Twenty eight-year-old Kirk van Rooi from Rocklands, Mitchell’s Plain currently works as an editor and photographer for one of South Africa’s biggest production companies. How did a bra ‘Vannie Plain’ not allow the Cape Flats to keep his dreams flat?
After high school, Kirk had a desire to study graphic design but at the time his family could not afford to pay for it. As he was of working age, Kirk took it upon himself to look for a job, instead of just lamming on the corner with his brasse. At 19, he worked as a security guard and -through his strong work ethic- would later be promoted to supervisor. However this proved to be challenging, as senior staff always undermined Kirk. After leaving this job he took on whatever opportunities he could find; working in retail, call centers, and even selling timeshares.
Later on, Kirk would be asked to assist an interior decorator on shoots for various lifestyle magazines. During shoots, Kirk would spend most of his time hovering around the photographer. Eventually, he was encouraged to pursue photography because he had a clear knack for it. He was advised to approach this company for work and after “begging for like weeks” -without any basic knowledge about photography- Kirk was given an opportunity to work as a photographic assistant. He says this opportunity allowed him to learn from the best in the business.
A few years later, his boss at the time was about to start a production company and approached Kirk to work in editing and filming. Kirk then took an online course to learn more about these aspects and ended up working on projects for South Africa’s biggest businesses. Up to this day, Kirk still hones his craft by constantly learning from his peers as well as watching tutorials to develop his skills.
Along with his faith, Kirk is greatly driven by the impact his late father Alan Gordon van Rooi had on his life. “He was always hard-working, always had a plan and always made a way even when things looked bleak. That drives me.” Kirk says that he wants to grow his community by giving in any way that he can.
“You have a choice to choose your path. Anybody can be anything,” is his attitude towards life. Kirk emphasizes the importance of surrounding yourself with people who encourage you to grow. “In the same breath, it is also important to be able to discern who has good intentions. With that strong foundation, you can influence and mentor other people who might be struggling with choices.”
Speaking to Kirk, it is remarkable to hear how he used every adversity to his advantage. His evident hunger to constantly achieve more and reach new heights, while ensuring he uplifts those around him, is a winning formula the future Director of Photography has mastered.
My Kaaps Glossary:
Bra Vannie Plain – Guy from Mitchell’s Plain
Lamming on the corner with his brasse – Chilling on the corner with his friends.