AFDA honours film “Thulile” wins two Simon “Mabhunu” Sabela Awards

News, 17 September 2020

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After receiving four nominations, three of which were in the professional short film categories, AFDA Durban 2019 honours graduation film “Thulile”, picked up two prestigious awards at the 8th Annual Simon ‘Mabhunu’ Sabela Film and Television Awards which took place virtually this year on 12 September 2020.

The director of “Thulile”, Andre Cronje, who chose to do his honours degree at AFDA after 20 years of working in the entertainment industry, won the Best Student Film Award and Megan Van Der Merwe took the Best Short Screenplay Award. Megan’s achievement is extraordinary as she won for her work on a student film up against films written by seasoned professionals from the film industry.

“It’s such a joy to see our students films and crafts recognised as I know how much hard work went into the creation of these films, as I was the Head of Postgraduate studies in 2019,” says newly appointed AFDA Durban Dean, Dr Janet van Eeden. “AFDA student films have an extraordinary record at the Simon Sabela Awards, having won the Best Student Film award for the last seven years in a row. What is also remarkable is to see our students and their films nominated and winning in the same categories as professional filmmakers.”

It is also great to see AFDA Live Performance School graduates reaping the benefits from the Screen Acting Methodology course introduced at AFDA four years ago, with three nominations in the acting categories at the Simon Sabela Awards this year. Last year we saw Sibongiseni Shezi of Uzalo fame win the Best Actress in a Feature Film for her stand out performance in the AFDA Durban 2018 experimental film “Run”.

Simon ‘Mabhunu’ Sabela Film and Television Awards are prestigious awards aimed at recognizing outstanding achievement and talent in the film and television industry, with a particular focus within the KwaZulu-Natal province.

The awards, named in honour of the late South African Film legend and icon Mr Simon ‘Mabhunu’ Sabela, are an initiative of the KZN Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs are implemented by the KZN Film Commission.



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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.
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