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Family of TV and film legend donates equipment to TUT

A legend in the South African TV and Film industry, Richard Nosworthy, passed away in April this year. Richard had a passion for teaching and mentoring the youth, seen with his involvement in teaching workshops to screenwriters (called ‘the Scribe Writer’s Room’) and other training programmes. Therefore, his family decided to donate a large portion of his film and television equipment, books and DVDs to TUT’s Motion Picture Production programme within the Department of Visual Communication, Faculty of Arts and Design.

The donation was facilitated by Dr Anna-Marie Jansen van Vuuren, Film lecturer and a long-time friend of Nosworthy. She served with him on the board of the Writers Guild of South Africa (WGSA) as well as the jury of the South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs).

“I regarded Richard as a true sage or mentor. I initially met him in 2017 when I signed up for a course on ‘Developing a Drama Series’. However, this was not just a normal course. The six participants gathered at his house every Monday night for the next six months to brainstorm and work on this series as members of a Writer’s Room” – a valuable simulated experience of what happens in writers’ rooms within the international television industry. We developed a drama series called Snakes and Ladders which has a lot of potential to be exploited within the South African market. And of course, robust debates were held in this Writers’ Room, but it always ended in a smile.”

With a career spanning more than forty years, Nosworthy might perhaps be best remembered for co-creating and producing the series The Wild for M-Net. At the time, The Wild was the first soap or telenovela to be filmed on location (instead of in a studio) in South Africa. However, it might be of interest to note that his first stint in the industry (after leaving the Johannesburg Market Theatre) was producing and directing the programme Botswerere for BopTV. Thereafter, programmes like The Edge, Zikalele, Hare Bopaleng, Madidlale, Bentley, Pikin and Fotostories would follow. He was specifically proud of A Case of Murder (M-Net 2005) and Jozi Streets (eTV 2004).

“Richard had a set of diverse skills in the industry. He is one of the few people I know who could pick up a camera and be a cinematographer the one day, and the next day pick up his calculator and budget sheets to fulfil the role of a producer. That is extremely rare in an industry that is as technical as ours,” Dr Jansen van Vuuren adds. A noteworthy example is the series Jozi Streets, where he was both the director and line producer.

Because of this wide range of interests and skills, Nosworthy was involved with various sectors and bodies within the local industry. These included the South African Society of Cinematographers (SASC), the Independent Producers Organisation (IPO), the Writers Guild of South Africa (WGSA) and the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF). “He was never afraid to speak his mind and to fight for what he believed in. I think that is why he made such a memorable impression in all the organisations he was involved in,” says Dr Jansen van Vuuren. The donation to the Film programme includes an extensive set of microphones and sound equipment, lights, cables, a TV monitor, and material that one uses to ‘black out’ a studio.

“The Department of Visual Communication wishes to thank his family and friends for this generous donation,” Dr Jansen van Vuuren concludes.

Richard Nosworthy

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