In the world of entertainment, the television and film industries have changed the way we escape our daily routine.
Whether it be a television series, a documentary, a movie or even the news, the silver screen is one which offers us an escape from our lives. Yet, while actors and actresses captivate our imagination with their performances, there are those who prefer to stay behind the scenes. Men and women who bring our favourite series and movies to life. These individuals are the directors and cameramen. People who truly set the scene for our enjoyment.
One such individual is Sandile Mando, a director and an ENG cameraman for Etv. A man who has filmed some of South Africa’s most popular series.
Hailing from Madadeni, how did Sandile work his way into the South African television and film industry?
“I was recruited by my church elders at World of Praise Church in Madadeni, to form part of the Church’s media crew, as my church was planning to buy filming equipment to record sermons.”
Giving it his all, Sandile says he immediately fell in love with filming, so much so that he soon found himself questioning his future.
“I was a Marketing Management student at the time, and I lost interest in it before completing the course. I then started looking for short courses for tv and film, until I made my first salary while working for a camera rental company in Randburg.
After his first salary at the company, Sandile knew exactly what he wanted to do and quit his job to join the Big Brother Africa Crew.
“From there, I made money to get a proper education in the field and doors began to open. I started getting jobs in well-known South African shows, such as City Sesla, Rhythm City, Late Night News with Loyiso Gola, Where Were You game show, Uzalo, Idols SA, Survivor SA, Our Perfect Wedding, Khumbul’ekhaya and many more. When the Guptas opened a News channel, I decided to jump into their ship and worked for ANN7. On my second year with ANN7, I was approached by eTV, offering me a position in their Durban Office.”
Currently working in both the Eastern Cape ad KwaZulu-Natal, Sandile explains his work entails filming, directing, editing and finding news stories for broadcast.
Dedicating his life to the television industry, what does Sandile enjoy about his career?
“I like the fact that I can help people and change peoples’ lives through the path I’m currently following. Being able to change someone’s life makes me sleep peacefully and motivates me to do more. I also like the fact that I don’t have to do the same thing every day,” Sandile explains.
Throughout the years in his career, what are some of the highlights Sandile has experienced through his career?
“In 2018, I was at Newcastle Mall and two young ladies approached me for help with transport money. I gave them R20, but I could see they were not ok. I tried speaking to them and one just started crying. They then told me they escaped from one of the clothing factories in Newcastle where they were slaves.”
Sandile explains he then suggested they conduct research on the story and they quickly realized there were over 60 other ladies who were also locked in the factory as slaves.
“We arranged for the Hawks to come to their rescue and they surely did. Seeing those people being freed after so many years of slavery, made me happy and I will never forget that.”
With the industry being a demanding one, how has Sandile grown as a person in the television industry?
“Usually in this country you don’t find people who can operate a camera, direct, edit and write for News, Film and Live television. I have made it a point that I will practice all these things over the years, and now I can safely say I am able to do all these things with ease. Furthermore, since I am now involved in the news industry, I have decided to study further and get more knowledge in this fraternity, and I have just completed my Journalism qualification and will be graduating early in 2020.”
Hailing from Newcastle and making a name for himself in the television industry, what advice can Sandile give to local youngsters?
“I am very proud to be from Newcastle, where a child used to be raised by the whole community, a place where we were taught to greet everyone; whether we know them or not. As a member of Newcastle’s youth, it is important to remember that we have a responsibility to maintain that culture because it is a known fact that the future of Newcastle is in its youth. Ignorance from young people will collapse Newcastle and lead all our peers to alcohol and drugs, so we need to unite and pride ourselves for being the youth of Newcastle and support one another in growing our skills, talents and careers. This will eventually result to cleaner, safer, warmer, happier and prosperous Newcastle.”
As a man who prides himself on growth, growing from strength to strength, Sandile has truly brought a sense of pride to Newcastle.