In conversation with Letlhogonolo Masipa
We spoke to Letlhogonolo Masipa, a Film and TV student born in Limpopo on his films and what his creative work means to him.
Letlhogonolo describes himself as a black outer-national contemporary South African creative. His films are his tool of narration that recites the stories, told and untold, of who he is and the places his mind and body have existed in. His creative expression is based on where he comes from as well as his superpower of being both African and Black. There is no detachment from his personal life in his work. It is an extension of who he is. And since he perceives his Black African identity as his superpower, film has to be how he aspires to save the Black community from the chaos or the world and society itself.
Having grown up in Tembisa and Soweto, the person who pens his films is an amalgamation of versions of a boy who experienced the life of the township daily. In other words, Masipa searches his past experiences from home and his childhood to find the narrative he wants us to take home with us. He expresses that his background is his first point of reference in creating his films.
In addition to this, Black pride and joy is at the center of his stories. His message and medicine is that there is no space for shame in being Black and your Blackness. Constantly make room for pride and joy to sit with you in your becoming, discovery and acknowledgement of Blackness and Black culture. Masipa wants his films to tell you that being Black is your superpower and you should accept it.
Stills are moments that stand still from a moving picture and for Masipa, they linger in his soul. He believes that in the same way that the moon allows the sun to rest, stills allow the sound from a film to rest. Stills take the place of what we hear and communicate with the audience.
‘Stills are something profound and powerful.’
Masipa aspires to exhibit a short South African film on football for the world. And from our conversation, we imagine that the process of creating this would be one that involves many thoughts walking in circles in his mind. His focus is on executing work that is reflective of his planning, time, commitment and the overall idea in his head although his mind is busy during this part of creation.
Something important for Masipa is the message that anyone in the film industry should not believe the hype but they should embrace it.