Buhle Sithela dreams of one day creating a place like the Disneyland Parks in South Africa. For now, his journey has begun with trying to give children in rural areas a safe space filled and gently protecting them with the magic of movies. His road to his Disney Dreams have begun in the kindest and most humbling way.
Currently, the pop-up cinema is bringing a lot of happiness to Harare, Khayelitsha, where children can go on weekends and public holidays to enjoy screenings of various animations.
Sithela who is just 25 years old, founded his own pop-up cinema for children in underprivileged areas back in 2016. ‘Vuma pop-up cinema’ manifests Sithela’s dream of bringing the kind of pure joy that comes from going to the movies. He’s creating a secure place for little ones as young as 5, as well as teens to immerse themselves in escapism, education and a delightful snack or two to enjoy, which he raised the funds for, through cleaning bins.
This makes Sithela is the epitome of starting where you are with what you have. He saved what he could to hire projectors, the movies and the snacks. And then there’s the cost of venue hire at times when it is winter and outdoor screenings aren’t an option. Now, Vuma is at a place where the funds for equipment have been raised, but donations for snacks and venue hire are still always helpful.
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It takes a lot of passion, and a good heart, but where did the inspiration exactly come from?
The beautiful project is aimed at those who usually wouldn’t be able to afford a cinema experience, or don’t even have access to television. His love for movies came from working at Short & Sweet in Cape Town, according to New Frame, which is a platform that screened short films in pop-up cinema settings.
“I was working there as a crew assistant. That helped me to know everything about setup. I thought to myself, why don’t I bring this to the poor children in the townships,” he said to New Frame.
The children have adored the project, from the youngest children waiting eagerly in line for screenings such as that of animated ‘Wazi’s Wonderful World.’
Their parents too are incredibly grateful for his kindness, which has helped the children not only to have a safe haven, but additionally allows the children to keep up somewhat with the movie and cartoon experiences that other more privileged kids have comparatively easy access to.
Sithela’s helping hand has also extended in other small ways, such as taking the initiative to cut the children’s hair for those who can’t afford barbers.
The aim for Vuma pop-up cinema it true mobility. The project already is mobile by nature, but Sithela hopes it will be a travelling show across the country.
Contact toward donations
email or 078 584 4166