iDidTht: Congrats on the move to Bomb! Drinks on you later, but first tell us; what attracted you to them?
Justice: When I grew up in Soweto The Bomb Shelter created a TV series called Yizo Yizo. It was groundbreaking and in a lot of ways that series inspired my approach to authenticity in telling the stories I want to tell. Yizo Yizo was such an honest reflection of the life I was living and exactly how I saw the people around me and that’s what attracted me to Bomb initially. I’m excited about the next chapter where I get to tell more of the bigger and prouder stories that I’m interested in.
iDidTht: In your first week at Bomb you already pitched on three massive boards. What kind of work are you passionate about and what touches you on your studio?
Justice: As directors, we have the potential to correct some of the wrongs in our country because we can speak to a whole spectrum of South Africans. I don’t take that opportunity lightly. Generally, my positioning is that I want to tell authentic stories but I want to give real people the opportunity to tell their own stories. In at least 90% of my ads I didn’t cast actors, but rather real people.
I don’t want to sell my soul. I want to do something that speaks to my heart and that speaks to the people. That’s what’s important. So whatever it takes, I’ll do.
iDidTht: What stories aren’t being told authentically?
Justice: I think the portrayal of our black people in South Africa is not accurate. I don’t think all of it is inclusive of the greater majority. That’s why when I do my work I don’t like to use actors.
iDidTht: You mostly do street castings, surely that’s a bit intimidating? Walking up to strangers asking to film them?
Justice: Haha, yes it can be a bit like asking someone on a date. But I’m a guy from Soweto who can speak all 11 official languages and I like to think that I’m quite a mindful person, so I’m able to really engage with people. And if you look in the right spaces you can find people that are a much stronger representation of our country than what we are currently seeing in ads. And you’ll be surprised how many people out there want to be famous.
iDidTht: Yeah, we’re also still waiting for our Charlize Theron moment! But back up there Batman, you speak all 11 official languages?
Justice: Ha! Yes. I’m Venda and because of tribalism or other issues in our country, I had to learn all the other languages because very few people can speak my language. I picked up English and Afrikaans a bit later in life. For most of my life, I never engaged with white people, because it was hard to express myself, so while I was working at FCB I had to learn English by reading children’s books with my brother…and I guess I’m still learning.