In a recent article in Forbes, it was concluded that one of the few broadcast industries not completely disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic was animation owing to a significant portion of the labourforce being able to work from home.

With the disruption of schools due to lockdown measures, learners looking for a pandemic-resistant career path need look no further than animation.  And it is with this in mind that the Gauteng Film Commision (GFC) & the African Animation Network (AAN) teamed up to respond to the crisis. With a series of “mini-workshops”, called FUPiVERSiTY, targeted at highschool learners.


In the words of Desmond Mthembu, Senior Manager, Industry Support Development at the GFC: “Animation is not only a pandemic-resistant industry, it has the potential to create a significant amount of employment for the youth of South Africa in a period when Africa is positioning itself as a global hotspot for animation services.  The GFC’s mandate is to promote Gauteng and South Africa as a film destination, we’d like that to extend to animation services and cement the province as an animation destination”.

“And for that to happen, we need a skilled workforce”, continued Nthabeleng Phora, Skills Training and Audience Development & Industry Support and Development at the GFC.  “Furthermore, with FUPiVERSiTY being an initiative run by AAN’s FUPiTOONS FESTiVAL, we believe that there are synergies between the young audience that view the festival content and the learners amongst them that would like to explore opportunities within the African animation industry”.

This groundswell in the African animation industry, referred to by Mthembu above, is articulated in a recent article in Forbes magazine.

The FUPiVERSiTY mini-workshops map a path for learners to develop skills in animation (Animation Hacks) and writing for animation (Writing 101) with the curricula developed respectively by Thinus van Rooyen (who completed his masters at les Gobelins, France and is currently doing a professorship at The Savannah College of Art and Design, USA) and Garland-Waide Bradford (Head of Communications at AAN and who has a BA Honours in Media Studies and has written for animation TV series).

According to Nick Wilson, Head of Projects & Content at AAN; “over a year ago Garland, Thinus and I discussed the challenges of entering the animation industry and reasoned that core skills can be acquired at relatively low expense.  Essentially, learners only need readily available stationary like pens, pencils and paper.  Thereafter, we developed some mini-workshops (3-5mins in duration, reasonably cost-effective in terms of data expenses) to convey this message. And to further underscore that learners don’t need expensive equipment to develop and produce decent content, we used a smartphone and a cheap microphone to record the mini-workshops”.

AAN also used the opportunity to blood some very promising interns in post-production; with Monicca Rampine as assistant video editor (who’s duties included colour grading), and Joel Mutshaeni as motion graphics designer.

The FUPiVERSiTY mini-workshops will go live on Monday, 17 August 2020 on the following platforms:

  • African Animation Network YouTube Channel: HERE
  • African Animation Network Facebook Page: HERE
  • Gauteng Film Commission YouTube Channel: HERE
  • Gauteng Film Commission Facebook Page: HERE


Thinus van Rooyen:




Marthinus “Thinus” van Rooyen is a professor of animation and an animation director, currently teaching at The Savannah College of Art and Design in the United States of America.

Thinus is a past lecturer at The Animation School in Johannesburg, South Africa.
He graduated in 2019 from the prestigious Gobelins l’ecole de l’image in Paris, France.
He is co-director of the film DOGS which is part of the Official Selection of Annecy Festival 2020.




Garland-Waide Bradford:

Garland-Waide Bradford has a career path that has varied from corporate work as a PR manager in communications strategy to media work as an insert producer for factual television.

Purposeful choices to integrate creative choices with market requirements, turning content into brands.
Growing up in a township meant that many educational opportunities were out of reach due to access and financial constraints.
Garland completed his BA Honours in Media Studies in 2017His focus has been on media management and has been studying models of sustainability in the media for several years.
He started his journey with the African Animation Network as Head of Communications in 2017 where he hopes to use his skills to empower aspirant African animation professionals to further their global reach.




Gauteng Film Commission:


The Gauteng Film Commission (GFC) develops, promotes and coordinates the film and television production industry in South Africa‘s wealthiest province. An agency of the Gauteng Provincial Government, we are tasked with positioning the province as a world-class destination for film-making as well as attracting local and international investments in the film and television industry.

Our core business is to facilitate and enhance the contribution of the industry to the economic growth of the province. The GFC markets Gauteng, with its world-class industry infrastructure, recognised expertise and wide range of locations, as a destination of choice. We also act as a centralised industry intelligence hub and ensure that people across Gauteng can experience the magic of cinema.

We work with industry, government agencies and other key stakeholders, advising on the development and growth of a sustainable audiovisual industry. We support the transformation of this sector into a world-class industry and our vision is to cultivate an environment that allows it to play a meaningful role in the socioeconomic development of Gauteng. (Read more HERE)