Motif Presents: Sixteens for Sixteen 2014


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For most young people entering their twenties, life is as bizarrely uncertain as it was in their quick altering teens. From a new permitted freedom to the added responsibility of being considered a partial adult, young people are seldom ready for the weights the world puts on them. They share this doubt with an equally wide-eyed 20-year-old democracy called the Republic of South Africa. Their journeys inextricably linked by a quest to find purpose and ones place in the world. For country, it was how to come from a brutal past to being a bright beacon of freedom, for the youth it was channeling the courage and force that fought bigotry into ensuring they themselves never turn into those ogres.

It was out of this frantic pursuit for place that Tumi Molekane together with his band Tumi and the Volume penned the spearheading tune ’76. It was a delicate song with a hard-hitting account of the violence that occurred during the riots of June 16 1976. Written in 2001 by a group of young people who neither experienced nor were alive during the time, it’s power and authenticity comes from them linking the desperate voice of the youth of ’76 to this new form of expression in 2001. How that violent voice mutated into a song from a band that was part of a growing movement of pioneering young artists in the early 2000s.

Over a decade has passed since the song first hit the airwaves, were young people were represented by struggle icons and rock stars today they take to social networks and make up their personalities, circles, movements and worlds. Everyone is an icon or idol or celebrity, everyone has a voice and as amazingly empowering as that is it can also be very messy, hard to distinguish the genuine article from a gossip hoax, difficult to spark imagination on a screen full of HD adverts. The world has gotten smaller and bigger all at the same time.

16s for 16 is an arts project initiated by Tumi Molekane in 2012 with support from Motif records. Through various one of a kind arts projects it seeks to reunify and channel the youth voice into an individually inspired collective force. Its first project was a 16 minute epic hip hop track that featured some the best young rappers from southern Africa speaking on youth issues important to them. The song was released on youth day o for free online and created frenzy within the hip hop community and much interest outside it. The second project was also a song, this time employing the talents of 16 popular crooners and songbirds to deliver a radio friendly song that spoke to youth issues. Also Released on youth day, the song got great number of streams online with a respectable radio airplay.

For our third project we want to use film as the medium. In keeping with our June 16 inspired theme, we are setting our goal at producing 16 one-minute short films for June 16 2013. Submissions will be open to the public for young people aged between 16-34 with the theme “THEY CANT TELL MY STORY BETTER THAN ME” with a focus on South Africa’s 20 years of democracy. We want to encourage the youth to use the technology available to them to make their own one-minute film about anything they want to. The 16 shortlisted films and their directors/producers will be profiled on our website and through our broadcast partners.

We feel this project is not only an exciting way to galvanize the youth but also an important tool for expression in a time when political parties are clamouring to stand for the countries future on their behalf. For us Youth Day represents an unwavering pursuit for ones purpose in a young country battling to become as great as the world imagines it to be.

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