Sylvia Vollenhoven

Picture by George Hallett

Award-winning Journalist, Filmmaker and Writer. Winner of the Mbokodo Prize for Literature. Nominee SA Film & TV Awards 2016 for Best Director and Best Documentary. Her film in development, The Keeper of the Kumm, was part of the National Film & Video Foundation (NFVF) showcase at the Cannes Film Festival. Her play of the same name opened to critical acclaim at SA’s National Arts Festival, before embarking on a national tour. The Kumm play and film are based on the book short-listed for the City Press inaugural non-fiction award and published by Tafelberg in June 2016. This is a unique cross platform project that will also comprise digital as well as educational extensions. The aim of the project is addressing the neglected and distorted histories of South Africa’s indigenous people.

SA Producer for the BBC 2-part mini series Mandela the Living Legend. A play she co authored, My Word, Redesigning Buckingham Palace, was chosen for a run on London’s West End. It received a four-star review in the prestigious Times newspaper. My Word was also on the Main Programme at SA’s National Arts Festival. The Festival featured another of her plays, Cold Case, Revisiting Dulcie September. It won both a Standard Bank Audience Award and the inaugural Adelaide Tambo Award for Human Rights in the Arts.

Producer and Director of the Via TV series (DSTV) CO.ZA about South Africans in the Diaspora. Vollenhoven’s original concept.

A Knight Fellow who led a project to improve coverage of poverty and development issues in Ghana for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The young people she trained in Ghana won many awards including the CNN African Journalist of the Year prize.

Commissioned by the SABC 3 to produce a four-part mini series called Striking A Chord, that tells the stories of iconic South Africans using music and memory. An episode in this series, Emo Adams – Tall, Dark & Afrikaans – was nominated for two SAFTAs.

In 2011 commissioned by the SABC 2 to produce two investigative documentaries: Project Spear, a probe into the billions looted from state coffers in the dying days of the apartheid regime as well as a film on the neglected former MK (ANC military wing) cadres who live on the margins of society, Roar Young Lions. Project Spear was never shown and became the subject of a High Court battle.

Founder of VIA – Vision in Africa, that has spearheaded innovative international cross platform media training initiatives. As the Africa representative for the Thomson Foundation (UK) she was the lead trainer for the Foundation’s first-ever documentary filmmaking course at Cardiff University. Her students’ work was chosen for screening on the UK’s Channel 4.

In the early 90’s, Vollenhoven was the Southern African Correspondent for the Swedish newspaper, Expressen, and was awarded Sweden’s top journalism prize by Scandinavia’s prestigious Publicist Klubben.

For a decade Vollenhoven was a TV executive at the SABC and was simultaneously the Southern Africa Coordinator for the International Public Television (INPUT) organisation