Lebogang Rasethaba delivers an intoxicating mix of visual richness and provocative storytelling to his work and is fast becoming the name on the tip of everyone’s tongue in the local film making industry.
He grew up in South Africa, spent five years in China completing his master’s in film studies and returned to his mother continent with a remarkable skill set and a handy fluency in Mandarin.
When asked what inspires his work he says: “As a black male I’ve seen my identity constructed and deconstructed so much in the media that a lot of the time I can’t really relate to that image or reality. The media raised a lot of us to feel insecure and inferior if you weren’t a white, straight male, so as the generator of images I have the power of portrayal.”
Rasethaba wants to show people images of themselves that they can relate to and make them feel good about who they are as he believes in the value of self-worth in troubled times.
“I want to make films that remind South Africans how great we are as a nation, to inject a sense of positivity into our self-image,” adds Rasethaba.
“There is this intensely creative, unapologetically young and curious energy in South Africa that I sense and subscribe to; it’s really infectious and I point my camera in that direction.”
Rasethaba has just finished a new film called The Future Sounds of Mzansi that he has created alongside Spoek Mathambo. It’s a movie about electronic music set against the backdrop of post-apartheid South Africa.
“You will either be dancing or crying in the cinema,” says Rasethaba. “I have also made another film about Andrew Mlangeni, Prisoner 46764 who spent 26 years on Robben Island with some of our political heroes. It’s a story about an unsung hero – if you know Mandela, you should know this guy and many don’t. It took more than one person to fight for liberty.”
And Rasethaba is making sure that none of us forget the people who made a democratic South Africa possible. — Tamsin Oxford