With several years in TV and film production and an award-winning short film behind him, Legend Manqele is capitalising on the new approach to visual entertainment.
Manqele grew up in Pietermaritzburg and Durban, discovering a love for drama in high school. With little knowledge about the broad spectrum of possible careers in the film and TV sector, he envisaged a career in acting.
After matriculating, he spent some months working in retail to save up for a small video camera to enhance his acting skills.
Then on a whim, he travelled by bus to visit friends in Johannesburg for the weekend, hoping to discover more about the world of broadcasting. “During a school tour to Johannesburg, we had passed the SABC. I hoped to go back there and sit in the audience while they recorded a show, just to see how things worked,” he says.
A show was being recorded at Urban Brew’s facilities in Randburg. The young Manqele ended up in the audience, and met the Urban Brew producers, who offered to show him around and offered him the opportunity to work as an intern.
Two weeks later, on his birthday on May 12, he was presented with a permanent employment contract. “They made me a production assistant at YoTV. I had to Google what a production assistant was! That was the ultimate birthday gift from the universe, and I seized the opportunity with both hands.” Director and producer Lara Cunha took him under her wing, helping to shape his career over the next few years. They later worked together on the multiple award-winning film Child.
In February this year, Manqele launched his own production house, Coup, with four employees and a handful of high profile clients. He sees the role of visual media changing, with more discerning audiences and more demanding sponsors. In the internet age, film, TV and even radio are merging, and Manqele aims to produce next generation programming appropriate for this new environment. He also hopes to collaborate more with international and pan-African production houses in future. — Tracy Burrows
via Mail & Guardian