Understanding film and video as tools for change : applying participatory video and video advocacy in South Africa
The purpose of this study is to examine critically the phenomenon of participatory video and to situate within this the participatory video project that was initiated as part of this study in the informal settlement area of Kayamandi, South Africa. The overall objective of the dissertation is to consider the potential of participatory video within current-day South Africa towards enabling marginalised groups to represent themselves and achieve social change. As will be shown, the term ‘participatory video’ has been used broadly and applied to many different types of video products and processes. For the preliminary purposes of this dissertation, participatory video is defined as any video (or film) process dedicated to achieving change through which the subject(s) has been an integral part of the planning and/or production, as well as a primary end-user or target audience. The two key elements that distinguish participatory video are thus (1) understanding video (or film) as a tool for social change; and (2) understanding participation by the subject as integral to the video process. An historical analysis thus considers various filmmaking developments that fed into the emergence of participatory video. These include various film practices that used film as a tool for change -- from soviet agitprop through to the documentary movement of the 1930s, as well as various types of filmmaking in the 1960s that opened up questions of participation. The Fogo process, developed in the late 1960s, marked the start of participatory video and video advocacy and provided guiding principles for the Kayamandi project initiated as part of this dissertation. Practitioners of the Fogo process helped initiate participatory video practice in South Africa when they brought the process to South African anti-apartheid activists in the early 1970s. The Kayamandi Participatory Video Project draws on this background and context in its planned methodology and its implementation. Out of this, various theoretical issues arising from participatory video practice contextualise a reflection and an analysis of the Kayamandi project. Lastly, this study draws conclusions and recommendations on participatory video practice in South Africa.