5 Minutes with… Octavia Sonyane

5 Minutes with… Octavia Sonyane

Tell us about yourself – who are you and what do you do?

My name is Octavia Sonyane, I’m 24 years old, I am a social justice activist filmmaker currently working at the William Kentridge Studio as a junior video editor and as a freelance assistant researcher for the University of Cape Town.

What are you currently up to? Are there any exciting projects ongoing?

I am a junior editor at Kentdridge studio, it’s fascinating and very exciting as I am learning new things everyday and developing and improving my skills.

What’s your best project/work to date?

My best work is one of the film “Ek Staan Nog Sterk” I directed while in film school (Big Fish School Of Digital Filmaking) as it was screened at Encounters International Documentary Film Festivals in 2019, and my recent short participatory film for STEPS “Schools Shut Down” on how COVID-19 has affected matriculant students in townships with no access to education during Lockdown due to not having access to the internet.

Who or what inspires you?

I see myself more in Xoliswa Sithole, she is my greatest inspiration, Her work always awakens my “why should I keep fighting” against injustices and to build a better nation using storytelling. I am very privileged to have her as my mentor.

When you’re not working, what do you like to do?

When I’m not working I am usually out in my vegetable garden, helping my friend at her organization Buhlebembali Social Counselling Foundation and just reading books.

Finally, what tips or advice could you give to other documentary creatives, just starting out or to the most experienced creatives needing a bit of encouragement?

The advice I would give is just try to keep up with other creatives, meet new people. One thing that’s been keeping me sane is my friends who are also filmmakers – I always feel motivated and inspired around creatives. It’s not always easy but it always gets better and always remember your “why” and that will be your driving force. The world is not against you, remember that.