homehomepeopleThabo Motene Marera

Names: Marera, Thabo Motene

Born: 18 September 1972

Died: September 2009

In Summary: Film Director.

Extract from an article written for the Sunday Times by Chris Barron (pg 5 27 September 2009).

Marera, 37, was born in Soweto on 18 September 1972 and matriculated at Anchor Orlando North High School.  After studying drama at the Natal Technikon he went into film production and worked himself into a senior crew position, mostly on music videos and drama series, including the hugely popular Yizo Yizo on SABC.

About ten years ago, he approached Velocity Films (one of the top 25 commercials film companies in the world) and said he wanted to learn from how to become a great film director from Keith Rose - who founded the company and became the director, with whom most young filmmakers aspired to work. They liked his attitude and took him on as an assistant.  

After a year he wrote to a film school in Portland, in the United States, requesting a scholarship, and they gave him one. It was the first scholarship that this particular school had ever awarded.  The founder of the school, David Lyman, decided that anyone with such obvious conviction would succeed at anything.

After completing the course, Marera returned to Velocity and impressed them so much with a commercial spec that he wrote and filmed for Musica that they made him a director. There were not many black directors at the time and it was an uphill task persuading sceptical agencies and clients to work with him.  Through his energy, enthusiasm, commitment and talent, Marera played a big role in breaking down these barriers.

Soon after becoming a director, he won awards, including a Clio in New York for his Harley-Davidson Drive Alive commercial.  He shot a campaign for the Independent Electoral Commission, which he regarded as his proudest achievement and which won eight Gold Loeries overall.

Marera directed commercials for big-name clients such as Nedbank, MTN, SABC, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Lotto, Edgars, Absa, World Wildlife Fund, SAB and Standard Bank.

His achievements opened doors not only for himself but also for all aspiring black filmmakers.  Marera died in a car accident in Johannesburg. He is survived by his parents, two sisters and a brother.


  • Extract from an article written for the Sunday Times by Chris Barron (pg 5 27 September 2009).