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Small Voices & Loud Messages

It’s a moody February morning. The kind of day when the idea of running on the beach tugs at an inner sleeve. I’ve learnt to obey these whispers.

Muizenberg beach is all grey sky and green waters today. A few lonely silhouettes move along the water’s edge.

I run sometimes on the sand, sometimes in the lapping waves. The seashore is that place between this world and the next. Between the conscious and the endless super conscious.

Running on the water’s edge keeps you sharp, focused. Any moment you could tumble over to the other side.

The mountain backdrop is a rising, giant amphitheatre… seats for a drama that never ends.

Just the other day we celebrated my Mum’s 88th birthday with family and friends. The occasion has left me with a deep appreciation of the lessons that they teach me daily.

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On my way home from the beach I have to pass the graveyard where my grandmother is buried. A soft voice says maybe it’s time to visit with flowers. I’m in two minds. But something reminds me to heed the whispers.

I buy some red Valentine’s roses and head for the graveyard. Near the entrance a group of workers with shovels recognise me. They’ve helped to clean Ma’s grave before. They rush off ahead of me and get stuck into sprucing up the tiny piece of land.

I sit to one side cutting the flowers and placing it in a small vase.

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The man who has been building the mound and smoothing it with water puts down the piece of wood he is using. I notice the name on the wood is exactly the same as my grandmother’s… Sophia Petersen.

I pick it up thinking it’s part of an old cross that belongs to her grave. But then I notice the piece of wood has a middle name and that the dates on it don’t match.

“Nee ma,” says Rasta one of the graveyard workers, “Die behoort aan die graf daar oorkant. Ons gebruik dit maar net. Dit het afgeval.”

The middle name on the other Sophia Petersen’s cross is Magdalene… the same middle name as my mother.

Some days I fear those soft voices I hear will pull me into a world of pure magic and I will become thoroughly useless in this one.

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VIA – Vision In Africa

VIA – Vision In Africa was established in 2006 and has rapidly grown to be a formidable force in the media industry with pan African activities and international training networks. In a rapidly expanding market quality programming is a valuable commodity. VIA was launched to develop media products with a strong African flavour for audiences everywhere. We’re also building innovative media partnerships across Africa and between Africa and the world. We focus on the following main business areas:

  • Transmedia projects that include creative writing, film and theatre performance
  • Documentary and Feature film
  • Development of media networks in Africa and Europe. VIA brokered a unique relationship between the UK and Africa with a pilot project for upgrading business journalists’ skills in Nairobi
  • Multimedia Content Development & Training
  • Consultancies to international organisations… These have included the UK’s Thomson Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation and the SABC
  • Television Events – VIA produced INPUT 2008, the screening conference of the International Public Television organisation held in Johannesburg at the Sandton Convention Centre. The event attracted about 1,300 TV professionals from around the world
  • Peer Reviews of proposals and papers for  the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as well as the Journal of African Cinemas