UCT master’s student Diana Ocholla has created and produced a mini-documentary showcasing community heroes in her area, Woodstock, and it’s a reflection on society’s light in one of the darkest times – the COVID19 pandemic.
Narrated via a poem, Ocholla showcases the unsung heroes who helped thread the spirit of uBuntu through one of the toughest periods for the world and South Africans.
As UCT News explains, the documentary formed part of Ocholla’s research and focused on a Community Action Network (CAN) in Woodstock and its efforts to assist residents in need since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
From soup kitchens to clothing drives, CANs were a pivotal part of social upliftment across the country.
Through interviewing several CAN members in the Woodstock area where Ocholla herself resides, she was able to give them a medium in which to share their narratives.
The work formed part of her Masters in Philosophy in Inclusive Innovation at the UCT Graduate School of Business (UCT GSB).
Participants were asked about their involvement and experience in community-led initiatives, as well as about the power of community mobilisation in a time of need. The interviews were conducted over Zoom from April to October this year, and Ocholla only met the participants for the first time at the documentary’s respective premieres at the GoDriveIn Movie and Roadhouse in Salt River and the Bertha House is Mowbray earlier in October.
Of her work, Ochlla expressed that:
“The Covid-19 pandemic will forever be etched into the world’s collective memory as a defining event of our generation. In South Africa, those behind the community-driven initiatives, who responded to the enormous need of our people, were some of the heroes of this time. I felt that it was absolutely necessary to capture their contribution.”
For Ocholla, video as a storytelling narrative was a way for the community to control the narrative of their lived experiences and memories during the time, to be shared with diverse audiences.
Additionally, for its’ maker, the process has been described as cathartic.
In years to come, Ocholla said she hopes that her mini-documentary will serve as a reminder of the pandemic’s devastation, and the collective effort on the part of community members and civil society to weather one of the toughest storms in recent history. Additionally, said she hopes that it would also serve as a blueprint for future crises and how to better respond.
“We cannot forget where we come from. Though we’ve made giant strides, I hope that this work will serve as a reminder of what we can achieve when we work together for the common good and benefit of our people,” Ocholla concluded.
Ocholla presented her work at the 2020 Build Peace global conference and the Creativity During Lockdown Symposium.