Before turning to filmmaking, Shameela worked in the field of human rights and social justice research and advocacy for over 15 years – including at the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg, UNIFEM in New York and the Institute for Democracy in South Africa. Shameela holds an LLB degree from UCT and a Masters degree from Columbia University in New York, where she was a Fulbright scholar. She has published widely on governance and public accountability, conducted numerous trainings/workshops and addressed forums ranging from the Parliaments of South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the International Civil Forum against Corruption in Indonesia, the South African National Anti- Discrimination Forum and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa.
As a filmmaker, Shameela has focused mainly on social justice film-making. Recently, she directed a series of 10 short films highlighting the work and concerns of various activists across South Africa – one of these films was shortlisted as a Top Ten Finalist for the Discovery Channels’ Don’t Stop Wondering Awards and was shown on the Discovery channel. Shameela has also made several character-led human interest/ social documentaries for international and local televisions stations such as CGTN and SABC.
WHISPERING TRUTH TO POWER, her debut independent, feature-length documentary – which tracks the last year in office of Thuli Madonsela, won the Special Jury Prize at the prestigious Hot Docs International Film Festival in Canada in 2018, and has shown at numerous festivals in South Africa and abroad including the Sydney Film Festival, Sheffield Film Festival, Jozi Film Festival (opening night film and winning documentary) Encounters Film Festival (opening night film),Durban Film Festival, Doc Edge New Zealand, Hot Springs United States, Mondovisioni in Italy, Ndevi Festival in Ghana, Zimbabwe International Film Festival and Bergen International Film Festival an others – and is currently on an outreach tour. Shameela’s second feature-length documentary AFRICAN MOOT is currently in development.