The weather was great for filming, the kids at my Youth Film Club were waiting when I arrived at our regular spot, close to their homes. All 20 of them, and more. It was a typical Saturday, and I was expecting to only use 7 kids for my much planned out script. But then word spread where my intended location would be at, and while driving there with my mom and 5 of the kid actors, we passed groups of kids running to the location. It was kind of funny, like you would see when an accident happened, and people were running to the scene. I held my breath a few times, watching them from the back window, as the little ones navigated traffic to cross a busy main road. Arriving at location, a large open park five minutes from their homes, we parked the car and watched as the kids arrived excited and begging to be “extras” on set. It took a good half an hour re-assigning new spots for almost all of them. The rest went and enjoyed the park rides. We prepped and costumed the 6 main characters, and then we found a quiet spot near the sliding board, to begin filming.
Half way through filming, two women arrived. They went up to a disabled boy in a wheel chair, laid their hands on his head, praying out loud. Some of us noticed, but we carried on filming. Then the women walked away, watching us filming from a distance.
My mom was talking with the 12 years old boys older sister, when the boy climbed out of his wheel chair, and stood next to them. Then suddenly, one of the church ladies came running up to them.
She kept asking if he had ever walked before, and upon hearing from the boys sister, that he had never walked before, she sang out praises to God, and made a big fuss of this miracle that happened.
Everyone clapped for the boy, hugged him, and took photographs. For a long time, he was the focus of our attention, and he enjoyed it. He shyly hid behind his sister when anyone tried to take photos.
The church ladies took down his parents information, and left.
This was a glorious event which excited everyone. We were convinced that our club was blessed beyond words. We carried on filming, everyone more happier and a deep feeling of friendship was felt.
Filming ended in the early evening, and after wrapping it up, everyone walked home with jubilee in their steps. My mom and I packed up our props and bags, loading everything into the car. We lifted 4 boys and a small girl back to their homes. This was a blessing in a big way, as the events that followed still haunt me.
We just turned off the busy main road, a street away from turning into their street, when my moms car broke down. This was the first sign of tragedy to follow. The car died in the middle of the road, close to a shop which luckily swarmed with other motorists eager to help us out. It took less than 5 minutes to jump start my moms old Mazda 323 car, which rattled on, but got the kids to their homes.
Arriving at home soon after, I discovered that we did not have my bags with my valuable camera, mic and props. I was distraught, and my mom quickly drove back, smoke flaring from the exaust pipe, the engine threatening to cease, to location.
Every second of the way, I kept saying its too late, that after half an hour, someone must have found my bag, and stolen everything. I prayed that we found it. I willed traffic lights to turn green. We barely stopped next to the park, and within seconds I had run to a spot in the middle of the field, where I found my one brown bag. All that was in it was the mic and leads. My expensive Canon webcam was gone!
My mom was talking to two young boys in the park, and a couple, asking them if they’d seen anyone walking with a pnp carrier bag with film equipment in it. The two boys remembered a tall dark man, wearing blue jeans and a blue top, running from the park, barely a few minutes earlier. They pointed out the direction he had fled, and happily agreed to accompany us in search of my stolen camera.
Every second counted. We drove like cowboys, racing down many streets, asking many people along the way if they’d seen this man. Some pointed out that they’d seen a man going towards the nearby hospital, so we raced in that direction. I felt helpless with every second passing. It felt like my life flashed before me, imagining my world without my camera, and it meant my ONLY career would cease. I could not live without my camera, as we are too poor to replace it, and we don’t have anyone who could sponsor me again. It would also have meant that all the footage of today’s filming was in vain. I would have to end the Youth Film Club, and let down so many hopeful and aspiring young kids. How would I cope, how would they?
We tried phoning the police while we were frantically driving, but after the woman listened to our story, she hung up on us. This angered me, because I wanted them to help us search for this man.
I even pleaded with a big burly man sitting in his parked ADT car, to help us search. He agreed, and drove off towards the park. Going back to the park, to search more streets on the other side, we dropped the two boys off, and stopped next to a kind man parked close by to the park. I hoped he had seen something while parked there. He said he had been there longer than half hour, which gave me some hope, as I waited to hear his response if hed seen anything. He shook his head, but offered to take a drive into seedy areas to enquire if anyone was selling my camera. While he and my mom stood next to the car chatting, I sat with my head bowed, and cried. Big sobs came out, and I didn’t
12yo disabled boy rises from wheel chair and walks.
My life as a film maker.
care who saw me. I cried because I felt I would never see my camera again, that by this time, it was sold off. I imagined the thief to not care about its value to me, and that he was just needing a few rands to feed a drug habit or something. I cried thinking back on all the work I had done with my camera, how it had fulfilled and made a difference in my life, and to so many kids in my film club. I tried thinking ahead, and all I saw was a void blackness.. Why me? Why was I to loose everything I valued in life? Was I not meant to have a future? Was I not meant to uplift and inspire others? Was this the end? The end of my career, and the end to my film club?
I could still hear my mom chatting frantically to this man, when all of a sudden she gasped, and cried out excitedly for me to look.
In her hand was the most beautiful camera I had ever seen…
She had opened up the boot, and found the bag right at the back, with the camera and all the props inside. When she showed me, I was so excited, I painfully let out a scream, grabbing the camera and held it tight to my chest. The kind man smiled and kept saying how happy he was that it was safe. I felt so much relief in this moment. The drama of the past hour had exhausted me. Driving slowly back, reflecting on events, I asked my mom if we could park at the beach, as I needed some alone time to reflect on all the events, and wanted to pour my heart out, but with our car threatening to die at any moment, we had to go home, and park her safely. My mom couldn’t afford her breaking down, at night, along any roads.
I climbed out of the rusty old car, clutching my precious camera close to my heart, looked up at the heavens, and said a Big Thank You. I think deep down, this drama has made me stronger, and its a sign of big things to come. Maybe Im blessed. Maybe Im the chosen one, who will guide and lead future generations of aspiring young minds like myself. All I can do is keep on my good work, and stay positive. Someone will notice. Someone will care.
My lesson for today was that no matter how bad a situation is, we can overcome obstacles, and that we are not alone.
So many miracles happened today. The life of a young boy altered forever, because of prayers, and my camera found. My moms broken car jump started by total strangers when we needed it most, and kind words of strangers to keep me going. We just need to keep believing, and our prayers do get answered. Cinematic Kids SA youth film club, is a blessing to me, and to many it reaches.
kids who makes short films together.