Monday, September 26, 2011

IHewu: Ukonga inxeba

Steps are being made to rejuvenate the fallen projects of Hewu.
I have completed the production of the three part series on IHewu, and I feel satisfied that I have managed to realise my aims for the series. Along the way, I had to change my plans in terms of sources, ending up using  fewer than I originally intended.  I nevertheless managed to capture some key trends with regards to the way the  region’s fortunes has changed, tracking this from its days under Ciskei rule and now in democratic South Africa. I have also managed to give a sense of the region's struggle, in the contemporary moment to maintain its sustainability and agricultural projects, which it was renowned for in the past. Most importantly, the peole who have expressed this message have been citizens from Hewu, who have ensured that this series is based on quality, in-depth accounts.

The series has interrogated the issues it has raised in a critical way. It contains a variety of voices, from different parts of Hewu. Mr Soki Qodwana, a community leader is from Sada; Mr Vela Mpendukana is from the village of Kamastone; Nomahlubi Mpondwana-Koza has spent most of her life in Whittlesea, Sada and Shiloh; while Mr Mafuza Sigabi grew up in the village of Hukuwa but lives in Whittlesea. These people have different interpretations of key issues which have plagued the region in the democratic South Africa years. This makes this series even more relevant in the South African context, as I would like to believe that there other agricultural and rural communities in the country, particularly in the Eastern Cape, who have shared similar experiences in the past and the present.
The Hewu Dairy Project lies on the fields which used to be the Shiloh Irrigation Scheme.

The series as a whole also flows chronologically, starting from just before the region fell under Ciskei rule, and ending in the present day. I believe that this was the best strategy to fully uncap the fortunes of the region, as the citizens of Hewu have seemingly experienced a roller coaster of emotions in through the history of the region, and Hewu itself has gone through waves of success and extreme hardship. This point is echoed well in the series. I would have liked to have got more voices of the present youth in Hewu, but I felt that the voices I have were sufficient enough to carry this series. 
Sondelani, one of the oldest franchise stores in Whittlesea.
Producing the three part series, IHewu, has opened me up to a plethora of stories and themes, most of which I have had to keep on hold for now. I had a basic mandate in this series, of examining the experiences of the region under different forms of governance, and of its major agricultural and sustainability projects. I am now left with a host of stories which I could explore in future, but for now, I would like to present the radio series, IHewu, Ukonga inxeba.
Work in progress on another proposed project in the Hewu region.

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