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It Happened to Me

It Happened to Me

This series of documentaries aims to tell a number of compelling human stories while at the same time informing  audiences of issues around serious illnesses that affect South Africans across the socio-economic divides. It is a knowledge building series that also speaks of the human spirit’s will to heal and survive.

Titles in this series include: Moments of Grace: This is a story of a powerful and influential business woman whose life was changed forever, while she was driving home to see her family. According to her, the Creator wanted an encounter of a close kind with her: “My body seemed to be on its own mission.” She drove herself to hospital, where the initial diagnosis was a double stroke but a brain scan revealed a dark cloud of blood in her brain. Her sojourn to grace had begun, and she was on her way to receiving one of the greatest gifts God could bestow on her.

Flying Solo: Simon is 41 years old. Four years ago Simon went paragliding and something went horribly wrong, and his glider went crashing into the side of a mountain. Simon broke his back and neck in a few places and as a result became a quadriplegic. Three years later Simon decided to get back into flying as it is the one thing he loves to do. He realised what he was still capable of and began the Disabled Aviation Association, which allows disabled people to become pilots and enjoy the freedom of flight.

Rockey Street to Recovery: A woman in a pawn shop is pawning her wedding ring. She gets the money and runs out of the shop, to her local dealer on the corner. There, she buys a rock of crack and a pipe. She heads into the nearest public toilet and has her hit. We watch as her demeanor changes. She walks out of the toilet, high-on her way to nowhere.

Taming the Brain: Here we find a mother Maria Sithole, who has been told her child is hyperactive and needs to go on Ritalin. Maria agrees that her child’s behaviour is exasperatingly energetic, but she is not sure about the drugs. We go on a journey as she researches the facts around Ritalin. Eventually she decides to put Nkatheko on the drug, but within days he turns into a walking zombie. Unable to bear it she takes him off the drug and tries to change him to occupational therapy. Nkatheko’s behaviour improves, but his energy levels stay the same.

Drowning in a Bottle: Frank Ngidi is a very lucky man. One day on his daily walk to the shebeen, he was convinced by a stranger to attend a party of a different sort. So began Franks relationship with Alcoholics Anonymous- an organization he considers his salvation. Now a struggle veteran and old man, Frank’s intervention was well timed. His bright future as a highly intelligent youth was not af fected by his alcoholism and at present Frank is an official of a government he fought to get into power. Lebo in his late twenties, is not so lucky, he is an adult in a South Africa where every opportunity was his for the taking. He was offered a scholarship to Wits University and while chasing his dreams, he began also enjoying the social life of a student. Unlike his peers, who still made it to class after big nights out; Lebo’s drinking started seriously affecting his studies. This film looks at the disease of Alcoholism through these two men whose similarities are uncanny, yet whose destinies are completely different.

A boy called Siya: Siya Noveve is a 13 year old boy with a gentle sense of humor. When Siya was 8, he was diagnosed with DMD – Ducheme Muscular Dystrophy – an X-chromosome linked degenerative disorder affecting all the muscles of the body. It is the most severe form of Muscular Dystrophy. At present there is no cure and DMD is eventually fatal. Siya’s story is a moving film about a brave young boy who has to face a debilitating and ultimately, fatal, disorder. It is the story of a mother, who wants the world to understand what is happening to them, and maybe themselves as well.

Township Fruit: Babalwa Matomela is 22 year old, who speaks easily and open about her past even though until just a year ago she was keeping much of it a secret. At the age of 8 she was first molested by a family friend. He repeatedly raped her over a period of time. Babalwa kept this secret, so as to protect her mother who was focused on the family’s survival and her church responsibilities. The secret took its toll as Babalwa began having blackouts and eventually tried to commit suicide twice. During high school, Babalwa became promiscuous and increased her drinking, which started at the age of 11 years. She used drugs and alcohol to numb her feelings of fear and shame. The result was that she was raped 9 times, including one time by her own boyfriend.

No time for Good-byes: Our subject, a ballet dancer, travelling with her husband and young child in an off-road vehicle. An accident occurs and both mother and child are flung from the vehicle and the mother survives. The child is not so lucky and is rendered paraplegic after her back is broken. Our story sensitively looks at one woman’s journey back from the abyss of despair. Today, she teaches dancing at a school in Botswana and is a role model to her community.

Amazing Grace: The story of Grace, an ex beauty queen, magazine editor and writer who has been living with HIV for 23 years. She was first diagnosed with the virus in 1985. She has been married twice, won the jackpot, gone bankrupt, and even sent to a hospice to die. She tried churches, traditional healers and was one of the few people in the country to be put on the Nevaropin drug. The enacting scenes of her life, are based in the past.

Cancer of the Soul: You’ve met them a dozen times, one moment they’re charming, interesting and full of life. The next thing, they go “mad”. You don’t want schizophrenic, psychotic people in your life.

The truth is, these people are suffering either of the two most misunderstood mental illness: Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) or Bipolar Disorder (more commonly known as manic depression). Both these diseases afflict at least one out of every 100 people in South Africa. Yet most people are unaware of their affliction and don’t get any treatment. This is especially true for the black communities of our country, for whom psychological and psychiatric services are most always unavailable or too expensive. In this documentary we explore, through two main characters, what exactly these disorders are and how they affect the daily lives of the sufferers and their loved ones.

Miracle Child is about the producer’s brother, Vuyo. Vuyo was born with a condition known as Spinal bifida. The doctors declared his spinal cord as dead and did not think he would survive long. Today he is a basketball player, and takes part in other forms of sport such as body building and archery.

Forgiveness – Liberation of the soul: The film picks up the story of Ginn Fourie, national icon, 14 years after she choose to forgive her daughter, Lyndi’s bombers. Does Ginn ever experience a surge of anger toward them? Is that forgiveness real? Given that her husband has not forgiven them, how has their marriage been affected?

Jody’s Story: This programme seeks to address health and wellness issues around disability through the story of a paraplegic woman who overcame severe physical, emotional and mental trauma. Despite her disability this extra-ordinary woman became a business woman and a trailblazer for  other persons with disability.

  • Duration: 48 minutes
  • Episodes: 13
  • Language/s: Multilingual - English subtitles
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