The Vuma pop-up cinema hosts chidlren from the neighbourhood over weekends and public holidays. Picture: Supplied
The Vuma pop-up cinema hosts chidlren from the neighbourhood over weekends and public holidays. Picture: Supplied

Free Khayelitsha pop-up cinema for children

By Keshia Africa Time of article published Dec 2, 2021

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A young entrepreneur Buhle Sithela, 26, cleaned bins until he saved enough money to create Vuma pop-up cinema for children in Khayelitsha.

Making use of different venues around the Khayelitsha, Sithela hosts movie screenings for 40 - 70 children depending on the location. Each child is also offered a meal and a snack when they watch the movie.

The Vuma pop-up cinema is free of charge for all children. To keep track, Sithela has weekly sign-up sheets for the children to book their spots.

Sithela said the screenings were hosted over the weekends and on public holidays.

“We noticed that the children have nothing to do and we wanted to do something to keep them occupied.”

He added: “I realised that films can expose them to so much more than what they’re used to.”

Sithela said after each movie, the group engages in a discussion, allowing them to express their views.

Sithela, from Khayelitsha, studied events management at CPUT in 2014. Through his studies, he gained an internship at Short and Sweet drive-in cinema. Although he dropped out in his second-year of university, he still uses what he learned then.

Buhle Sithela is excited to share the Vuma pop-up cinema further than Khayelitsha

“I was part of the crew. This was where I learned how to set up projectors and do sound,” he said.

Sithela said that through his internship, he was inspired to share that experience with the people in his community.

“I wanted to use film to engage children. I wanted this to be a social impact project where we create an impact using films.”

Although he never completed his studies, Sithela said he is grateful for the opportunity to use what he learned, for the pop-up cinemas.

“I am passionate about setting up events for people. I realised it wasn’t going to be easy but I did what I had to, to make it work.”

Sithela raised money for the cinema by clean bins for money.

“I needed money to buy the projector and everything else we needed.”

Sithela said the Vuma pop-up cinema is run solely off donations.

“Everything works with donations, including the food."

The Vuma pop-up cinema is run by Sithela along with the assistance of individuals who help with cooking.

In future, Sithela wants to take the Vuma pop-up cinema to children all around South Africa.

"In the next two weeks, we are taking the cinema to the Eastern Cape and we hope to offer this service to as many children as possible."

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