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Inspiring crew visits Pilgrim’s to film travel documentary

Frieda Paton

A film crew descended on Pilgrim’s Rest from June 28-30 to shoot a travel documentary as part of a series. What was unusual about these filmmakers is that they were not part of some large outfit but two enthusiastic, self-funded entrepreneurs driven by their passion for travel and film-making.

Soltern Gutsa and Sfiso Shabangu are their mid-thirties and reside in Nelspruit.

They both have a background in graphic design and web development. After meeting up one day, they discovered that they had shared interests and decided to team up. They founded Travel my SA and kicked off with Project 52 to promote tourism in South Africa – 52 travel films, in 52 locations, in 52 weeks.

Thus far funds for the project have come mainly out of their own pocket, with some sponsorship of self-catering accommodation and a meal here and there. Their equipment is very basic, but they are using what they have and believing that one day they will be able to afford state of the art cameras, lenses and computers. “We didn’t want the equipment to stop us. We didn’t want to wait” explained Gutsa. “We just told ourselves that the best thing we can do is to start.” When asked about their training in film-making Shabangu jokingly explained that they were attending the University of YouTube – you can learn anything there.

The first films are being made in Mpumalanga as this is where the team is based. Pilgrim’s Rest was the fifth film in the series which has so far covered Mpakeni, Matsulu, Nkomazi, and Waterval Boven. The team worked long and hard while in Pilgrim’s Rest but appeared to have enjoyed the hospitality of the locals, explaining in a Facebook post that they had expected to roll their cameras down the streets “but ended up having a panoramic history lecture and making genuine friends”.

The team is hoping that they might in future get a series on television, but for this, they need to build up content first. In the meantime, they are sharing their work on social media and on YouTube. When you meet up with this team their energy and enthusiasm are truly inspiring. You can support them in their contribution to tourism by following their progress on Travel my SA on social media.

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