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Zimbabwe children tell their stories through one minute videos

© Photo: Karen Cirillo 2013
Children were taught basic camera and directing skills, story-telling, teamwork and how to think creatively about issues and representation

By Richard Nyamanhindi

Over the past week, seventeen children (nine girls and eight boys) from around the country created one minute videos to comment on their lives and to express their aspirations and fears. The films were the result of a one-minute video workshop that was organized as part of the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) funded project and facilitated by UNICEF and the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ).

“The children who participated in the workshop will be cascading the training to other children in their localities so that the children can have the power to advocate for their needs through video,” said Karen Cirillo, one of the One Minute Junior trainers. “The workshop will help equip the children with the fundamental skill of self-expression. The workshop provides an eloquent commentary on the issues faced by children, and their own concerns.”

The one-minute video workshop is an international, arts-based initiative that gives children, especially those who are underprivileged or marginalized, the opportunity to have their voices heard and to share their ideas, dreams, fascinations, anxieties and viewpoints on the world.

During the workshop, the children were taught basic camera and directing skills, story-telling, teamwork and how to think creatively about issues and representation. Each child developed his/her own story and produced a sixty-second video that was screened at the closing ceremony of the workshop. 

“This was an extraordinary experience for me. We had the freedom to express ourselves, to work on our own ideas and we learnt how to put together our own films,” said Kundai Muswe, aged 14, from Harare. 

“It was a unique opportunity to learn how to film, but also to learn about the roles of the film director, cameraman, actors and screen writers,” said another child Eustance Mushangwe from Bulawayo.

The films produced at the workshop tell a wide range of stories on issues affecting children with a particular focus on the theme “Where I am in time and place.” Some children produced films about the people they love and miss, some used metaphors to speak about their difficult personal life experiences, others – with the help of their imagination – placed themselves in an ideal world in compensation for the life they live, and some children chose to simply present stories about the things they like. 

The One Minute Junior is a video initiative that highlights and celebrates the diversity among youth around the world. Workshop participants produce videos of sixty seconds that are positive and powerful examples of the way visual arts works as a communication tool across cultural, geographic and national borders.







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