Finalist, The Sony Impact Award

Ruhi Hamid (British)

November 2013, South Africa

Knife Crime ER

Sundog Pictures for BBC 3 Reggie Yates’ Extreme South Africa series

Ruhi’s film explores how gang crime and violence affect those who live and work in the Cape Flats – a township on the outskirts of Cape Town. The film starts in the district hospital where medics struggle to cope with the sheer numbers of young men brought in with stab wounds – up to 100 on an average weekend. Then it takes us into the township where we meet victims in their homes as well as people attempting to get on with ordinary lives.

In one key scene, we also meet some of the very young gang members whose knives and machetes are always in-hand. The film had enormous impact on viewers. Many were moved to donate funds to township charities. One viewer is now paying for the education of a young girl featured in the film.


Ruhi has made award winning documentaries for the BBC, Channel 4, Aljazeera International, and other American and European Broadcasters. She started her filmmaking career in the BBC before going freelance and has since been working as a producer/director for the past 14 years. Specializing in international stories Ruhi has filmed in all corners of the globe making films about religion, women, poverty, human rights, health, political and social issues. Her films have covered these issues in conflict and war torn countries like Afghanistan and tsunami disaster zones like Banda Aceh; gaining access to communities often hostile and not familiar with film crews.

Judges Comments

“This fantastically-shot film gave us an insight into the chaotic world of the townships – the prevalence of knife crime and the brave doctors working to look after the injured. It was a multi-dimensional look at a shocking story. It’s an incredibly intense film – totally engaging – and the scene at the end with the gang is just gripping.”