The Africa Film Drama Art (AFDA) school for the creative economy has been the subject of an exhaustive debate on social media recently.
Why is everyone mad at AFDA?
Most of the discussion has centred around the uncertainty of what an AFDA degree gets you in the real world.
It all started when renowned entertainment news reporter Phil Mpela announced that former Generations soapie star Menzi Ngubane and ex Isibaya actress Jessica Nkosi will be joining the Fergusons-produced The Queen soap drama.
Twitter drags film college degrees as useless
Tweeps got in their feelings about the constant rotation of the same actors when there is a plethora of talent from accredited colleges like AFDA, who are stuck with degrees that are not unlocking opportunities for them.
This prompted backlash and things got a bit awry for those who pursued a degree at AFDA.
What benefits does an AFDA degree really hold?
There is a certain classist perception of people who come from AFDA. In the film industry, students from the film academy are looked at as entitled snobs.
Contrary to popular belief, this is not a discipline that the academy instils in its students. It is a social ill that is closely linked with materialism.
AFDA’s fees are pretty steep. This year’s academic fee structure for first-time applicants fetches for about R70 000 per student. That is a lot of money and so it is natural for false perceptions to develop around students from there.
But, what exactly do AFDA students get for their money and why does it seem like they don’t get access to the small screen as much as actors without formal education?
Let’s take a look at how the drama academy responded to the question:
“An AFDA degree prepares you to meet the creative challenges and the work ethic demanded by the entertainment industry. The programme aligns course substance with the various discipline skills, research, production analysis, planning and execution. Students are equipped with the resources to conceive ideas and bring them to life in productions that communicate effectively with their identified markets.”AFDA, FAQ
In the end, the actor’s fate is sealed at the casting and at that point, only true talent speaks for you, not a college certificate.