Sylvia Vollenhoven

VIA Director

Writer, award-winning Journalist and filmmaker. Winner of the 2016 Mbokodo Award for Literature. Her film in development, The Keeper of the Kumm, an Ancestral historical story was showcased as part of the National Film & Video Foundation (NFVF) slate at the Cannes Film Festival. Short-listed for the City Press Tafelberg 2012 inaugural non-fiction book award. SA Producer for the BBC 2-part mini series Mandela the Living Legend. A play she co authored, My Word, Redesigning Buckingham Palace, was chosen for a run on London’s West End. In 2014 My Word was also on the Main Programme at SA’s National Arts Festival. The Festival featured another of her plays, Cold Case, Revisiting Dulcie September that won both a Standard Bank Audience Award and the inaugural Adelaide Tambo Award for Human Rights in the Arts. Editor of The Journalist, a groundbreaking media project that provides history and context for current issues – mentoring and developing young storytellers in the process.

In 2015 Vollenhoven designed an innovative TV concept for the new South African Lifestyle Channel Via. In May 2016 the 26-part series which she also directs and executive produces started on DSTV. CO.ZA is a unique TV show that goes in search of the SA scatterlings around the globe, using their own videos and photos to tell their stories.

Knight Fellow

A Knight Fellow who led a project to improve coverage of poverty and development issues in Ghana for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The young people she trained in Ghana won many awards including the CNN African Journalist of the Year prize. Commissioned by the SABC 3 to produce a four-part mini series called Striking A Chord, that tells the stories of iconic South Africans – including Athol Fugard – using music and memory.

Commissioned by the SABC 2 to produce two investigative documentaries: Project Spear, a probe into the billions looted from state coffers in the dying days of the apartheid regime as well as a film on the neglected former MK (ANC military wing) cadres who live on the margins of society, Roar Young Lions. Project Spear was never shown and is now ironically the subject of a Supreme Court battle.

Founder of VIA – Vision in Africa, that has spearheaded innovative international media training initiatives and that is a creative powerhouse. As the Africa representative for the Thomson Foundation (UK) she was the lead trainer for the Foundation’s first-ever documentary filmmaking course at Cardiff University.

In the early 90’s, Vollenhoven was the Southern African Correspondent for the Swedish newspaper, Expressen, and was awarded Sweden’s top journalism prize by Scandinavia’s prestigious Publicist Klubben. For 10 years, Vollenhoven served as the Southern Africa Coordinator for the International Public Television (INPUT) organisation.

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