"My name is Onthatile Segokgwana Peele, I am a young woman who, for as long as I can recall, has always had a passion for cinema. This passion developed into a love and led me to leave my career and country to follow it to New York to study film directing. Not an easy task for a girl from Phokeng with an undergraduate degree in Statistics.
My meeting with Dr. Thandi Ndlovu was serendipitous. I had been accepted into and had completed my first year in a MFA in filmmaking at New York University (NYU). A graduate degree in film from NYU is a cinephile’s dream. Not only is it the number 1 film school in the world but; it is also where many of the directors we have come to idolize (Scorsese, Ang Lee, Spike Lee) studied.
Unfortunately, at the end of my first year of international study, as is the case with many young South Africans, I was unable to continue due to financial constraints. My family is unable to support me and my largest sponsor could not renew my bursary. However, as I said before, this is my love. I was not about to give up on my goal to become a great filmmaker and promote African Cinema on the world stage.
I started to pitch to companies to fund me to go back and complete my degree. In one such pitch, I was fortunate to meet Dr. Thandi Ndlovu, from the Motheo Construction Group. I was elated to hear that not only did they believe in what I was trying to do, but would also contribute towards my education. After months of cold calling and pitching to companies, this was a nothing short of a miracle. A glimmer of hope and an affirmation that what I was trying to do had merit.
The Dr. Thandi Ndlovu Children’s Foundation has been kind enough not only to provide me with financial support to help me pay a portion of my studies, but also great mentorship. I am very grateful to people who believe in any young person enough to support their vision to uplift their country, however crazy the medium may seem.Thank you to the Foundation for supporting young people such as myself. Our only wish is to make you all proud."
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