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Expanding your Videography and Photography Skills for a good Cause

American student Tristyn Page decided to do a summer internship in Cape Town with environmental NGO Greenpop. She wanted to follow her passion for photography and videography. Here’s how she experienced her time in the ‘mother city’.

Be Part of a Group that’s Helping, not Hindering

My decision to go to South Africa for two months for a Videography and Photography Internship was one of the biggest I have ever had to make in my life. At this point in time, it was February. It was my Junior year in high school and I was trying to decide what to do with my summer break. Never would I have believed I’d make the decision to travel across the world! I had never even left the country. I have always loved photography and videography and I welcomed the chance to expand my skills for a good cause. Therefore, I took the opportunity to work as an intern in the Communications department of the NGO Greenpop. Greenpop is an environmental organization that works to target inequality in the Cape Flats with urban greening.

Cape Town is one of the most diverse places I could imagine. There are beautiful views of Table Mountain and the bay. But there are also slums and townships huddled together as the population still works to come back from apartheid. This is why I believe Greenpop is so vital, and why their work with schools and communities matters so much. Everyone should have a chance to see trees every morning, not just the upper class. I wanted to be a part of a group that was helping, not hindering, our environment and its people. This was my chance.

NGO Internship Cape Town

Tips for Cape Town Interns

Most likely if you are doing an internship in Cape Town, you will live together with other interns in a shared apartment. My internship began in early June with three others. There were seven already at the accommodation. All of the interns were very close, probably because we had to live together for so long. I grew to love all of these amazing (and insane) people and miss them all very much. To anyone who is reading this, I’ll give you an impression of what it’s like to live together at that accommodation – and some life-changing tips.

  • If you’re going in winter (late May – September ish) bring a blanket, it’s SUPER cold.
  • Happy Huggers are life (you will understand)
  • Bring as many adapters as you can
  • Check the voltage on your hair dryers ladies, because mine didn’t work
  • If you’re into hiking, there will always be someone keen on going with you
  • You can fit up to 7(ish) people onto the couch for movie nights, so come prepared
  • Staple junk food (ramen saved me on midnight food binges) but trust me – the food is amazing in Cape Town too

Also keen to put your skills and expertise to good use for an NGO? Check out the internships in Cape Town we offer.

My Work as a Videography and Photography Intern

As a videography and photography intern, I was part of the communications department. This included two other new interns and two veteran interns. I had two amazing managers, Zoë and Justine. My videography and photography internship actually began at a very hectic time. Part of the team was preparing to leave for the Zambia Festival of Action in Livingstone. All of our regular jobs flew out of the window as we packed, painted, sorted, and sent the team off for Zambia. My primary job – latter the craziness – was to create a video for the Greenpop beneficiaries (schools and other places that we plant). I had to inform them of what the Urban Greening program entails.

Greenpop Videography and photography internship Videography and photography internship Cape Town

I was fortunate to travel to schools in the Cape Flats, such as Lehlohonolo Primary,  The Hague Primary, and Garlandale High School. There, I interviewed learners and teachers who participate in the program. My team and I also filmed at one of the Greenpop plant days in Lavender Hill. We worked to plant 24 trees with learners from all age groups and taught them about composting. You’ll need to learn to love composting if you work for Greenpop! We also taught them how to take care of the trees.

I took pictures of so many children that day and got to see the smiles on their faces when I showed it to them. I promise you’ll never truly understand how fortunate you are until you see this in person. For most of July, I worked tirelessly on the beneficiary video, editing and rethinking my idea until I finally was satisfied with it. Lots of late nights and calls to my dad (he’s a videographer) went into this video to make what it is. I hope it will spread the Greenpop Urban Greening Programme’s message far and wide.

Why it all Matters

My time as a Videography and Photography Intern in Cape Town came sooner to an end than I ever expected it would, and I shamelessly say I cried when Table Mountain rose above the clouds as I departed South Africa. During my time I traveled across South Africa, ate strange foods at markets, laughed until I cried, dipped my feet in the vibrant blue waters of the Indian Ocean, danced under the stars, watched the African sun dip below the horizon, and most importantly made some of the greatest friends I have ever had. I experienced everything and yet nothing on this trip and it has had a profound effect on me. As I return to Idaho I must quote one of my favorite sayings from Nelson Mandela, “There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”

Cheers Cape Town, you will be missed!

If you have a passion for videography and/or photography read more about the Media and Design Internship with Greenpop!