#OrangeFarmIsNotAJungle is a tribe, a movement and by extension, an online platform whose efforts are to Explore the Opposite! of the negative and chaotic image that is often painted to the world — partly because it is much easier to pinpoint the ugly than immerse oneself in finding the beautiful elements in one’s backyard. About the place south of Johannesburg where many beautiful people call home. Where mesmerising talent takes form and many other breathtaking things occur.
The reason is deceptively simple: it makes sense to explore and celebrate the opposite of what we have been told before. And of course, this extends to everything in our lives. The theories we are taught at school and what we read in books — the beauty of it all is the practice of relentlessly asking the question, why?
Orange Farm, and this makes me very proud, possesses genius and abundant talent in the likes of Filmmaker and Cinematographer extraordinaire, Tshepo “FPS” Mkhwanazi. He boasts an impressive resume wherein he’s worked with A-list individuals and organisations in his pursuit of telling compelling visual stories — what he affectionately calls Chewing Gum for The Eyes.
Evidently, Tshepo is but one example out of a large pool of such individuals.
One other thing about Orange Farm Is Not a Jungle is the overarching connection it has with the African continent. Let me explain. Firstly, I hope we have learnt a lot through Africa’s rich and pulsating story which is tossed in multiple directions, depending on who is doing the telling of her story. Many loudly speak and write of the darkness and struggle that engulfs the continent. While many others, after consuming information for a long time about which details the opposite, wax lyrical about the beauty and welcoming nature of the Nigerians, for example, they met in Lagos or in the village of Makoko (which sits completely on top of water, by the way).
This is a project that exists at the intersection between great content and Orange Farm’s culture, greatness and humanity.
The point is simply this: the positive, the richness, the love imbued by our people and all the goodness that emanates from Africa hasn’t been broadcasted nearly enough. The negative outweigh the beauty. And this is not a call to sweep all that is bad under the carpet. But a call to say, let us not be so consumed by the bad that happens that we dismiss every thing about environments in which we live, and blindly yearn to escape to places that look peaceful on the outside because of what we see in the media, for instance.
On a personal level, this is to send a strong message for people to start exploring and celebrating themselves, how they are, instead of agonising over how they wish to be. Worded differently, as inspired by the fresh and iconic television commercial from AXE, produced by ad agency, 72AndSunny:
The most attractive man you can be is yourself. Find what makes you, you. And then work on it.
So, my running this project is my way of shifting mindsets in the best way I can manage and use my talents to shine the spotlight on other people doing amazing things with their lives from Orange Farm.
That takes form with me talking to cool people and finding out their stories and publishing them on ThembaJay.com under the #OrangeFarmIsNotAJungle Series. Through the project page on Facebook, my Instagram and Twitter profiles, I build and publish content as well. The creation culminates with video content published on YouTube and Vimeo. The remarkable thing about this project is the widespread use of the hashtag by other people in Orange Farm as they are getting accustomed to seeing and showcasing beauty in their neighbourhood through photos posted on their social media accounts, submitting content to be published on the project Facebook page and using the Orange Farm Is Not A Jungle phrase in everyday conversations. The aim is to make it normal and then for people to truly live it.
Another exciting feature is the photoshoot sessions with people I know personally and strangers (waiting to become friends), to tell stories and highlight different shades of Orange Farm.
I am taking the role of being a Storyteller and ambassador of Orange Farm, borrowing a dose of perspective and inspiration from initiatives like Humans of New York, Underground NYC, I See A Different You and Bearded Villains.
My biggest aim is to have the project grow to unprecedented levels. Orange Farm Is Not A Jungle, through great content, needs to make what it does as transformational as DJ Khabzela, or Y-FM as a whole, was to broadcasting and culture.
Not just great content. Not breathtaking photos and riveting stories for content or publishing’s sake, but content about Orange Farm with a vision and depth d texture that I can put up against any project in the world. Just as I can take Jay-Z lyrics and poetry and put it up against William Shakespeare’s.
Culturally, and for purposes of learning about other cool people, “The Jungle platform” is a go-to platform for people looking for content about people (models, artists, entrepreneurs, students, normal people, et cetera), cool projects, and a grain of history about various subjects in Orange Farm.
It is a movement about all things COOL. BOLD. BEAUTIFUL. ORANGE FARM!