AVIJOZI 2024: Everything you need to know from Festival Director and CEO of Chocolate Tribe Nosipho Maketo-van den Bragt

Mark your calendars! On September 14-15, 2024, Chocolate Tribe, in collaboration with Netflix, proudly presents the third annual AVIJOZI Festival. This world-class festival spotlights Film, Animation, Visual Effects, and Interactive Technology, including Gaming. We spoke to Festival Director and the leading force behind AVIJOZI, Nosipho Maketo-van den Bragt to find out how the festival has levelled up this year and what exactly we can expect. Whether you’re a professional filmmaker, a gaming enthusiast, or starting out- you won’t want to miss AVIJOZI 2024!

IDIDTHAT: For those who haven’t attended in the past, what is AVIJOZI?

Nosipho: AVIJOZI is an animation, visual effects, interactive (gaming) and film festival. The two-day free access event is a platform where you can share your creativity and personal journey with others and find collaborators to connect with. It’s a place where you can potentially meet your next project or employer/employee. This year’s AVIJOZI theme is #collaborate. There will be masterclasses from industry leaders on filmmaking, scriptwriting, programming, behind the scenes demonstrations, the future of AI, legal implications and more. We will have panel discussions, keynote speakers and networking spots. It’s a place for sharing ideas, insights and thought leadership. In a nutshell, it’s two days of knowledge sharing, fun, music, stunts, VR demos, game jams, delicious food, and guest speakers from different places all over the world.

I want to tell a truly African story and it’s one of success and rich creativity. AVIJOZI highlights the myriad of stories within us that need to be told so that we continue re-imagining ourselves with agency and become heroes in our narratives.

IDIDTHAT: What highlights from the last two AVIJOZI events have stuck with you?

Nosipho: People who have come to me and said they met collaborators, their next project, found their passion, a job or opened a studio because of AVIJOZI. That makes me feel like we are impacting in a real way.

IDIDTHAT: We heard it’s taking place in a new venue, why the move?

Nosipho: We’ve chosen the beautiful Summer Place in Hyde Park, Johannesburg. When I travel to international festivals, they are not only well-curated, but they offer a wonderful experience. You feel valued and looked after. We wanted to recreate the same feeling and experience with AVIJOZI and the new venue allows us to bring that vision to life. 

A lot of people see creativity, especially in Africa, as something that lives in little pokey spaces on the outskirts. We have international guests coming and we want to showcase that Africa can be inspirational but also aspirational. For the locals, especially the younger creatives, we want to show them the beauty within their backyard. 

Summer Place in Hyde Park, the venue for this year’s AVIJOZI festival

IDIDTHAT: Why choose Joburg as the host city for AVIJOZI?

Nosipho: I have a deep love affair with Joburg. I was born here, and I like to believe with the right team and attitude, we get things done. AVIJOZI for me in a way is an ode to the city, the City of Gold. A place that was magical, an Eldorado of sorts and that broke the mould. Joburg is the lifeblood of this country, dare I say the continent of Africa. AVIJOZI speaks to the core of Joburg in that it seeks to elevate, break the mould, shift narratives and perceptions of how we live, connect and collaborate as Africans.

IDIDTHAT: Who can attend AVIJOZI?

Nosipho: AVIJOZI is the ultimate inclusive space. We have industry professionals who attend because they love to share their experience and knowledge. Some professionals come to look for new collaborators, investment opportunities or they just want to stay up to date on the latest trends.

We also have young people between 15 and 35 who attend, because they are at the beginning of their career paths, and others looking to move up in their careers. Last year we saw close to 4000 people over the two days, this year we are hoping to exceed this number with your support of course. Anyone with a budding interest or real experience in animation, VFX and film will enjoy AVIJOZI; from Editors, Directors, Producers, VFX Supervisors, film distributors, and drone operators to budding creatives and passionate gamers.


IDIDTHAT: Are you a gamer?

Nosipho: Ha, ha not really… I mean I used to play Super Monkey Balls and Crash Bandicoot with my kids.  Don’t tell anyone, but my all-time favourite game is Pac-Man! Gaming is fast growing as an industry, no longer just as a teenage fun pursuit but also, as a business. There is exponential growth and its bringing animation and VFX along with it. 

IDIDTHAT: Did our eyes deceive us or is AVIJOZI free, and why?

Nosipho:  Yes, totally free! You do need to register for a ticket. We wanted to eliminate any barriers to entry. After all, AVIJOZI is about upliftment and collaboration, but make no mistake, this event is of the highest calibre thanks to sponsorship mainly from Netflix and Chocolate Tribe.

We are excited to also have the support from the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), the Gauteng Film Commission (GFC) and hopefully other partners will come on board to allow us to continue doing this impactful work. This event is of the same quality as the top overseas events of its kind. All people have to do is register online to attend or simply scan the barcode on the flyer…

We’ve got your back so we posted the flyer to scan below.

Scan the barcode above to register now and get your free ticket for AVIJOZI 2024.

IDIDTHAT: What was your intention three years ago when you launched AVIJOZI?

Nosipho: Our initial aim was to uplift the industry, creating awareness about animation and VFX, but I think it’s grown into more than just that. Many people have not been to Japan or New York City, but we know these places so well because of the power of image, yet that’s not the same for Africa still! People think of Africa and imagine it as this struggling continent, where we all live in huts with our pet lions. For me, it’s about imagining Africa in a different way to what we’ve seen depicted and what better way to do that than through the power of visuals – Animation, VFX and film. This event is a way to create a narrative of excellence and bring the entire global community with us.

I want to tell a truly African story and it’s one of success and rich creativity. AVIJOZI highlights the myriad of stories within us that need to be told so that we continue re-imagining ourselves with agency and become heroes in our narratives. 

It’s about rewriting how we have been perceived from a business perspective and from a storytelling perspective. We want to create a story that aligns more with who we are at our core and connects us to the rest of the world. I might never get to see the full impact AVIJOZI will have, but if others do, that was the point.

IDIDTHAT: There’s also a major emphasis on connecting Africa.

Nosipho: Absolutely, it’s about building bridges to other African countries. About celebrating Africa and it’s infinite potential. Our theme this year for AVIJOZI is #Collaborate, it sounds very simple but for us it’s very powerful. If we can come together as Africa, we will be a formidable force. We are currently collaborating with 2 other festivals in Ivory Coast (AfroVFX) and another in Kenya (Visage).

IDIDTHAT: Tell us how the event connects creativity to business.

Nosipho: We are telling stories that resonate globally, that we can sell, which means we have a product. There is so much appetite for the African continent. Our creativity here is a business, it requires investors, marketing, all the structure that any other top business requires. At the event, there will be courses on the legal side of creativity, how to effectively run a creative business. At the end of the day, AVIJOZI is about amplifying creativity in every way possible. We want to move the needle not only for South Africa, but for Africa as a whole in terms of creative, technical and business excellence.

IDIDTHAT: How did you get into this field?

Nosipho: (Laughing) Look, I started out as a practising attorney, drawn to Human Rights Law, Labour Law and finding ways of including and opening up spaces for others. Over time I embraced all my passions and realised that I can be logical and artistic at the same time. These skills live in the same place of storytelling. Lawyers are versed in storytelling. Having connected the dots, I finally came out as a creative as well and I now fully own all my personas.

IDIDTHAT: What would you say to your younger self?

Nosipho: Oh, this question lives rent-free in my head. I was always so anxious of being flaky, indecisive, all over the place – especially as a woman, you are told you can only be one thing. Often subservient. So, to my younger self, it’s okay to accept all the different aspects of who you are (sometimes they are even conflicting), but that’s how you discover yourself and become whole. I am a festival director, lawyer, CEO, a creative and many other things.

AVIJOZI is not just a once-off event, outside the event there is a whole movement. Find out more here. 

Wanna (s)talk some more? Check out Chocolate Tribe’s Company Website.

Contact Chocolate Tribe

MD: Nosipho Maketo-van den Bragt
011 327 6346

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Produced by the IDIDTHAT Content Studio – Credits: Anne Hirsch (Writer) / Julie Maunder

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