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Resourceful film maker joins the fight against gender based violence

We don’t create because of talent but because we are driven to change the world.” – KING DENNY X

Art is so profusely dynamic that a single shot can tell a thousand words. That is what photographer and videographer Denny Mathebula strives to achieve every time. All he needs is his lense.

The talented self-taught photographer and filmmaker based in Nelspruit, Hazyview has a few titles to add to his long list of talents – namely; director, editor, camera operator, colourist, music video shooting, visual marketing and boudoir photography.

Working under his alias ‘King Denny X’, he has gained popularity in the film and photography industry. He partook in the 48 Hour Film Project International in Johannesburg, a first for MP and shot the Department of Public Works Scholar Transport Documentary, the biggest project he has embarked in thus far. The photographer has 5 movies under his belt all shot in Nelspruit and also worked with various companies for projects nationwide.

“Photography was something I began in 2014 when I got my first smartphone, the Black Berry Z10 and from then I kept on shooting. I always was a talented and curious kid from Grade 4. The world around me intrigued me so I got into film early 2009 when my obsession grew after watching behind the scenes of Jurassic Park,” said Denny X.

The 48 Hour Film Project International is a competition designed to find creative minds around the world and challenge aspirants with film production, placing importance on skill, time, creativity and group work. These are the qualities which he took and implemented in his work today. With those skills he embarked in self-education photography.

“Self-education in photography involves practice and discipline. To me self-education photography is like any other skill out there, but the only challenge here is you are more focused on what matters to you, and looking beyond the subject to evoke different emotions with a single shot,” he elaborated. 

So often as an artist, using your platform and experience is beneficial in raising awareness on certain societal issues. For Denny, he has dabbled on such ventures. He and a friend are tackling issues of scorned women with their ‘gender based violence’ campaign.

When I asked Denny a pressing question about how can he further use his talents to tackle the issues women and children face in his community, he shared some sentiments. “The biggest issue now in every community is crime and GBV. The problem with all these issues we are currently facing is that they are far from being solved. We tried a few things and it never worked for hundreds of years, we even send people to jail and fail.”

The filmmaker reckons that fixing the problem when it has already rapidly evolved could not work, so he believes in getting to the root of the problem. Changing the environment in which rapists are brewed is important for him as it will help raise more responsible men. “If you want to get rid of a tree, you do not cut the branches, you remove the roots,” he says.

Denny has been very observant about how photography is used to save lives all over the world with the aid of Social Media. Working on social issues himself, he saw how influencers are the new weapon to spread awareness. With that said, he would collaborate with the biggest social media influencers and shoot a short film monthly. This way for Denny is more effective as it is the ‘only’ way to get the attention from the youth.

“I always believed I’m here for a reason and not every one of us has the same idea about life. To me the only positive way I have used my skills was to pass on what I know. Without you someone out there is suffering, without your skills someone in the future will never have a better life,” he concluded.

To view his work visit the YouTube channel: King Denny X and follow him on twitter @RealKingDennyX.


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