
“I think it is something that the country and the continent need right now: just good, solid representation of the fact that Africans actually thrive, instead of the whole idea that Africans are constantly suffering,” Gumede said.
Gumede plans to utilize the platform as a medium to shape perceptions about Africa, and simultaneously, about womanhood. By sharing the stories of women enhancing the narrative of a self-sufficient Africa, she intends to focus on the representation and misrepresentation of women on the continent.
“As a female founder, I’m in a position that is really important in how I represent not only women, but also black women, on the continent,” Gumede said, “My site is committed to flipping the narrative of women being frail, women being weak, and women being in need of your assistance as men.”
Gumede is eager to capture diverse stories of women from all walks of life and with distinct personal missions in mind.
“Womanhood is being an individual and understanding that you don’t have to fall into ‘what women do’ boxes. You don’t fall into ‘this is how a woman should feel’ boxes. And I think you’re a person before you are a woman. To me, being a woman means being true to myself.”
For Gumede, womanhood is taking personal ownership of who you are. With a future in filmmaking and as the creator of HowAfricansLive.Com, Gumede leads a life as the truest version of herself.
In partnership with the City of Cape Town, MOSAIC will be hosting an event in support of the Pink Drive, honouring those who have passed on or are living with Breast Cancer.
Despite the pouring rain, 140 people ventured out to view "Precious" and "Africa is a Women's Name." These two feature films were hosted by MOSAIC and the Social Justice Coalition. Again, the viewings sparked great discussions from young and old with heightened emotions.
All was not serious over the two days though, new friends were made, couples participated, a healthy mix of young and previously young, laughing and cheerful conversations over popcorn and hot chocolate and vibrant music during breaks had the crowd moving their hips to keep warm.
We were reminded, through all the social ills and difficulties that the feature films portrayed, we have many talents, a country that is rich and work that needs to be done to move from where we are to where we wold like to be.
Khayelitsha Film Festival Day One. The screening of and discussions on both "Where do I stand" and "Into the light" facilitated by Equal Education and Treatment Action Campaign went well. A big thank you to the MOSAIC team for sacrificing their Youth Day long weekend to ensure MOSAIC's participation in this event and a special thank you to the 160 people who attended and made today a success. We look forward to "Precious" being screened tomorrow with discussion being facilitated by MOSAIC.
Today MOSAIC, in partnership with Sonke Gender Justice and the Department of Health, put on a Fathers' Day celebration at eMichael Mapongwana Health Care facility in Khayelitsha. The event's theme was "fathers sharing ideas in caring for children," and the event generated constructive dialogue amongst the men present. The event was held in eMichael's Maternity Ward, which was an appropriate reminder of the importance of fatherhood from the very beginning and birth.
Representatives from MOSAIC, Sonke and Department of Health shared about their services and programmes, wiCth an emphasis on those tailored to men. They unveiled a large Menare+ poster that had been newly added to eMichael's walls encouraging men to be active and present fathers. The event continued with the premiere of a MenCare short film, documenting the resolution of a young man from Khayelitsha to support his pregnant partner. Speakers encouraged the men present to not say that their partner is pregnant, but instead "we are pregnant."
After the speakers and the film there was a dialogue where men from the audience spoke about their own experiences and struggles with fatherhood, and emotional pain from past experiences with their own fathers. MC Leo Mbobi specifically asked them to reflect on how they felt about it, as South African men often struggle to express emotions.
The event ended with everyone in the room singing the national anthem, the distribution of MenCare+ goodie bags, and a light lunch. Said one man about the event, "I feel encouraged. I feel inspired." MOSAIC hopes that that attitude was shared by all present today.