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Young aspiring filmmakers have someone to look up to in Aliki Saragas.

Aliki is an alumnus of the University of Cape Town, where she studied and achieved her BA and Honours in dramatic arts and subsequently, a two-year master’s degree in documentary filming.

In 2015 she started her own production company, Elafos Productions, which focuses on women’s stories.

“I’ve always had a strong urge to remain independent in my work, and knew I wanted to create a production company that focuses on women’s stories.

“I never thought I’d start my own company so early in my career, but I guess things happen as they do,” said Aliki.

Aliki has recently directed her own documentary through Elafos Productions called Strike A Rock, which centers around two women living in Nkaneng, Marikana.

The Marikana area became internationally known after August 2012, when 37 miners on strike were shot dead by police. An event now known as the Marikana Massacre.

“It wasn’t easy, especially as a first-time filmmaker to venture into such an emotionally charged and complex story. There were many times it was incredibly difficult,” she said.

Strike A Rock resonated with people all over the globe. So much so, that it has earned the Audience Award for Best South African Documentary at the Encounters South African International Documentary Film Festival.

Yet another massive achievement for our country.

Aliki attributes the film’s success to her (really huge) production team. Emmy award-winning company Uhuru Productions, producers of Miners Shot Down, contributed their skills as co-producers for the documentary, as well as herself and two other producers.

“I also had an incredibly strong and supportive team around me, especially when times got tough (you will see how long the credit list is!),” said Aliki.

Aliki noted that it was the women of Marikana who inspired her to film the documentary. “The realities of the devastation of the Marikana massacre that took place on 16 August 2012 is widely known and has been criticised globally. But there are voices that have yet to be heard. Voices from the strong women leaders and the community that surrounds the mine have seemingly been erased from the narrative,” she said.

Aliki is a hugely inspirational figure in a country where youth a faced with insanely daunting challenges and threats of perpetual unemployment.

To our country’s young people, Aliki says: “Our generation will be judged by our ability to make real change, not just from our armchairs but through action, solidarity and helping each other rise.

“A moment doesn’t take a movement. It takes a team, resources, guts and a lot of help. Whatever sex you are, whatever age – keep curious and keep questioning structures around you.”

-Tyler Roodt