Bringing movies to the people with the power of the sun


Buhle Sithela had to stop studying when he ran out of funds. Financial constraints choked away his chance of acquiring a qualification. But what couldn’t be checked was his resolve to make a way for himself in the film industry, and to touch the lives of others through it. Along with friends Sivuyile Gwabe and Abongile Mqweto, he started a bin-cleaning project in Khayelitsha to raise funds for film screenings.

Sithela’s steely determination was noticed by Sunshine Cinema, an organisation that promotes access to film in underprivileged areas by partnering with community members. He was taken on as an intern and made a Sun Ambassador for Khayelitsha. Sithela was given a Sunbox screening device, which harnesses solar power to project movies. This has enabled him to fulfil his dream of bringing the magic of moving pictures to the township.

And while his passion for this project is rooted in a longstanding fascination with film ignited by Star Wars, Sithela’s deeper motivation is education. Cinema provides a world of learning resources that today rival the reach of libraries of text. Sunshine Cinema is onto this idea, and continues to equip people like Sithela to touch their communities through the medium. As a young person who himself has been denied a conventional education, he realises the need for South Africans to get creative about building their futures. 

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