This week was such a milestone for Mpumalanga, with the premiere of the film Catch a Fire, a story of a Patrick Chamusso whose life was worth American dollars and a film. Much can be said about the funders of the film and why is it so difficult to access local funding to make local films to the point that we have to rely on Americans to finance our stories and cast their own people (Derek Luke) to play our people as if we don't have actors of high calibre in South Africa.
Okay, politics aside. Mpumalanga is, if things go according to predictions going to become the next big player in entertainment. One of the major hiccups with film is that after 13-years in existense the department of Arts and Culture still has not established a Film Office or Commission. It is an indictment on the part of the officials at the department as to why they, unlike their counterparts in Gauteng, Western Cape and Kwazulu-Natal not yet set such an important office given the exploitative nature of the arts industry. This office would have ensured that many Mpumalanga residents benefitted from the filming of Catch a Fire through local procurement of services, accommodation, hospitality, security, wardrobe and location. One such actor Pitso Mthombothi who was an extra during the filming says he was only paid R100 after spending the whole cold August day on set while they were shooting scenes that required him to swim. "They said they'll pay us extra for our swimming but I only got R100 for everything", he told Kasiekulture.
But the point behind this piece is the extent that Mpumalanga has moved to bridge the digital divide. My personal interest is in what is popularly known as blogging, or personal mini-website depending from which civilisation a person comes from. This tool can be used as a diary, travel-log, or a platform to hallucinate and say whatever you want with a worldwide audience, that's if you can solicit such an audience.
Kasiekulture learnt that there actually are many blogs established by Mpumalanga residents which, at any given time feed information to the whole world. Most notable one is Poetic Dreamer, a blog started by a character who calls himself Blaque. This is a dreamer's blog, where the emphasis of the blogger (a person who writes in a blog) is largely on the theme of dreams. He shares this information about himself,
"Young, poetic, sassy don't know about sexy but I sure know how to enjoy life", and he does post some poetry that he wrote. "Before I was dubbed the poetic dreamer/ I was just a dreamer with normal dreams/ I lived in a normal world, but I wasn’t normal/ I am not a normal kid/ I am a dreamer of note/ I dream to escape from the pains of this world/ I dream of my own world"
There are more people blogging in Mpumalanga who post useful information that can benefit everyone like Kwaki and Afrosliqdiva. Research shows that one blog is created every thirty seconds worldwide and some of the world's leading writers and newspaper columnists now just post their articles on blogs where they get picked by newspapers for publishing.
This is big business in the United States where some blogs even break stories before newspapers, television, radio and websites. With this progress at home it is refreshing.