5 Minutes with… Neo Kgola
Tell us about yourself – who are you and what do you do?
My name is Kastarine Kgola but I prefer being called Neo, I’m a 22 year old from Orange Farm, passionate about the power of authentic storytelling. I always want to do something that will be impactful . I’m currently working as a Media and Communications Assistant at STEPS.
What are you currently up to? Are there any exciting projects ongoing?
Currently I’m managing AfriDocs; social media – a bold and exciting platform exclusively for Africa, bringing the best African and international documentaries to audiences anywhere in Africa. I get the opportunity to watch some of the best documentaries from across the continent and beyond on a daily basis. I am also developing a documentary with fellow DFA member Zwelibanzi Tshabalala called GaKhunwana Maloba that seeks to unpack the issues of South African culture, driven by an 80-year-old on a journey to pass over the Setswana shared customs, traditions and memories.
What’s your best project/work to date?
Schools Shutdown is a short documentary that I directed and edited about how COVID-19 has influenced our education system, exploring different barriers and struggles young people in marginalized communities experience. The film takes us on a journey with our main character Buhle Mdluli, one of the brightest students in her school in Orange Farm who aspires to study medicine. During the COVID-19 Lockdown, she and her school friends try to maintain their education through online learning with limited access to devices or the internet while schools remain closed. I’m thankful for the support from Don Edkins, Xoliswa Sithole and the STEPS team for making this film possible.
Who or what inspires you?
Where I come from inspires me a lot it always reminds me of why I became a filmmaker, but mostly great female filmmakers like Lauren Groenewald and Sihle Hlophe who tell compelling stories with empathy and honesty. My family and friends also play a huge role.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do?
I volunteer for a local farm in the city, I love the soil. I also hike and enjoy beach strolls with friends.
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?
Allow yourself to grow. When you plant seeds in the garden, you don’t dig them up every day to see if they have sprouted yet. You simply water them and clear away the weeds- you know that the seed will grow in time. Similarly, just do your daily practice and cultivate a kind heart. Abandon impatience and instead be content creating the causes for goodness; the results will come when they’re ready.