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The history

AFDA was founded in 1994 by Garth Holmes, Bata Passchier, and Deon Opperman.

From its early beginnings of 6 students, a rented VCR, and broken TV, it has become one of the leading institutions of its kind in the world today. AFDA has over 1200 students, a permanent staff of over 150 academics and administrators, and 5 fully equipped campuses in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, and Botswana. It has produced some of the top filmmakers and actors in South Africa today and has made a significant contribution to developing a sustainable local entertainment industry.

The overall goal

To develop a relevant educational institution that contributes to African nation-building and rewards all stakeholders by providing a stimulating, rigorous, and globally integrated learning experience that empowers students with productive, innovative skills, enabling graduating learners to grow sustainable creative industries.

The educational promise

To provide students with the conceptual, perceptual, and concrete skills that will enable them to originate meaningful narrative concepts and human behaviors that are relevant to target audiences and to truthfully and accurately deliver these narratives through the appropriate use of medium and aesthetic form and the employment of resources to accurately and economically produce and sell the completed production.

AFDA educational objectives

  1. To provide conceptual, perceptual, and concrete skills that will enable students to originate meaningful narrative concepts and to understand why these might be relevant and the impact they may have on target audiences and society in general.
  2. To understand why human behavior and culture are the agents through which narratives are embodied and made emotionally relevant to target audiences.
  3. To understand how their chosen medium of expression can be considered and used to truthfully and accurately produce their narrative.
  4. To understand how aesthetic elements might be used to establish and produce the appropriate form of the world in which the narrative is set.
  5. To understand how to plan and employ resources to economically produce and sell a product to achieve a return on investment.


  1. AFDA is the no. 1 film, tv, and performance school on the continent
  2. AFDA is a fully accredited institution with 20 years of experience in the tertiary education landscape
  3. AFDA is an internationally recognized institution and is a full member of CILECT – an international organization that represents over 170 film and tv schools and includes USC (LA) and UCLA (LA), TISCH (NY), Columbia (Chicago), La femis (Paris), GVIK (Russia) to mention but a few
  4. AFDA Alumni are award-winning skilled, and networked. They continue to make a significant contribution to the growth of the local entertainment industry.
  5. AFDA is an Academy award-winning institution and the first and only African film school to win the best foreign student film academy award in 2006 and runner-up as a finalist in 2013
  6. AFDA employs a number of South Africa’s top academics and practitioners.
  7. AFDA has a unique learning system that provides students with authentic undergraduate & postgraduate learning environments that are relevant to vocational opportunities both locally and abroad.
  8. AFDA students are trained to produce commercially viable entertainment products for local audiences and niche online global markets
  9. AFDA offers students a genuine opportunity to seek out their aptitude in order to discover their passion and extension their successful vocational path
  10. The AFDA learning process encourages and rewards innovation, leadership, and entrepreneurship.

AFDA is one of the leading outcomes-based film schools in the world

AFDA graduates are taught to conceptualize, create and develop indigenous products and commodities for the local and international market

In the course of a rich entrepreneurial history dating back to 1994, AFDA has earned a reputation as one of the leading institutions of its kind in the world today. Although our track record speaks for itself, we continually renew our commitment to facilitating an environment that develops high-quality human and intellectual property with the relevant skills to deal with the rigors of a fast-expanding and ever-changing entertainment industry.

At our fully equipped campuses in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, and Botswana, we train graduates to contribute to one of the largest growth industries in the world: entertainment. In the globalized economy, cultural exchange is a valuable currency. AFDA graduates are taught to conceptualize, create and develop indigenous products and commodities for the local and international market.

Our students are educated not only to forge profitable and sustainable careers in this market but are encouraged to develop themselves as employment providers – the cultural entrepreneurs of the future. Our alumni have reinvigorated their industries with the quality of their intellectual property, skill, and talent. More than 90% of our Honours alumni are working and employed in their chosen field of specialization.

AFDA films are exhibited at numerous international festivals and have been broadcast worldwide, winning many prestigious awards, including the Student Academy Award winner and Cannes festival finalist in 2006 and a SAFTA (South African Film and Television Award) in 2007. AFDA is a full member of CILECT – the International Association of Accredited Film and Television Schools.

AFDA reserves the right to make changes or withdraw information or course offers without prior notice. Where possible, AFDA will endeavor to notify all persons and/or organizations affected as a result.

Are you #MadeforAFDA?

While AFDA is a unique institution, it caters to and facilitates multiple intelligences. If we refer to Gardner’s multiple Intelligence tests – AFDA’s diverse spread of electives/disciplines caters to all these intelligence’s. Who are you?

What makes AFDA unique?

AFDA offers a learning system that utilizes a diverse number of learning strategies and methodologies which include tacit learning, learning by approximation, collaborative learning, scaffold learning, and learning through socialization.

The AFDA learning and assessment system caters to what Howard Gardner refined as ‘Multiple Intelligence’s’. These diverse intelligence’s are:

  • Visual-Spatial
  • Bodily-kinesthetic
  • Musical
  • Interpersonal
  • Intrapersonal
  • Linguistic
  • Logical-Mathematical

The creative industries require diverse specialization (intelligence’s) that are able to collaborate in an economically viable manner to achieve high standards of production.

AFDA students are given the opportunity to explore and discover their aptitude and by extension their career path.

AFDA uses a learning system designed to deal with the opportunities and challenges of the knowledge economy and the future. It is a market-related learning system focusing on the audience and the target market.

We offer an outcomes-based learning system which requires a heads on-hands on approach, focusing on leadership, creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship. This mimics the industry and takes place in an authentic learning environment.

AFDA focuses on the goals of the learner.

AFDA students do not write traditional exams. Students are assessed on an individual basis and in team/group-focused research. An application of theory and research in the creation and exhibition of entertainment content or in the development and monetization of entrepreneurial business and disruptive technologies is what primarily constitutes assessment at AFDA.

AFDA’s learning process is highly effective and creates a network of skilled graduates who are able to forge careers in the entertainment, media, and other creative industries.


  • 5 Fully Equipped Campuses
  • 2000 Students
  • 7 Degrees
  • Over 150 Full-Time Academic & Admin Staff
  • Over 200 Industry Professionals As Visiting Lecturers
  • Over 3600 Alumni


    EFMD Equis AccreditedAMBA AccreditedAACSB Accredited


    • Johannesburg

      41 Frost Avenue, Auckland Park 2092 Johannesburg, South Africa, , Johannesburg

    • Cape Town

      18 Lower Scott Road, Observatory 7925 Cape Town, South Africa, , Cape Town

      • Durban

        2a Highdale Road, Glen Anil 4051 Durban, South Africa, , Durban

        • Port Elizabeth

          Gqeberha, 28 Bird Street, Central 6006, , Port Elizabeth