Lucilla Blankenberg is currently the Co-Director of Community Media Trust (CMT), having joined the company in 2000 as a transcriber and working her way up to her current role. She holds a BA degree in Communications as well a diploma in journalism. CMT has proven to be the ideal environment for an aspiring filmmaker and over the years Lucilla has gained experience on several television productions and the development and implementation of media campaigns. She is the Executive Producer of CMT’s flagship health series, Siyayinqoba that has completed its 10th season on SABC 1, South Africa’s largest broadcaster.
Lucilla has developed and worked on multiple health educational media campaigns about HIV and AIDS, TB, gender-based violence, non-communicable diseases, voluntary medical male circumcision, breastfeeding and teenage pregnancy. She is also responsible for governance, fundraising and donor liaison. Lucilla created and co-directed CMT’s first drama series, Amaza, as well as the primetime drama series JAB, both screened on SABC. In 2017, Lucilla produced the documentary series Counter Culture, an edgy series about weird and beautiful sub-cultures in South Africa. Lucilla has worked as an editor and producer on several documentaries including Brothers in Arms and Through My Eyes: Blanche La Guma. Through CMT she has also had the space to develop and direct her projects such as Black People Don’t Swim and Don’t Shoot. Her films have been screened on the SABC, the BBC and at numerous festivals in South Africa and internationally. Lucilla is currently working on two feature films, Run and Worked Up which are both funded for script development by the NFVF. She is also producing a comedy-drama called Riviera for release in 2019.
Debbie Van Zyl
Debbie holds a Master of Public Health and a Bachelor of Science. She joined CMT in 2008 as the Outreach Programs Manager and was appointed Deputy Director in 2013 and Co-Director in 2014. During her tenure at CMT, Debbie has headed four different PEPFAR-funded HIV prevention programmes implemented by the organisations. In addition, Debbie has contributed her public health and epidemiological skills to the communications campaigns developed by CMT with a focus on HIV prevention, voluntary medical male circumcision and exclusive breastfeeding.
As a public health expert with over ten years of experience in prevention programming across multiple community sites, Debbie has worked on the adaptation of evidence-based HIV programming to suit the South African context and has been integral to CMT’s ability to take these programmes to scale, including fundraising and capacity building of programmes teams. Drawing on a multi-faceted skillset, Debbie upgraded CMT’s M&E system to respond to the changing requirements of the PEPFAR reporting system including the early adoption of a mobile application (mHealth) for community-based teams to report on programme activities from the field. Debbie led CMT’s operational research on the impact of lay health workers on health outcomes in HIV-positive pregnant women and their babies in the Free State. With a strong focus on governance, Debbie’s significant experience in managing programmes teams as well as leading operational staff – including finance, HR, IT and administrative units – on the administrative and governance requirements of PEPFAR grants has seen CMT attract significantly more funding and the scale-up of the organisations’ prevention programmes across multiple geographic sites.