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Noem My Skollie. Credit: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG – SA filmmaker John W Fredericks has had much to celebrate since the release of his autobiographical film. Now the Oscars light has shone on his labour of love.

“Humbled! @noemmyskollie is officially SA’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film for the 89th Annual Academy Awards #Oscars” Fredericks said on Tuesday, after the announcement.

“I stand all amazed! Sold out cinemas! Jumping into the top 10! Huge accolades! WOW! So, once upon a time in the late 90’s I was working as a Security Officer for House of Representatives on various sites.

The last of my 13 years at Ottery School of Industries.Lots of youth at risk there and I could share my wisdom of the bad side of gang life with them.

Then I was invited to speak to a group of sentenced and awaiting trial prisoners at Pollsmoor Prison. A place where my blood, sweat and tears lies buried in the foundation of that Prison. When I entered that prison yard that sunny day, I was transported back to the days of my troubled youth. Looking at them, I identified myself among st them. I was moved and I felt a stirring deep inside my soul.

I spoke from the heart and a hush ascended in the courtyard, even the Warders were attentive. I was back in time, mesmerizing prisoners, and I could see the tears pooling in their eyes.

I think that was another MAJOR turning point in my life.

My Mother’s words echoed in my brain; “Djy moet waaksaam wees Johnie, jy het ‘n calling”. So I gave up my day job to go and work for a pittance as a creative writing Facilitator with CRED in various prisons across the Western Cape.I was 50 years old. And now NMS.

THIS is my CALLING, telling stories to a global audience. Hosh JA!”

Noem My Skollie is described as a cautionary tale about a young man who decides not to join the number gangs and instead finds a way to raise his status in prison as a storyteller but perhaps more than anything it is about the power of love, telling the story of how the lead character gets the girl of his dreams,(who in real life he has been married to for forty years.)

– IOL