Often our Achilles heel — our shadow side, or the part of ourselves we struggle with — becomes the perfect portal for growth and our greatest, unexpected ally. For Mark Kaplan, activist filmmaker, it was his shyness. Winner of an Emmy and numerous international awards for films  that explore social justice, memory and search for accountability, Kaplan’s Rhodesian childhood home didn’t feature cameras. But when his university girlfriend kept invading his space with her lens, he picked up a camera in defence — and found that he really liked it. Soon still photography led to moving film. But Kaplan’s relationship with film really starts in the apartheid-infected 1970s when he was asked to run the first community video centre in SA. Part of the University of Cape Town’s extramural studies, the centre supported activists from various struggle organisations. For the participants, acquiring these video skills came at a cost as they were breaking both their banning orders and defying the ...

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