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DUT Alumni, Uzalo and Red Tape Director, Luthando Mngomezulu Inspires A New Generation of Television and Film Creatives

DUT Alumni, Uzalo and Red Tape Director, Luthando Mngomezulu Inspires A New Generation of Television and Film Creatives

“I love what I do. I find purpose in my craft. I know that I would not be able to do anything but what I am doing.”

These are the words of Durban University of Technology (DUT) Drama and Production Studies alumni, Luthando Mngomezulu who is making his mark as a film and television director. Mngomezulu is the future of the South African film industry and through his work and achievements he inspires other young and upcoming creatives who follow in his footsteps.

Dedication and passion are what drives the 29-year-old director extraordinaire who has worked on multiple television productions over the years thus making him one of the youngest and skilled directors in the industry.

After graduating with a Diploma in Drama and Production Studies from DUT, Mngomezulu has since acquired more qualifications in his field. A Bachelor of Technology Degree in Drama from the Tshwane University of Technology, an honours degree in Drama and Performing Arts from The University of Cape Town, and another honours degree in film from University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). He is currently doing his first year for his Masters degree in Arts, Film and Television at Wits.

Mngomezulu credits his academic achievements for his flourishing career: “This proved very beneficial as I had the skills and confidence in my craft, which led me to win competition, awards and have successful seasons at the iconic Market Theatre which ultimately led me into training as a film director on Uzalo.”

Since starting off as a junior director on SABC1’s Uzalo, he has gone on to direct some of the telenovela’s most talked about storylines like the recent gender-based storyline featuring the show’s Nosipho and Njeza.

“I just directed a GBV storyline on Uzalo where Njeza beats up Nosipho in front of onlookers who much rather take videos than intervene. This was a few weeks ago, but still today people text me or come on my DM and tell me just how real that was for them and how reflective they are either due to their own circumstances or they know someone personally who’s going through or has been through something similar. I live for those moments, that right there is proof that I’m only a vessel sent to tell stories. They’re are not of me, but are told through me, said Mngomezulu.

His success on Uzalo hasn’t stopped him from pursuing other projects. He is currently working as a director on Etv’s telenovela, Durban Gen and has just recently worked on a film, Red Tape which aired on BET Africa not so long ago.

“Red Tape was exactly that. Inspired by wanting to tell our own stories and also the need to contribute as men in such a tough subjects GBV. Without defending the atrocities some men commit in societies ours, (Omphile Molusi and Sipho Zakwe and myself) was to try in all honesty to show a male perspective of how we can ruin ourselves and our children by being so engulfed in pride and wanting to be the personal best that we forget to think about just how much damage that can cause someone else,” he said.

The sky is the limit for the passionate Mngomezulu who is still determined to making a significant contribution in the highly competitive film and television industry. He is currently working on two film projects and believes that now is the time for new generation of creatives to enter the industry.

“A few years ago, the majority of directors were white and old. Now there is young blood like myself in the scene and we are coming for it all. Age, race, gender shouldn’t stop you these days, yes it may be harder for some of us coz of certain issues but they can set those barricades, ours is not to allow those barricades to stop us.”

His advice to those who want to follow in his footsteps is, students should always be ready for new challenges and learning new things.

“I can only advise with my own experiences, but at the same time our paths and roads to success will differ. Studying research and training have been paramount in my journey but may not be to the next person. The similarities though will always be constant practice, and sharpening your arsenal. I read somewhere that Denzel Washington till this day still goes to an acting coach. In a nutshell; “stay ready so you will not have to get ready,” he concluded.

Pictured: DUT Drama and Production Studies Alumni and Uzalo Director, Luthando Mngomezulu.

Ande Msomi

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