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Movies are Majara's life

By unknown | Jan 24, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Looking at some of the people who are achieving business success in South Africa, it is evident that self-determination, discipline and dedication, coupled with guts, are needed to make it as an entrepreneur.

Looking at some of the people who are achieving business success in South Africa, it is evident that self-determination, discipline and dedication, coupled with guts, are needed to make it as an entrepreneur.

Meet Majara Mojela, the hardworking son of an equally hardworking migrant worker from Lesotho, who worked in the mines of Carletonville, West Rand in the old Transvaal.

Majara was born in South Africa, which made him a South African citizen. After matriculating, he worked for several years as a clerk and saved as much money as he could to study for a BA degree in Motion Picture media at the AFDA school of motion picture in Johannesburg.

Being the son of a migrant worker during apartheid wasn't easy and neither was getting into the lily-white motion picture business.

But Majara persevered. Several years after qualifying, through trial and error, he established Lepoqo Entertainment in 2001.

Lepoqo is one of the names of King Moshoeshoe of the Basotho and Majara chose the name for his company, a motion picture and entertainment-promotion business. He said his aim is to teach and entertain through music, film and theatre.

Majara said: "Studying for the motion picture industry in South Africa is still relatively new and very expensive to get into. It is therefore very difficult for financially-challenged people to get into this field."

He said other challenges are that the industry is still very white and the cost of running a company of this nature can be high, with little or no support from financial institutions because of the high level of risk associated with the business.

"Producing a movie and getting someone to buy into such a venture is not easy. The equipment is expensive, paying the crew costs a lot and you only make a profit after the movie hits the cinemas. That could take months or even years, depending on the size of the production," Majara said.

Given the number of years Majara has taken to study and raise funds for his schooling, and then setting up his company, was very challenging.

But these enormous challenges did not stop the determined Majara from competing with the biggest and the best in the motion picture and entertainment industry.

Majara said that under the present government, black professionals are given better opportunities to pursue their talent and goals, especially with the introduction of so many more pay-TV players.

He said that with the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) demanding that the public broadcaster increases its local content and promotes indigenous languages on all its television channels, the future looks bright.

Majara said: "Once you are in the industry and you get production contracts, the money is good because people want to be entertained all the time.

"The local movie industry is still in its infancy," he said.

"A movie production with a proper budget and good financial backing can turn a motion picture company like Lepoqo into a millionaire business in a short time.

"But it takes many years of work before one can become renowned and in the league of Tsotsi, Yesterday, Elalini and so on," Majara added.

Lepoqo Entertainment is occasionally commissioned by the SABC to produce documentaries. This helps Majara to survive.

Majara said some of Lepoqo's short products include an audio-visual production for Kaya FM's Birthday Festival, Moretela Park Jazz Festival, video productions for Women Investment Portfolio Holding (Wiphold) Celebrating 10 years of Democracy, and some advertisements.

The company was also involved with Coup, the movie that was recorded by a British producer in South Africa about the involvement of Zimbabwean mercenaries in a coup in Equatorial Guinea.

Majara sometimes produces DVDs for private functions such as weddings, corporate gatherings and parties.

He said: "This is no monkey business. Movies are popular and most families all over the world find themselves cuddled around the television most nights for entertainment.

"And it is with companies like Lepoqo where it all begins. It is not easy, but we try.

"We hope that with the current changes in the film, entertainment and television industry in the country, people in the business can start making a good living and prosper," said Majara.


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