Frequently Asked Questions About AFDA

It seems that many people have been wondering, what does AFDA stand for?

It used to be an acronym for Africa Film Drama Art. Nowadays though, its not meant to stand for anything - it's just AFDA, the School for the Creative Economy (registered as The South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance).

Yes, AFDA does have a number of foreign students from all over the world. These students are best off applying as early as possible as there is a lot more preparation necessary in terms of visas etc. Please note for all outside-Africa nationality students, there is a slight variation in the Registration fee, and also a once-off payment that needs to be done with the very first instalment of fees.
Please refer to the Fee Structure. Unfortunately these are not likely candidates for our local government's bursary opportunities. AFDA prides itself on its full cultural diversity.

All foreign applicants that did not write the NSC (National Senior Certificate) or attended a recognized university in their country, outside of South Africa, must have their school leaving results assessed and converted by either HESA (Higher Education South Africa) for school leaving certificates or SAQA (South African Qualifications Authority) for post grad conversions. This process applies to all foreign applicants who did not attend any form of educational training in South Africa.

The manner in which the degree curriculum is run, you are exposed to every avenue of the film industry. Thus your broad experience and involvement in all aspects of the filmmaking process, including conceptualizing, and how you utilize and gain from the resources made available to you, equip you with confidence to enter the industry. Our students make the films themselves; the producer is the
team leader, the sound designer is responsible for all the sound, the actor is the lead. Our student films get shown on SABC & MNet, and they travel all over the world to film festivals. We also host our own AFDA film festivals - the larger of the two happens at the end of the year. From the very conceptualisation of a film to the making of the final DVD cover and poster, it all happens here on campus. The producers go out and market their films; they invite the talent scouts to the festival, and get press coverage.

Further advice is to expose yourself to the field as much as you can - go to shows, watch the makings of movies, and get involved in community or school drama projects. Consider what your personal successes have been, this is often a good indication of where your chosen strengths lie.  It's an industry built on passion, get in tune with your heart and follow your dream.

PASSION - Love what you do
SELF DISCIPLINE - Have a strong work ethic
INTEGRITY - Work honestly
RELIABILITY - Always deliver
HUMILITY - Be open to learning

SADA TANISENS GERA KURU DA - Our actions create us.

AFDA assists in this process by maintaining a database of all students seeking accommodation and facilitating the first step of communication between possible share-houses. However, AFDA does not find accommodation for any students nor do we have any campus residence. We have a database of accommodation in the suburbs surrounding the campuses. The list includes youth hostels, house-sitting, granny cottages, apartments to let and to share, and communal houses. Some of the accommodation is within walking distance of the campuses; otherwise one will need to consider transport options. Please note AFDA takes no responsibility for the housing choice of the student. The travel and housing arrangements are the sole responsibility of the student. Students need to be aware that not all public transport options are preferable or suitable.

The fee is fully inclusive and the student will be provided with all the necessary materials, facilities and equipment to realise all workshops, projects and productions. This will include coursepacks with academic essays and discipline resources, course guidelines and study support. Additional costs include personal stationery, duplication costs, camera consumables, transport to film sets and catering on film sets.

AFDA has developed a unique and outcomes-based learning programme. In addition to a compulsory Production Course, which covers the theory lectures, students may choose discipline electives in order to specialise in a particular area of filmmaking or performance as a practical skill.

AFDA projects and productions draw the theoretical lectures into creative innovations in team work. The learning environment exposes you to working with other creative people, like the microcosm of the industry, with crew and cast.

Production Course consists of 5 components:
Narrative studies provide the framework to conceptualize and create stories that are relevant to their intended market.
Empowers students to create novel, engaging and extraordinary characters who elicit the desired response from the audience.
Provides the necessary background in the history, media theory and techniques of cinema and television.
Provides the learner with the necessary art appreciation, aesthetic tools and understanding of visual and sonic trends.
The knowledge and research methodologies required, understanding potential audiences and their entertainment needs.

An AFDA degree prepares you to meet the creative challenges and the work ethic demanded by the entertainment industry. The programme aligns course substance with the various discipline skills, research, production analysis, planning and execution. Students are equipped with the resources to conceive ideas and bring them to life in productions that communicate effectively with their identified markets.

Students can apply to transfer to the other AFDA campuses during the course of their studies and acceptance will depend on the availability of places.

AFDA was established in Johannesburg in 1994 and is situated close to the national broadcaster, the SABC. Johannesburg is the economic hub of Africa and South Africa's television production hub.
The Cape Town film industry has provided infrastructure, beautiful locations and service excellence to many international feature film and commercial productions, and is a local network which continues to grow.
The Durban Industry holds excellent potential with being a culture-rich province, ripe with stories, beautiful weather and host to the largest and oldest film festival, The Durban International Film Festival and with it the Durban FilmMart.  The city also sees home to the key industry companies such as Avalon Group (CineCentre Cinemas), Anant Singh and his company Video Vision as well as the brains, talent or location behind movies such as 31 Million Reasons, Spud, Spud: The Madness Continues, Blood Diamond, Blue Crush 2 and many others. With the recent launch of the KZN Film Commission, the Durban industry can only expect to flourish and grow further.

Bachelor of Arts in Motion Picture Medium
Bachelor of Arts in Live Performance
BCom Business Innovation
Bachelor Computer Technology
Bachelor of Arts in Motion Picture (Honours)
Bachelor of Arts in Live Performance (Honours)
Master of Arts in Fine Arts Motion Picture (MAFA)

The brighter you shine, the more you persevere, the further you reach, the higher you climb.
The grounding received from AFDA opens various avenues that allow you to stay in the industry that you are passionate about. AFDA has an extensive network of alumni in the movie business who own their own companies, produce and perform in commercials, television content, live events and feature films. AFDA graduates often employ other AFDA graduates. AFDA graduates have a reputation in the movie business for their skills and ability to deliver.

The Scriptwriting course at AFDA gives students a strong theoretical background and then students are able to implement this learning through writing their own films for production by themselves and fellow students. Discussions in workshops and consultations are about things like: Why do we tell stories; what kind of stories resonate with audiences; what is character; what is story structure; screenplay format and how to write interesting, 'cinematic' screenplays.

Whilst many of the basic narrative theories and storytelling concepts will be applicable to a wide variety of mediums such as novels, short stories and stage plays, the focus of writing at AFDA is motion picture. Students will first start off writing for the medium of film and then for television.

Acting is definitely one of the more challenging fields of the entertainment industry. With a degree from AFDA you leave with a full portfolio, photo shoot & show reel of films you have appeared and starred in. The industry is growing, and evolving, certainly not getting any smaller - our TV channels have increased, and we have an opportunity and a responsibility to put quality on the viewing time. In South Africa, the local demand and production capacity is strengthening and gaining more and more support and better screening times. At AFDA the Multi-Cam Production course covers Television: The largest job spinner, before feature films. We also offer fundamental stage acting as introduction.

Yes. The AFDA student representative committee called the Committee for Learning Value Advantage (CLVA) channels all your concerns to AFDA management, and are represented on the Senate. CLVA also arranges the AFDA film festivals.

AFDA is fully accredited by the CHE, DOE and SAQA to confer undergraduate and postgraduate degrees up to the master of fine arts degree in motion picture, media and performance.
AFDA is south Africa's premier film school and is listed as one of the top six private tertiary institutions in South Africa by the CHE. AFDA is the first and only film school in south Africa ever to be awarded an Oscar for best student film (2006).
AFDA has fully equipped campuses in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban
AFDA has an extensive network of students in the movie business who own their own companies, produce and perform in commercials, television content, live events and feature films.
AFDA graduates employ AFDA graduates because they know that they can do the job.
AFDA is full member of Cilect; the official international body that governs film schools throughout the world.
AFDA graduates have a reputation in the movie business for their intellectual, technical, attitudinal and aesthetic skills.
AFDA graduates are known for their passion, work ethic, honesty, ability to deliver and being open to learning.
AFDA is an institution of international reputation and has played a key role in transforming the south African film industry.

Higher Certificate Course - Matric Certificate Diploma or Higher Certificate Pass
Undergraduate Degree - Matric Bachelor's Degree Pass/ Exemption
You don't need any specific subjects to enroll into the AFDA program.


  • Application - often perceived as registration and vice versa - means applying online or doing a physical application.


  • Registration - means to pay your registration fee after you have received the provisional acceptance letter so that your place is reserved for next year.


  • Enrolment - this happens in the second week in January and we will need certified copies of identity/passport and latest qualifications/letter from HESA and PAYMENT of the COURSE FEE.


  • Provisional Acceptance Letter - means you are accepted to AFDA on condition that you are eligible to come to AFDA - eg Bachelors pass for Matric, HESA letters etc and that you have the financial means to pay the fees


  • Bachelors Pass - this does not mean you have to have a Bachelors Degree to come to AFDA it means that you have to pass your matric with a University Entrance pass. This generally means that you need to get your marks above 50%


  • Discipline - this means subject.


  • Nationality - country you are born in


  • HESA - Higher Education Standards Authority in Pretoria where you have to verify your foreign qualifications or apply for a Mature Age exemption (you have to be 23 years old and you must have passed your matric before 2009).


  • SAQA - South African Qualification Authority - align qualifications to South African qualification standards or levels


  • NQF - National Qualification Framework


  • Production - the actual making of a film or TV Production


  • Cinematography - a lot of people don't have a clue what this actually is - you need to get a simple definition and explain the difference between cinematography and photography.


  • RPL - Recognized Prior Learning



  • 12 October 2019


  • TBA

PDownload the fee structures under Key Documents.

FIRST YEAR: Just Starting Out

The minimum requirement to enter an AFDA Bachelors degree is a National Senior Certificate (matric) or National Certificate (Vocational) with exemption/admission to bachelor's degree, or equivalent.

OR the student may write an Entrance Exam at AFDA (View RPL Process). The AFDA Entrance Exam is a selection process approved by AFDA Senate for degree access. To give a candidate alternative access to degree, s/he can sit for the Entrance Exam and there must be record of it, the recommendation on the individual student from the registered psychometrist must be signed off by Senate or its subcommittee, as per AFDA Entrance Exam policy (in accordance with Higher Education Act (Act 101 of 1997) Amendment No 1317 in Government Gazette of 5 Dec 2008 number 31674 clause 31). Such access will apply only to AFDA’s programmes, its entrance exam is not valid to another university, and vice versa.

SECOND YEAR: Recognised Prior Learning

You need to have completed your first year degree studies at a recognised institution and have a portfolio or evidence of work to motivate your discipline choices. You will also have to have an interview.

The Postgraduate School at AFDA offer the BA Honours programmes as well as the MFA degree programme that support a students' depth in development as a creative and innovator in entertainment and the creative economy. 

Postgraduate studies at AFDA still carry the valuable research component of any postgrad programme with a thesis and/or series of research papers, but requires the student to apply their research into one or more practical outcomes as per AFDA's signature pedagogy. This creates opportunity for the student to direct their focus for expanding their skills in a research area of interest to them in the creative economy. 

Access into Postgraduate requires a relevant qualification in a similar field to access the next level of study and/or industry experience.

BA Honours requirements: relevant Undergraduate qualification in a similar field and/or industry experience

MFA requirements: relevant Honours qualification in a similar field and/or industry experience

The study funds of every registered and prospective student of the institution are the responsibility of the individual student. The institution will not enter into funding agreements or negotiations for funding on behalf of prospective students. AFDA helps registered students of the institution get onto possible funding lists of a few funders who prefer to work though the institution. This is also is subject to the availability of funders, as well as the current student meeting set criteria. Please view our Bursary Providers List under Key Documents on the main menu

Recognised Prior Learning is a combination of either:


    • Your current formal educational qualifications at a Tertiary Institution that relate to the field, provided that you can demonstrate the core competencies, at both an intellectual and technical level, required by the AFDA Curriculum.


    • The number of years in a specific or related industry.


    • 5 years' experience will validate consideration for entry into theUndergraduate program, and


    • 10 years' experience is required for the Postgraduate program, with a portfolio demonstrating your intellectual and craft skills required for the AFDA Curriculum,


  • Any other certified achievements.  RPL's are required to provide a letter of motivation, reflecting on their academic and practical knowledge of Motion Picture Medium and the particular disciplines they have chosen, as well as any other material that may support their application, according to the Discipline specific requirements. The complete application will be handed over to the relevant Departments. The applicant would be required to come in for an interview; this enables AFDA to know the extent of bridging necessary. Due to AFDA's High Standard and Level of Training for Film, we would not want to place RPL Students unsuitably.

Certified copy of matric certificate/GR 12 or equivalent/highest academic qualification. (Current GR 12 learners are to submit their latest GR 11/GR 12
results).  You will be expected to present your final Grade 12 results during the enrolment window.

Foreign applications need HESA Certificate- if applicable For enrolment period 2 passport/ID photographs (with your name written on the back) Certified copy of your identity document

Step 1Enquire - Make a booking for an interview at the AFDA campus of your choice to meet with a staff member who will advise about the course and assist with your application process.
Step 2Apply - Complete the application, attach your report/academic documents and submit an online application form.
Step 3Provisional Acceptance - The AFDA campus you applied to will contact you at the email address you supplied on your online application form regarding acceptance into the course.
Step 4Register – Once you have been accepted, you need to register online. A registration fee of R5950 must be paid in order for you to secure your position for enrollment.
Step 5Enrol - You must present yourself at your chosen campus and follow the enrollment procedure during the enrollment window.

AFDA is registered by the Department of Higher Education (DOHE) as a private provider of higher education. Applications for student loans may be made at any of the major banks. Most banks have a range of options available to students, which are granted subject to terms and conditions. Please inform AFDA of this in advance in order to facilitate the procedure with the correct addressed letter.





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AFDA is registered as the South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance, and is a private higher education institution which offers higher certificate and degree programmes. It is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) as a private higher education institution under the the Higher Education Act, 1997. Registration certificate no. 2001/HE07/012. Our programmes are accredited and we participate productively in the ongoing reaccreditation and quality assurance processes of the Council on Higher Education (CHE) and the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) to ensure the quality of our programmes.
Disclaimer: AFDA reserves the rights to make changes or withdraw information or course offers without prior notice. Where possible, AFDA will endeavour to notify all persons and/or organisations affected as a result.