Wits University’s art museum will receivefunding to restore Ndebele cultural items.(Image: Bongani Nkosi) An artist’s impression of the interior ofthe Wits Art Museum once completed.(Image: City of Johannesburg)MEDIA CONTACTS• Julia CharltonCuratorWits Art Museum+27 11 717 1363RELATED ARTICLES• SA items in World Digital Library• Itlhabolole: beauty from waste• SA landscape display takes root in UK• Egypt reclaims its heritageBongani NkosiThe Wits Art Museum will receive funding from Bank of America Merrill Lynch to restore some of its treasured items, which, the academic institution says, are of national importance.Wits University announced on 18 November 2010 that the funds will be channelled towards conserving 25 beaded Ndebele aprons kept in its museum. In isiNdebele, the items are known as iiphephetu and date back to a period between 1920 and 1970.The value of the sponsorship has not yet been announced.The university said all the iiphephetu need “stabilisation, consolidation, cleaning and repair”, and a specialist conservator will be appointed to carry out the work.Iiphephetu were traditionally designed and made by Ndebele mothers or grandmothers when their daughters entered puberty. At this time the family performs an initiation ritual known as ukuthomba for the teenager, which signifies growth.The aprons are made from canvas and glass beads, with some also incorporating bits of wool and leather. “Each of the iiphephetu is unique, and displays significant invention and creativity within the parameters of this important cultural tradition,” said the university in a statement.The Wits Art Museum, currently undergoing a revamp, is one of 10 international projects that will benefit from the bank’s inaugural art conservation programme. The programme is meant to help restore artworks of cultural and historical value in Africa, Europe and the Middle East.It’s also designed to raise awareness about conserving such artworks so that they are “preserved, displayed and enjoyed by future generations”.The bank is known for providing much-needed funds for museums, including sponsorships and loans.Wits is delighted to be part of this programme, said its Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research Prof Belinda Bozzoli.“By enabling this important conservation work to be undertaken, Bank of America Merrill Lynch is supporting the Wits Art Museum’s vision to contribute to a common sense of nationhood through art, by facilitating the preservation of diverse critical heritage material for the benefit of all,” she said.Exciting exhibitions in the pipeline The R68-million (US$9.8-million) restoration of the Wits Art Museum will be completed by the end of 2011. Bozzoli said the restored iiphephetu will be part of the range displayed for the public when the museum reopens.Previously known as Wits Art Galleries, the Wits Art Museum will officially reopen with a series of exhibitions targeting the university’s students and academic staff, as well as the general South African public and tourists.“Funding from Bank of America Merrill Lynch Art Conservation Programme will ensure that these vital artistic treasures can be conserved to the highest standards and enjoyed by the public for many more years to come,” said the bank’s Humphrey Borkum.“We are privileged to support the Wits Art Museum in restoring some of its most important artworks,” he added.While new technologies are used to make art conservation safer and more effective, this is costly to museums – and the American bank is aware of that, said its executive Rena De Sisto in a statement. “This is a propitious time to actively engage in preserving these treasures.”Sisto added that by helping to restore cultural art of different nations, they hope to “elevate awareness of cultural traditions around the world and inspire respect and interest across cultural boundaries”.
The Save Our Rhinos album is a joint initiative of the Endangered Wildlife Trust and Johannesburg-based Sting Music to increase awareness about rhino poaching while raising funds for anti-poaching initiatives. (Image: www.rhinocd.co.za) MEDIA CONTACTS • Kirsty Brebner Endangered Wildlife Trust +27 11 372 3600RELATED ARTICLES • Big Five cat moves into new reserve • SA and Far East to discuss poaching • Black rhinos return to Serengeti • Wildlife poachers to be taken down • EWT making tracks in conservation Wilma den HartighLocal musicians have added their voices to the fight against rhino poaching. A double CD compilation, featuring some of the country’s top musical talent, has been launched to help save South Africa’s rhinos from extinction.With the help of the local music industry, the Save Our Rhinos CD is the latest initiative to up the ante in rhino conservation.The project is a joint initiative of the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) and Johannesburg-based Sting Music, and aims to increase awareness about rhino poaching while raising funds for anti-poaching initiatives.The double album features music from a variety of genres from 40 of South Africa’s best loved artists and bands, including Johnny Clegg; Prime Circle; Elvis Blue; Locnville; Wonderboom; Chris Chameleon; aKing; Farryl Purkiss; The Graeme Watkins Project and Lira.The Save Our Rhinos compilation is available at selected music outlets or can be ordered online.Profits donated to rhino conservationEvery person who shows their support by buying a Save Our Rhinos album, which costs only R150 (US$20), is backing a worthy cause and as a bonus, will have the best of South African music at hand.For every sale, 10% of the profits will be donated to the EWT’s efforts to find solutions to rhino poaching.Various EWT anti-poaching initiatives – such as sniffer dogs deployed at airports, training of law enforcement personnel and the establishment of support networks for orphaned rhinos – are already underway across the country.Extinction is possibleAfter years of hard work by conservationists to boost their numbers, South Africa’s rhino population could be extinct in less than a decade, unless more is done to protect them from poaching.Last year 448 rhino were killed in the country, including 19 critically endangered black rhinos, of which fewer than 5 000 remain in the wild.Recent statistics from South African National Parks (SANParks) indicate that 52 rhinos have been poached in South Africa so far this year – about one a day.According to stoprhinopoaching.com, an independent web-based platform that raises awareness and support of rhino poaching, scientists predict that if the illegal activity continues at its current rate, South Africa’s rhino herd will go into population decline by mid-2012.More rhino conservation initiativesTowards the end of February justice minister Jeff Radebe announced that South Africa will deploy hundreds more soldiers to its borders in an effort to thwart international syndicates involved in rhino poaching.The deployment includes army engineers to conduct repairs and maintenance on the 140km-long Zimbabwe-Mozambique border fence, a notorious escape route for criminals.Troops were first deployed in April last year along the Mozambican border. Many of them were based in the Kruger National Park (KNP), which has become a popular destination for rhino poachers.SANParks CEO David Mabunda said it is worrying that such a high numbers of rhino are still being killed in South Africa.“The difficulty is pinning a suspected criminal to the actual crime, because we are dealing with very wily and sophisticated individuals,” Mabunda said.He is, however, encouraged by the increasing number of arrests and harsher sentences imposed on convicted criminals who are part of international syndicates that smuggle horns to Asia.Now poachers and horn smugglers can be sentenced to as much as 16 years in prison.South African law enforcement officials made 232 poaching-related arrests in 2011, compared to 165 the previous year.Conservation organisations and the police are also seeing more cooperation from the public, which has resulted in arrests in the KNP. Some criminals have even been arrested before entering national parks in the country.International demand for hornsAccording to the World Wide Fund for Nature – South Africa, the recent surge in rhino poaching is connected to the increased demand for rhino horn in Asia, particularly in Vietnam. Here the product is viewed as a luxury item and is mistakenly believed to be a cure for cancer.However, traditional Chinese medicine experts have pointed out that rhino horn has no proven cancer-treating properties. Contrary to popular myth, it has also never been used in traditional medicine as an aphrodisiac.
Upcoming FDEI Webinar: Beyond the Shape Sorter – Playful Interactions that Promote Strong Academic and Social-Emotional Skills
Join the Military Families Learning Network Early Intervention team on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017 at 11 a.m. EST for our final webinar of 2017 with Kristie Pretti-Frontczak! Check out her vlog below to learn more about what she plans to cover! We are excited to see you there.To learn more and to register, visit the event page.
Here are a few helpful questions and tips for conducting interesting, orderly documentary interviews that develop naturally.There is an odd mix of both excitement and terror that comes with starting a documentary project. Whether it’s a short, one-day project or the beginning of a multi-year endeavor, documentaries (by nature) are unpredictable and often tricky. Shooting interviews, in particular, can be difficult.Ideally, a good documentary interview shoot should be a nice balance between pointed, on-topic discussions and open-ended prompts for exploring new themes and questions that pop up. This gets tricky for the shooter, director, or producer who’s asking the questions, as you need to be prepared to keep things on track but also be receptive to new information and directions.For those looking for advice for tackling documentary interviews, and for those who need a starting point for their interviews, we have some advice on finding the right balance for your documentary interview shoots.Basic Documentary Interview QuestionsImage by Haider Y. Abdulla.So, before we give you a list, we need to preface this article by saying that every documentary project is going to be different — sometimes vastly different. In my own experience, I’ve interviewed cowboys, CEOs, Elvis impersonators, and world-famous athletes. And, while there might be a few crossover examples, they’ve all ended up being completely different interviews.The best way to plan is to focus on those opening questions. You can write these out and even rehearse them. These simple, boilerplate questions will not only get you off on the right foot, but they can also help both you and your interviewee get comfortable and settled before you dive into more open-ended questions and conversations.Can you state your name and occupation for the camera?How do you spell your name (and occupation if it’s tricky)?Can you introduce yourself, as if we’ve never met before?Why are you here today?These are basically the first three or four questions I’ve asked at the beginning of every documentary shoot. The first ones are to make sure you have their information correct. You can always review this later to make sure you have all the correct spellings and their exact titles.Basic Information — Who/What/When/Where/WhyImage by Quality Stock Arts.I’ve also found it very helpful to have footage of interviewees introducing themselves to you — or directly to the camera. You can quickly learn about how they view themselves. The “Why are you here today?” question can be another great trick for getting them to talk about some themes they might be interested in exploring during your conversation.Overall, I’ve often tried to start off with a variation of this question (or questions) — “Who are you, what’s going on, and why does that matter?” — as a means to getting the who/what/when/where/why out of the way, early. The more basic information you can get from a documentary interviewee early on the better, as you’ll often need much of this background information when cutting your documentary together.Here are some additional guides for conducting documentary interviews:Interview Tips Every Documentary Filmmaker Should Know7 Reasons Why You Need a Producer for Your DocumentaryInterview: Tips for Blending Documentary and Narrative in “The Drug Runner” Discussion vs. QuestionsImage by Valmedia.Once you’ve gotten your basic information out of the way — and as much expository material as you can get — your real goal is to focus on discussion rather than just asking questions. Avoid “yes” or “no” questions at all costs! Instead, I’ve often found it best to view yourself more as a conversation moderator.In many ways, the idea of “scripting your documentary” becomes more important than the questions. Write out ideas, concepts, events, or themes that you’d like to have your documentary subject touch on, then lead them to those points.At the end of the day, conducting a good documentary interview comes down to just how prepared and knowledgeable you are — as well as how confident you are in the interview. Be an active listener, take good notes, and ask open questions that encourage active responses.Cover image by Valmedia.For more documentary filmmaking advice, as well as practical filmmaking tips and tricks, check out these articles:A Complete Guide to Documentary FilmmakingHow to Shoot Gorgeous Documentary InterviewsDocumentary Editing Tips for Working with Lots of FootageSundance 2019: Tips for Shooting Verité Documentary FootageThe 5 Tenets of Capturing Good B-Roll for Your Documentary