From 16-21 May 2024 the Hekima Jesuit Community organized a boot camp focused on digital communication, with a special emphasis on videography and photography. This event provided an excellent opportunity for Jesuit scholastics to gain foundational skills in these areas.

Announced and prepared since late 2023, the boot camp aimed to introduce the scholastics to essential techniques in videography and photography. The program was designed to enhance their digital communication capabilities, crucial for modern evangelization.

The boot camp featured three expert trainers. Father Benedict Mayaki, SJ, from the Communication Office of the Society of Jesus in Rome, shared his extensive expertise. Mr. Joseph Bunga, who runs a communications company in Zimbabwe and works with the Southern Africa Province (SAP), brought valuable industry insights. Additionally, Vincent Sylvester Wada, SJ, a scholastic at Hekima University College with a communication background from the United States, provided practical training.

Joseph Bunga (right), showcasing livestreaming to Scholastics.

On the first day, Father John Dardis, SJ, Director of Communications in the General Curia of the Society of Jesus, addressed the participants via Zoom. He emphasized the importance of expanding beyond traditional verbal communication to include videography and photography. Father Dardis highlighted that these tools can effectively tell the Jesuit story and help people connect with God, echoing Jesus' mission to bring life to the fullest (Jn 10:10).

The training sessions ran daily from 9 am to 1 pm and from 2:30 to 4:30 pm, with a shorter session on Sunday, May 19. The comprehensive curriculum covered photography principles such as lighting, depth of field, framing, and camera movements. In videography, participants learned to use the video editing software DaVinci Resolve. Training on streaming included setting up scenes, adding overlays, managing audio sources, and configuring streaming settings for optimal performance. The program also introduced the business aspects of videography and photography.

Wada Sylvester, SJ, (standing), showing Scholastics how to edit photos.

Both theoretical and practical sessions were included. The theoretical sessions focused on leveraging digital communication, including websites and social media, for evangelization. Practical sessions taught participants to take professional photos and edit videos. On the final day, each of the approximately 10 scholastics presented a photo essay, receiving feedback from both trainers and peers. Group sessions on editing short videos around specific themes were also conducted.

Fr. Benedict Mayaki, SJ, (standing, far right) highlighting video editing.

On the last day, Father José Minaku, SJ, President of JCAM, attended the boot camp. He discussed ongoing communication efforts within the Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar and how the newly acquired skills could enhance the Society of Jesus's communication in Africa. He emphasized the importance of effective communication for making Africa's voice heard, improving the continent's image in the media, promoting vocations, fundraising, and enhancing networking.

The JCAM President Father José Minaku, SJ, (top, left), addressing Scholastics who participated in the boot camp.

The boot camp concluded on May 21 at 4:30 pm. Hekima University College expressed gratitude to everyone who made the event possible, especially Father José Minaku, SJ, Father John Dardis, SJ, Father Benedict Mayaki, SJ, Mr. Joseph Bunga, and Vincent Sylvester Wada, SJ, for their passionate training and insights into the challenges and opportunities in communication within the Society of Jesus.

Photos by Sylvester Wada, SJ.