The Beginning of the Back Story

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By Suzanne Cross

Well, we’re here at Nkomo Primary School in rural South Africa and this is our first week of filming.  We prepared as much as we knew how to, given the time limits before we left.

Now that we’re starting to roll the film, we hope that we can begin to capture an exciting story, and not just a back-story narrative of how the school began.  We will really need some climax points to keep the viewers engaged, and not just a collage of “talking head” interviews. 

We also want to keep in mind that important rule that you cannot have too much B roll (transition footage)

Alexis begins to film, following Mrs. Zikhali, the Nkomo Principal as she takes us on a tour of the school grounds and introduces us to the four trees where the school really started, behind the classroom buildings.  Well, our first bit of misinformation is about to come out. 

The Nkomo School really began several kilometers away on the other side of the river, in a field under just one tree.  OOPS!  Too late to change the film title and website, but we take a trip to the river where it all began. 

Turns out crossing the river everyday with 35 young children to meet up with the 25 learners on the other side was a very treacherous journey.  During the rainy season the river swells and is full of crocodiles and hippos; not a safe crossing for one woman in a hand-made boat with so many children. 

After the first year, the community elders decided it would be better to locate the school on the side where the most children live, and there would be no more rivers to cross. Thus began Nkomo School’s new life under the four trees.


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