Wonga makes his mark with the arts

Wonga Lucas is studying documentary film-making, and hopes to highlight social issues in Cape Town.

Former Silikamva High School pupil Wonga Lucas is documenting city life on film to bring social messages to the public.

Wonga, who matriculated last year, has been a prominent youth figure in the Hout Bay community, known for a powerful brand of poetry that speaks to young people.

He is studying at the Big Fish School of Digital Film-making in Green Point, where he is learning how to adapt his writing skills to documentaries highlighting issues close to his heart.

In addition to his formal studies, he has formed a collaborative production team with other students called QuickVisuals.

They have already produced a film on the plight of the homeless, and will also soon be tackling the escalating issue of taxi violence in Cape Town.

“I am being equipped with much-needed skills at Big Fish. My poetry has always been themed, so what I am now doing is taking my poetry and adapting it to film. I had written a poem about prostitution, so we went out and shot a film about it, and this had a very good reaction on social media,” the 21-year-old said.

“I think aside from the points of film-making, I am also learning how to deal with people. When you go out there looking for stories, it is important to understand who people are and how to deal with them.”

Wonga’s preferred medium is silent film, believing that it requires an intense focus from the film-maker.

“I think silent film can be very hard-hitting in the way the actions of the actors address an issue.”

Wonga emphasised that he had by no means lost touch with his community, and returns most weekends to Hout Bay to visit family and friends.

“When I tell them about what I’ve been doing, I think they can tell things are moving for me. Everyone is proud to see a former schoolmate doing projects like these.

“Hopefully I can serve as a sort of inspiration for young people in my community. When you see someone else moving in a direction, I think it can inspire you to do the same.”

Even though he has been living in Cape Town central while studying, the recent incidents of taxi violence in Hout Bay have worried him greatly.

“I think the problem with citizen journalism is that sometimes people are providing social commentary from afar.

“With the film we’re planning, I want to get to the source and ride in the taxis close to what others are experiencing. This is a story that desperately needs to be told.”