About CineComm

Meet Daniel Lewis
Painter With Light And Dance
Founder & CEO Of CineComm Productions


Tshediso Daniel Lewis – or simply Danny Lewis to his friends – couldn’t wait to escape his hard-scrabble childhood in Soweto – and he did.

Here’s the story of how a child of Soweto ended up an accomplished artist, dancer, photographer, head of a translations unit in a global church and an executive within the same church. Danny lived and worked for more than six years in the United States before returning to South Africa.

Here’s a story of how drive and passion can alter the course of a life that seemed predestined for something more prosaic. 

Born to a Tswana mother and Coloured father in Meadowlands, Soweto, Danny grew up fluent in Tswana and English and spent the early part of his life in Randburg, north of Johannesburg, attending an altogether better class of school than was available in Soweto.

Daniel's Birthday In Randburg Daniel in School in Randburg

Mini Daniel In School
(Daniel's Birthday & in school in Randburg)

He was an excellent student, but his real passion lay elsewhere – in sports, dancing, gymnastics and singing, all of which were part of the extracurricular activities of Robin Hills Primary School in Randburg. Danny passed each grade with flying colours, but it was dancing and arts that brought out the best in him.

Daniel performing in Florida State USA Wide Angle View Of The ShowDaniel solo performing in Florida State USA  Another shot of Daniel's solo performance in Florida State USA

(Images of Daniel performing in the United States)
Daniel backflipping over a mate of his Daniel backflipping off power stand|
(Some stunts Daniel performed to entertain his friends)

It was clear that a career in choreography, film production and performance was in the cards.

However, what was a charmed early life took a sudden turn for the worse when his parents fell on hard times and were evicted from their rented accommodation in Windsor East, Johannesburg.

“At one point we were moving just about every weekend because rentals were too high for us to afford, and this continued until we landed up at my grandma’s house in Meadowlands, Soweto,” explains Danny.

The family ended up in a shack at the back of the grandmother’s house in Soweto, but before long were evicted from that. In the months that followed, the evictions continued, with the family moving from shack to shack until they ended up as tenants on a property owned by a criminal who hijacked cars for a living.

This was a long fall from the happy life in Windsor East. Danny ended up attending a new school, Kliptown High, which was a pale imitation of Robin Hills where academics and extramural activities were generously served and encouraged. Danny left Kliptown High, longing for his friends in Windsor East and for a life far removed from the privations of Zone 10, Meadowlands.

Many former residents of Soweto romanticise its community life, Danny couldn’t wait to get out.

Shack At Daniel's Grandma's House Back of Daniel's Grandama's House
(The shack at the back of Daniel's Grandmother's house)

The artist inside was bursting to break free. Every free moment, Danny would escape from Meadowlands to meet up with his old friends in Windsor East, spending many a night in a friend’s garage or floor. He would be choreographing dance sequences in his head, or writing music and fantasy fiction which he shared with his friends.

While walking to Dobsonville Mall in Soweto, he wandered into a Volunteer Minister exhibition hosted by the Church of Scientology, and within two months he joined the church’s staff. Within a relatively short period of time, Danny’s gift with languages propelled him to the head of the church’s translations unit in Africa. His work took him to Denmark and Florida in the US, where he was posted for six years, and ended up with a degree from the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI).

Daniel in Copenhagen Another Image of Daniel in CopenhagenDaniel in Copenhagen(Images of Daniel in Copenhagen in his younger days)

Daniel on post in the USA Daniel on post in the USA
(Daniel on post in the USA)

When Danny returned to South Africa, he worked for a period in recruitment before returning to his true love – photography and video.

“Walt Disney said ‘If you can dream it, you can do it’. In a way I owe my drive and motivation to the deprivations I experienced earlier in my life,” he says. “I decided I am going to live life as if it was a musical, and I am now living that life.

“Photography and videography are a form of communication with light. You have to approach it like an artist and a blank canvas. My job is to make my subjects look great and to tell their story, simply, beautifully and with impact.

“I’m never happier than when I am doing this.”

Daniel Lewis


Written by Journalist Ciaran Ryan