Sylvia is a writer, award-winning journalist, playwright and filmmaker. She was commissioned by the Volksoperahuis of Amsterdam to write Krotoa Eva van de Kaap, a play that will open in the Netherlands in Oct 2018 before touring South Africa. Her seminal dance drama about Khoisan identity, The Keeper of the Kumm (based on the novel of the same name), opened on the main programme at the 2016 SA’s National Arts Festival (NAF). A play she co-authored, My Word, Redesigning Buckingham Palace, was chosen for a run on London’s West End and for the main programme at the NAF. The Festival also selected another of her plays, Cold Case – Revisiting Dulcie September. The latter won both the inaugural Adelaide Tambo Award for Human Rights in the Arts as well as a Standard Bank Audience Award. SA Producer for the BBC mini-series Mandela the Living Legend. Head of the 2018 Alan Paton Literary Award Jury. Guest Lecturer at the University of the Free State, the University of Cape Town’s Centre for African Studies and Stellenbosch University’s Journalism Department. Member of the International Emmy Awards 2018 Jury.
• Selection Panel: SA National Film & Video Foundation (NFVF)
• Jury Member: SA Film & TV Awards 2015 & 2018
• A Knight Fellow who led a journalism project to improve coverage of poverty and development issues in Ghana for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
• Founder of VIA – Vision in Africa, a media organisation, that has spearheaded innovative international training initiatives and creative productions.
• As the Africa representative for the Thomson Foundation (UK) she was the lead trainer for the Foundation’s first-ever documentary filmmaking course at Cardiff University. Her students’ work was broadcast on the BBC’s Channel 4.
• In the early 90’s, Vollenhoven was the Southern African Correspondent for the Swedish newspaper, Expressen, and was awarded Sweden’s top journalism prize by Scandinavia’s prestigious Publicistklubben. For 10 years, Vollenhoven served as the Southern Africa Coordinator for the International Public Television (INPUT) organisation.
• Producer & Director: Rooibos Restitution a documentary film about the successful claim of the Khoe and San people for their Traditional Knowledge used in the Rooibos Industry. Commissioned by the Heinrich Böll Foundation and the Natural Justice NGO.
• Founding Editor: The Journalist www.thejournalist.org.za
a new online resource primarily for journalism students and media professionals. A project that includes training and mentorship, in collaboration with the University of the Free State. As Editor conducted Master Classes at the UFS Journalism Department and mentored several young students.
• Winner Mbokodo Award for Literature for her creative non fiction novel ‘The Keeper of the Kumm’
• Shortlisted SA Literary Awards
• Long Listed Alan Paton Award
• Nominee 2016 SA Film & TV Awards for Best Director & Best Documentary
• Winner of the inaugural Adelaide Tambo Award for Human Rights in the Arts
• Winner of the Nordic Publicistklubben Prize for Journalism
• Knight International Journalism Fellow
Directorships Vision In Africa – VIA
The Keeper of the Kumm Pty LtdMember Editorial Board, Journal of African Cinemas
Proposal Reviewer Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation