Basic screenwriting course for emerging screenwriters

WGSA: Basic screenwriting course for emerging screenwriters


Basic Screenwriting Course for Emerging Screenwriters
27 to 29 March 2020
The Writers Guild of South Africa (WGSA) in collaboration with the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture (DSAC) has developed a basic screenwriting course for emerging screenwriters, which is currently being translated into all South African official languages.

This after the WGSA conducted a Train the Trainer course for 20 professional screenwriters.  These newly trained Trainers will launch the first 9 pilot training sessions across South Africa on the weekend of 27 to 29 March 2020. 

Emerging writers are urged to apply to attend the two and a half-day training which will be conducted in 7 different languages in 8 different provinces.


Trainer’s Name Town, Province Language
Anil Polton
Tongaat, KZN English
Ayanda Mncwabe-Mama King Williams’ Town, Eastern Cape isiXhosa
Christopher Swart Cape Town, Western Cape Afrikaans
Danile Mohlamme Siyabuswa, Mpumalanga isiNdebele
Mpaki Molapo Ladybrand, Free State Sesotho
Ntombozuko (Twiggy) Matiwana Sebokeng, Gauteng isiXhosa
Phemelo Gregory Phiri Taung, North West Setswana
Siphiwe Mbata Soweto, Gauteng isiZulu
Tshenolo Mabale Polokwane, Limpopo Setswana
More information on venues and exact times will be shared in due course. 

We have limited space per class, so it would be important to apply as soon as possible. 

The classes are sponsored by the DSAC and are therefore FREE of charge.  We do, however, require applicants to become WGSA Candidate or Student members if they are not as yet.

Please do not let this prevent you from applying, instead, find out more about our membership by clicking on the JOIN US button at the end of this callout.

To apply to attend these classes, please click on the APPLY HERE button, also at the end of this callout.

About the WGSA

Our Mission
“To protect, empower and develop performance writers in the local film, television, radio, stage, animation and new media (internet – mobile and digital distribution, and gaming) industries.”

Our Vision
“A self-sustainable and united guild representing the collective interests of ALL performance writers in the local film, television, radio, stage, animation and new media (internet – mobile and digital distribution, and gaming) industries.”
WGSA is a non-profit and public benefit organisation, which is dependent on fundraising and sponsorship to fulfil our mandate.

More about the TRAINERS:
Anil Polton was born in Tongaat KZN, moved around a bit and back to his birth-town. He has entered the writing arena recently and enjoys it. Writing is now his full-time work. He writes screenplays, talks about writing, teaches writing sometimes and reads about writing, He loves the gym and his dogs. That is his writer’s life. There is not much time for anything else. And did he say he loves writing?
Ayanda Mncwabe-Mama is the co-owner of ILISO Films, a production company that has produced content for the SABC and for over 15 years. She holds a National Diploma in Video Technology from the Natal Technikon (DUT) and a BA Degree in Archaeology from UNISA. She has worked in the television industry as a researcher, scriptwriter, director and content producer for entertainment magazine programmes, factual children’s series and documentaries.

As the founder and director of IQABA Film Festival, Ayanda is committed to developing and empowering youngsters who have the passion for the arts through her training company, AT YOUR ART Holdings.

Christopher Swart: Executive Producer, Filmmaker, Scriptwriter

Christopher was born on the mission station of Genadendal (The Valley of Grace).

His filmmaking career started at the age of 10 when he assisted his father to make an 8mm movie about his home town named “Genadendal en sy Mense” (Genadendal and her People).   Christopher cut letters from the Huisgenoot magazine to add titles, carried the tripod, and operated the gramophone player as they added music and commentary.

After the family moved to Stellenbosch, Christopher studied for a B Sc at the University of Cape Town and University Western Cape.  In 1983 he was offered a scholarship by the Equal Opportunity Council (EOC), a UN programme, to study for his Masters in Environmental Studies at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.

During this time Christopher was exposed to the Navajo Native American culture, and he added Anthropology to his studies because he wanted to explore his Khoisan heritage.  He subsequently spent 6 months on the Navajo Reservation where he studied education in a multicultural society. In 1986 Christopher returned to South Africa and became involved in environmental issues and community development.

In 1991 he wrote an episode of a twelve-episode educational documentary series called “Together We Become”. The series was produced and directed by the renowned Annie Basson.

In 2014 Christopher restarted his writing career when he first conceptualised a screenplay with his Khoisan heritage as background, called “In die Dal van Genade” (In the Valley of Grace). He entered into a scriptwriter’s agreement with kykNET to complete this work.

Christopher is also busy completing his very first screenplay started in 1985.  This screenplay is based on his experiences in the USA and the trauma of returning to South Africa during the height of the Apartheid struggle in 1986.  He also composed the musical theme for this feature. He has also conceptualised four other screenplays, and is planning to produce them over the next ten years.

Danile Mohlamme is a Filmmaker, a Project Manager, Writer, Mpumalanga Film Festival Director. She has contributed across many film programs in Mpumalanga. She created Mpumalanga film mart and Festival demonstrating strong leadership and consistent and active participation in every program and film workshops. She has also produced films made in Mpumalanga and A letter to Nanna documentary. She developed and written a Documentary Titled I Remember the day and a Film Titled The Lonely track.

She recently led the assessment study of how Emerging scriptwriters and Mpumalanga filmmakers impact business and is now leading the Production team of filmmakers and authentic stories in indigenous languages assessment to define new business models to operationalize the film industry in Mpumalanga. Danile’s breadth of knowledge of the industry and incubation programmes and educational outreach programmes through film mart, as well as her passion, has enabled her to contribute across many projects. Her collaborative style is extremely effective in bringing out the best from all the filmmakers and writers in Mpumalanga by providing support and guidance while valuing all inputs and viewpoints.

Danile’s exemplary contribution in the film industry in Mpumalanga has covered several key projects Bioskop in schools program, including leading the coordination of standards with other industry bodies Isiyalo writers guild, and participating in the Indigenous knowledge system programme using films that explore how the Mpumalanga film office can help communications service providers.

Mpaki Molapo is a film writer/director who works between Lesotho, South Africa and Berlin, Germany. Mpaki has an M.A degree in Theory in Film, Theory and Practise from the University of Cape Town and a directing diploma from the Filmarche film school in Germany.
Mpaki has directed various short films and documentaries. He has scripted over 60 episodes for various popular TV shows such as ‘Stokvel’ (SABC 2) and ‘Shooting Stars’ (E-TV.). He has lectured Film Theory and Screenwriting at various universities in Lesotho, South Africa and Germany.
Mpaki is presently about to direct a short film and feature film that was optioned at
Cannes Film Festival 2017 and is developing a TV series optioned by a New York-based
Production Company.

Ntombozuko “Twiggy” Matiwana is an award-winning director with an innate curiosity and love for storytelling and film. Born and raised in Grahamstown, Twiggy decided to study creative writing before studying film and has worked as an assistant director in the local industry. Her directing career began with several student films, notably ‘See, Speak and Hear no Evil’ a short film about violence against women that was accepted at the Encounters Documentary Film Festival in 2013.

She then went on to write and direct a 5-minute short documentary on Male Breast Cancer in 2013 and in 2014 her film ‘Waterless Flower’ was the only South African film selected amongst the finalist at The Spain Film Festival, the film focuses on water and basic sanitation around the globe.
Her film The Bicycle Man won the Silver Stallion and a European Prize (2017) at the 50th edition in FESPACO, the prize allowed The Bicycle Man to screen at Cannes’ Short Film Corner 2017, the film continues to be screened around the world.

In 2018 Twiggy directed a South African short film for the 3rd BRICS FILM FESTIVAL.

Twiggy’s goal is to build a dynamic career enabling her to extend her repertoire to fluidly move between directing short-form and long-form formats. She has recently been featured in the September issue of Elle magazine (SA) to share her views on filmmaking and content.

Twiggy has directed the most popular show on Mzansi Magic called, The Queen and The Throne. In 2020 she directed a documentary filmed in Grahamstown and Johannesburg focusing on midwives, and their role serving the community.  The film has been entered at World Health Organization Film Festival.

Phemelo Gregory Phiri was born on 12 May 1984 in Manthestad Village in Taung, North West Province.

In 2005 he joined Motsweding FM drama department as a freelance actor. With no formal training or any training whatsoever, he wrote his first radio drama series titled Le Tla Go Tlhabela that was produced the same year. The series was well-received by the listeners.

Another radio drama series titled Khupamarama conceived and written Phemelo hit the airwaves of Motsweding FM in 2007. Both drama series were written in Setswana. He then started screenplay writing learnership through SASWA. That’s where I met Ayanda Halimana who was one of the guest mentors. He joined Bomb Shelter as an intern and he was trained as a researcher, scriptwriter for Season 2 of Zone 14 in 2007 were he was mentored by Amanda Lane. He later that year wrote scripts for Zone 14 that were produced.

In 2008 he wrote scripts for Zone 14 S3 that were also produced. In 2009 he joined Bomb Post Production as a trainee sub-titler and assistant editor and the following year, he started to work as a sub-titler and assistant editor and in 2013 he started working as Post Production Coordinator for Isibaya.  In 2014 he returned to writing and he co-created a television sitcom called Woza eDurban, also written a pilot episode for this project. The pilot was shot and used for editing lessons in the Durban Film Festival in December 2014.

Also in 2014, he wrote children theatre scripts for Bua O Itsose Project produced by IACSO, in Setswana. In 2015 he became Post Production Producer on The Road.  In 2016, he is working as Post Production Supervisor for Isibaya and co-wrote feature film project, the development of this film was funded by KZN Film Commission.  In June 2016 he left post-production and went back to writing and worked as storyliner for Isibaya Season 04 and 05. In 2017 returned to Post Production but continued aspiring to be a better writer, he was admitted in the NFVF Spark training in 2017 and after finishing the training he continued writing as he wrote a screenplay for a Mzansi Film that was produced in 2018. In 2018 he completed a level 1 Playwright Course with The Market Theatre Lab.

Currently, he’s one of the senior writer in a Motsweding FM soapie from March 2019 to date. The soapie is written in Setswana.

Siphiwe Mbata was born in Soweto, Johannesburg. He grew up in Soweto and from a tender age, he grew up starring in local and international television commercials and films in South Africa. Television commercials such as the Borstol medicine TV commercial, Love life, Bibo, Pepsi international soccer, learning channel, Nedbank soccer and the renowned London 2012 Olympics short film which ensured London won the bid to host the 2012 Olympics.
He obtained his BA degree in March 2014 at AFDA (a film school) situated in Auckland Park, Johannesburg.
In 2016, he founded his Film and Television Production Company called Favour Media, which is based in Soweto, Johannesburg. Favour Media aims to help actors and aspiring filmmakers from Soweto and other provinces in South Africa by creating opportunities for them in the Film and Television industry. Siphiwe has written, directed and produced 12 feature films, which have been licensed by the broadcaster Mnet Mzansi Magic. 11 feature films were self-funded and the Gauteng Film Commission (GFC) funded 1 feature film. His feature films also have people with various disabilities acting in them.
Furthermore, his feature films and short films have played at numerous film festivals such as the Nile’s Diaspora international film festival in Kampala, Uganda. The Pan African film festival in Kenya, the Kleinkapp short film festival, the Ekurhuleni international film festival and the Kasi Vibe international film festival.
His comedy feature film MaChancer won the award for best feature film at the 2019 Kasi Vibe film festival. Siphiwe has also been featured on television shows such as Talk Ability and 1-day leader to discuss the work he has done by opening up the industry and also working with people with various disabilities in his movies.

Creative Director, Film & Television Producer/Writer, Tshenolo Mabale, grew up in Mahikeng, which is dubbed the “Home of Entertainment”. The vibrant city and its buzzing creative energy propelled Tshenolo to explore her creativity in its various forms. Starting off organizing arts and music events and eventually writing reviews for local talent shows (that groomed the likes of Cassper Nyovest & Fifi Cooper), Tshenolo entrenched herself in her work.

This eventually led to her working as a production assistant for the satellite festival in Mahikeng hosted by the Out in Africa Gay & Lesbian Film Festival (Cape Town). Through this, Tshenolo had the opportunity to interact with producers, directors, and writers, locally and globally, and finally decided to pursue her first love: writing. She got her first professional break in 2011 scriptwriting for the ekasi: Our Stories series for Since then, Tshenolo has gone on to storyline and write scripts for television shows such as Scandal! on, Greed & Desire, Ikhaya, the popular Lockdown 1 & 2 on Mzansi Magic (SAFTA Scriptwriting Winner), Emoyeni (SAFTA Scriptwriting Winner) and Generations. 

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