"Emakhaya" is an isiXhosa way of proudly declaring you live in the rural countryside. The characters in this film all express this sense of pride, because despite living in economically segregated areas, facing difficult circumstances which include low education levels, poor service delivery and a lack of infrastructure, they have managed to find different ways of empowering themselves and their community. This film explores the challenges of community-run businesses and projects, in areas far from the bigger towns and cities. It highlights the need for sustained and long-term support for these communities, and cites three NGOs, based in rural areas, that are doing some incredible work helping people to learn new skills, start businesses, and generate alternative incomes for their families.
Many people living in the rural areas along the coastline of South Africa lead a traditional life-style of relying on marine resources for food and income. A core philosophy of the Sustainable Seas Trust is that if people in rural areas could learn new skills and further their education, this would create income-earning alternatives, and relieve the pressure on our marine resources. Many of our films highlight this need, such as Life on the Rocks, and Counting on Crayfish.
But if we are to stress the need for community run projects, then the challenges, failures and successes of similar projects and businesses need to be explored. This film touches on this.
Above all, Emakhaya is a positive look into some of the local heroes in rural communities, who have managed to empower themselves and stand as examples for the rest of the community.