Open animation festival to take place at UJ

Come and join us at the AVIJOZI festival

By: Lindelani Mnisi

They say finding a job is a job, and in a developing nation such as ours, with the unfortunate history of high unemployment rates that it has, that job can be an overwhelming one at times.

Recorded at 32,9% in the first quarter of 2023, according to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS), South Africa’s unemployment rate describes a nation in peril, but sometimes the key to success can be something as simple as thinking outside the box. Which is exactly what Chocolate Tribe, in partnership with Netflix invites us to do at their AVIJOZI festival set to take place in September.

The AVIJOZI festival – an event centered around the business, and art, of animation, visual effects, and interactive technology – invites us to get out of our cubicles, our classrooms, our boardrooms, and unbox ourselves in this two-day spectacle where studio executives, professionals in the field, and other creatives will come together to share their expertise, collaborate, and network in a vibrant space.

Whether you wish to explore what a career in animation would look like, or are simply an avid fan who’s always wanted to know what the process behind creating animation must be, this free-of-charge festival set to take place at the stunning UJ arts & culture campus in Auckland park is open to enthusiasts and thrives on the spirit of community.

Although still relatively small, and young, our country has a thriving animation industry bubbling beneath the surface, which has been making strides in international markets of late, with several animated productions coming out of the continent this year, such as the 10-part anthology on Disney+, Kizazi moto: Generation fire,  and Netflix’s first original African animation series, Supa Team 4. So the industry shows positive signs of growth as demand for original content coming out of the continent surfaces.

A good example of the prominence, and potential, of the animation industry in our country is the award-winning high-end visual effects and animation studio, hosting the festival in partnership with Netflix, Chocolate Tribe. Just shy of a decade now having been established in 2014, the Johannesburg and Cape Town based studio brings together various stakeholders of our country’s animation industry, like the Animation school, Animation SA, and Epic Games, to name a few, for this electric festival which promises a range of engagements from masterclasses, to film production sessions over the two day period it is going to be hosted (16th and 17th September).

The event won’t just be a long corporate boring session either, as food vendors, and an artist corner, will also be present at the venue. Going for its second year now, the festival is surely gaining traction, serving as a hub for people to find out what projects are currently underway in the industry, as well as engage studio executives over their animation processes, and work culture.

The traditional STEM fields are all well and good, but we don’t all have to be doctors, and engineers. Not when there is a thriving animation industry set to grow with the recent demand for original African content, so there has never been a better time to be an African animator, or a fan of African animation. Whether you’re a young person looking for career direction, or a professional interested in networking in the industry, the AVIJOZI festival will be a thrilling event you’d want to attend, where you can familiarize yourself with the names, and faces, of people bringing awesome content to the screens, as well as the animation industry in the country in general. Attendees will have to register for the event on the AVIJOZI festival website.

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About the author:

An animator, writer, and philosopher. Lindelani Mnisi, a 2019 Activator from Mpumalanga, is a lover of many things art, history and science.

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