Mandla N reflects on 21 years of telling stories that matter & making his voice heard

Award-winning Mandla N talks about his 21 years in the industry and his first flick, "Boxing Day".
Award-winning Mandla N talks about his 21 years in the industry and his first flick, "Boxing Day".
Image: Twitter/ Mandla N

When you reach the age of 21 you are given a key to signify a coming of age and a new chapter you need to open with that key. 

It's this symbolism that can easily be equated to award-winning director and founder of Black Brain Pictures Mandla Ncgongwane's passion for storytelling. 

Speaking to TshisaLIVE, Mandla N said what has sustained him during his 21 years in the industry is his passion for storytelling. 

“As cliché as it may sound, I love what I do and I'm really passionate about what I do. I think if passion is the cornerstone of why you are doing it, then it would definitely last because if I’m not creating content, or directing I don’t know what to do with myself when I wake up.” 

As someone who grew up 'ekasi' Mandla N prides himself in producing content that is relatable to people in Mzansi. He said he is always plugged in with what's happening in the world.

“I'm always keeping my ear on the ground. What are people telling, what are the stories that are out there, what's happening globally, what is  China doing when it comes to content, what is South Korea, what is India doing? So I'm always doing research so I can always stay above the curve and constantly make content that will relate to people.”

Mandla N's Black Brain Pictures is responsible for productions like City Sesla, AboMzala, Thandeka's Diary, Lock Down, Diep City and many others. 

He has been working on a movie called Boxing Day. The Showmax special, he said, was created in nine days.

“A lot of people are going to watch Boxing Day and are going to relate to it in terms of the universal SA questions we always ask about land. I mean Boxing Day is about land issues in SA and can you imagine if South Africans woke up tomorrow and during  Christmas they were given their land back? Can you imagine how much of a beautiful Christmas we are going to have?

“For me the main thing is I've told a lot of stories, but what have I really said? I've chosen a series of movies where I actually say something. The first one was Loving Thokoza — it was inspired by Charlotte Maxeke. That was the first piece of me saying something in the industry. The second one is Boxing Day, I've got another one coming up that's around fathers. So those are just statement pieces. That's why they are in a form of movies.”

Mandla N said he has been blessed in the 21 years of his career and he is starting to create with intention and freely. 

“Now I can't just film something for the sake of filming it. It needs to have a Mandla N signature. When you know its Mandla N then its either going to say something courageous, it's going to be funny, it's going to leave you with an out-take of something different. You gonna speak about it long until its done. That's what I want to do right now. To create content that has an out-take be it positive or negative but people must take something out of it.”

The Boxing Day movie will stream on Showmax on December 23, and will  also air on Mzansi Magic.


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