Thursday, March 23, 2017

Actors slam the SABC and South Africa's entertainment industry at Joe Mafela's memorial service, 'hope and pray SABC will pay our artists their royalties'.

Veteran actors came out swinging good and nice on Thursday afternoon, slamming the SABC, the SABC2 soap Muvhango and South Africa's entertainment industry at actor Joe Mafela's memorial service, asking the public broadcaster to please start paying residuals and to do more than lip service when it comes to looking after actors.

The legendary Joe Mafela (75), most famous for his 'Sgudi 'Snaysi sitcom and Chicken Licken TV commerciasl work, died on Saturday night during a car crash on the M1 in Johannesburg, with a public memorial service that took place earlier today at the packed Johannesburg theatre and was broadcast on television.

The memorial service was attended by TV executives like James Aguma, acting SABC CEO and Bessie Tugwana, acting COO.

Actors and friends didn't hold back, using their chance at the podium to voice not only their personal remembrances and honouring Joe Mafela's legacy but also speaking up and out about what he wanted to see happen within South Africa's entertainment talent sphere and resistant-to-change entertainment and television industry.

Actor Tony Kgoroge put the SABC on blast after SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago spoke, saying that even though Joe Mafela himself didn't manage to fully escape exploitation in the local entertainment industry, that he is glad that he managed to rose above it.

Cautioning the entertainment industry, Tony Kgoroge said "the 'magic' is in the exploitation. They exploit you, they take your story, they own it, they pay for it, and then they say you'll just be a performer."

"Now coming into the new dispensation, the people like Joe Mafela tried to rise up and say to the broadcasters: 'We want to own our own. We want to tell our own stories the way we want to tell them, without anybody owning it or any foreign ideas becoming part of our narration".

"Then we're told because you don't have experience, go and partner with that company. And you go there - it's our white colleagues again. And when you go there you're only going there with a script or an idea," said Tony Kgoroge.

"They have cameras, they have editing suites, they have studios. They have everything you can think of. You're only bringing a script. How much of a percentage do you think you'll get from that? So you're bound to sell that story because you have to put bread on the table. You have kids that have to go to school."

Directly addressing the SABC, Tony Kgoroge said "Kaizer, was saying that they [SABC] is still repeating some of the things that Joe Mafela used to do. I hope and pray Kaizer that you pay our artists their royalties."

Tony Kgoroge's words were met with loud applause.

Cynthia Shange: It's not like we don't know how to save
Veteran actress Cynthia Shange who called Joe Mafela "my brother, then my father" used her turn at the podium to draw attention to the little job security and work stability local South African actors are provided, saying "I just briefly want to tell you about the life of actors".

"I've been in this field for 43 years. I know we make you happy. But deep inside most of us, we are not happy."

"We can just pretend to take those selfies, to sign autographs. Life for actors are very hard because we are not permanent. I'm 43 years in this industry but I'm still a freelancer."

"I must always sign a new contract. I've been with Muvhango for 18 years now. But each years we must sign a new contract. I can't get a loan because I'm not permanent.  You can maybe squeeze from your salary to have maybe a medical aid. But if you lose the job for that period, it lapses."

"You can struggle to have your funeral cover. So please if we die and we ... " - and then Cynthia Shange became visible emotional - "and now I'm talking to the journalists: If one of the actors die and we don't have money, they make as if we don't have money".

"It's not like we don't know how to save. We save. We save what there's left to save. We save that one cent, that two cent. We do our best. But we chose this career. I'm not saying it's a wrong career. It's our passion. We chose this for our lives."

Rename SABC's Studio 5 the Joe Mafela Studio
Super-producer Mfundi Vundla of Generations The Legacy on SABC1 said that Studio 5 at the SABC's Henley Studios should be renamed after Joe Mafela.

"Joe Mafela built the SABC. He brought audiences to the SABC. The SABC is just brick and mortar without the content and the people who bring audiences. Without that the SABC is brick and mortar."

"I said we have to do something to recognise Joe in a very signifcant way."

"Joe and I and Generations worked out of Studio 5 at the SABC, the biggest studio at Henley Studios. I wrote to the head of TV and said my suggestion is that this Studio 5 must be named The Joe Mafela Studio".

"In the big studio in Rome there where they make movies and stuff, Fellini had a studio where he worked all the time and after he passed, the funeral was in that studio and guess what, the studio was called the Fellini Studio. So Studio 5 must be called The Joe Mafela Studio," said Mfundi Vundla.

On Sunday veteran actress Lillian Dube revealed that the 11th South African Film and Television Awards (Saftas) that took place on Saturday at Sun City, organised by the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), didn't invite either herself or Joe Mafela to the award show although both of them are honorary recipients of lifetime achievement awards from the Saftas previously.

NO APRIL FOOL'S JOKE. SABC3 in yet another massive schedule shake-up as the channel's line-up is rejigged for the 3rd time in a year from April.

 In a desperate attempt to lift ratings, stem its ongoing viewership slide and slow its cash drains the SABC will announce yet another very dramatic schedule shake-up for its loss-making SABC3 channel that will come into effect from 1 April.

It’s no SABC April Fool's joke: SABC3's latest upcoming schedule shake-up will be the SABC's third for the struggling and loss-making channel in just a year.

SABC3's shake-up follows sister channel SABC2's latest big schedule change that was introduced in February and that angered a large number of viewers – SABC2's sixth big schedule shake-up since mid-2014.

Just as with currency fluctuations in an economy, public and commercial transport commuter timetables, and even a family's nightly dinner time, stability and predictability over time of a broadcaster's TV schedule – or the lack of it – is a strong indicator and signal to the organisational and systemic health or chaos behind the scenes.

Constant and erratic TV schedule changes – the SABC for instance again disrupted all three of its TV channel's schedules in January for Afcon 2017 coverage – confuse viewers who are creatures of habit and who struggle to find their shows and what they want to watch.

With every major TV schedule change of the SABC, some viewers sample competitor channels and programming, find new favourites, form new habits and never return.

SABC3 saw its ratings tank the past nine months following the SABC’s controversial former chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng's abrupt decree of 80% local content that was haphazardly introduced on the channel since July 2016. The badly implemented move saw viewers flee, viewership fall and then advertisers leaving.

The SABC introduced big schedule changes for SABC3 in April 2016, followed by yet another dramatic schedule shake-up just three months later in July 2016 – with a new SABC3 logo and-on air look.

That was also when Motsoeneng – now still currently employed by the SABC but ordered to stay at home with no job title – wreaked havoc on the cash-strapped SABC3 by abruptly ordering a decree of 80% local content for the SABC's only commercial TV channel.

Not a single one of the new and mostly badly produced local shows introduced on SABC3 since July 2016, except for a new season of Neill Anthony Private Chef, managed to lure enough viewers to crack SABC3's most watched month-on-month ratings list.

With disastrous AR's (audience ratings) in prime time for the batch of new content, the SABC still had to splash the cash to produce the ratings-failed content that viewers flipped the switch on.

The new SABC3 schedule shake-up is the first under SABC TV boss, Nomsa Philiso

She was appointed as the SABC's new head of television in August 2016 to replace the veteran Verona Duwarkah who was abruptly fired for refusing Hlaudi Motsoeneng's allegedly irregular content orders and dubious production contracts and reportedly accused him of of harassment and gross mismanagement.

There's growing buzz that the SABC could perhaps be shuttering the beleaguered SABC3 before the end of the year, while insiders are wondering how the SABC wants to programme and run its promised five additional new TV channels for digital terrestrial television (DTT) if it is struggling to keep the three existing channels on the air and just three schedule line-ups filled that's already stuffed with repeats.

Zandile Nkonyeni, SABC TV publicist, was asked about talk that SABC3 might be shutting down, what the situation is around SABC3's future, and what assurance there is from the SABC to viewers about the channel, but she didn't respond. 

Major programming moves
Now the SABC is again tinkering with SABC3's schedule in another big shake-up.

According to insiders, SABC3 will announce that it is switching a large number of its shows' timeslots with viewers who will once again have to adjust their viewing patterns.

SABC3 will introduce yet another new swathe of local content – some with dubious public broadcasting value – as it also gets ready to dump late night and overnight repeats to cut back on rebroadcast fees, cancels long-running programming like Interface and even moves its news bulletin, The Bold and the Beautiful, Top Billing, Special Assignment and other shows yet again to new times and days.

Zandile Nkonyeni was asked why SABC3 is doing yet another big schedule change again and what prompted the latest shake-up. She failed to comment.

SABC3's latest schedule do-over stretches from the very early morning to late night.

SABC3 will cut its breakfast show Expresso back by half an hour, with the morning show that will move from 06:00 to a new starting time of 6:30 in mid-April. SABC3 is also slowly moving the beloved American soap Days of Our Lives back from its midnight banishment to an earlier timeslot.

Here’s what’s happening on SABC3 from April
Major coming SABC3 changes from April include:

  Expresso is being reduced again, back to two and a half hours, after its timeslot was increased in July 2016 to three hours. From Monday 17 April Expresso is set to start half an hour later at 6:30 to make space for a half hour of kids programming at 6:00 on weekdays.

■ The existing line-up of SABC3's 09:00 hour of repeats is dumped for repeats on weekdays of Real Talk with Anele from Monday 3 April.

■ After taking away the Venda-language soap Muvhango repeat on SABC3 in July 2016, it is suddenly back – at 11:30 on weekdays.

■ The weekday chatter, Afternoon Express that was moved from 16:00 to 17:00 in July 2016 as part of a failed experiment, will move back to 16:00 from Monday 3 April.

■ Real Talk with Anele gets upgraded and moves from 16:00 to 17:00. Basically Afternoon Express and Real Talk with Anele are switching timeslots, with SABC3 now believing that Real Talk – that constantly attracts more buzz – has more potential to lure a bigger actual audience.

■ The SABC is once again moving the public broadcaster's flagship daily TV news bulletin on SABC3 that's been hammered in the ratings and that shed tens of thousands of viewers over the past few months.

The news at 18:30 on SABC3 is once again becoming News @ 6 from April – a simulcast of the news done on DStv's SABC News (DStv 404) channel with anchors Peter Ndoro and Francis Herd.

■ That knock-on effect means that the American soap The Bold and the Beautiful is also once again shifting timeslots – from 18:00 to 18:30 on weekdays on SABC3 from Monday 3 April.

■ The hugely popular The Bold and the Beautiful, perennially the most watched show on SABC3, will now serve as the lead-in for the struggling local soap Isidingo that stays put at 19:00. SABC3 hopes that Bold’s buoyant viewership will filter through to the Endemol Shine Africa produced Isidingo.

■ The local talker Trending South Africa that started in daytime on SABC3, switched to night time and then got a 12:00 weekday repeat, is getting cut down from five days to four episodes per week, losing the Friday episode.

Trending SA will also no longer get any daytime repeat on SABC3 from April but will see its broadcast timeslot move half an hour earlier from 22:00 to 21:30.

■ From Thursday 6 April Top Billing sees yet another timeslot change in the glam magazine show long broadcast history – moving from 20:00 to 20:30.

■ SABC3's investigative magazine show Special Assignment is once again moving in April – this time from Wednesdays at 21:30 to Mondays at 21:00.

■ SABC3's long running Sunday night current affairs interview show Interface at 21:30 is apparently abruptly getting axed. Interface's last episode will be on Sunday 2 April, thereafter replaced by a celebrity-driven type profile show entitled Celebuville in the same timeslot from Sunday 8 April.

Flurry of unknown new local content
Instead of phasing individual new shows in over time to help them gain viewer recognition and support, SABC3 is unleasing a next new wave of unknown local content from April as part of the latest schedule shake-up.

This programming will all compete at the same time for viewers' attention, battling each other to stand out in a crowded nightly 19:30 to 21:30 timeslot.

The previously announced channel switch from SABC1 to SABC3 of Clover's latest season of the advertiser-funded production (AFP), Tropika Island of Treasure Seychelles will start on SABC3 on Monday 27 March at 19:30.

While TVwithThinus saw it already and this show's production values look much improved, the same can't be said for new and unknown SABC3 shows like the female presented car maintenance and driving test show Driving in Heels starting Tuesday 4 April at 21:00, Hostess with Lorna Maseko starting Tuesday 4 April at 20:30, and the food competition reality show Dinner Date set to start on Wednesday 5 April at 19:30.

After several pushbacks the delayed Uyanda It’s On that was originally scheduled for 2016 is finally set to start on SABC3 on Wednesday 5 April at 21:00. 

The reality show follows the former SABC1 publicist and socialite Uyanda Mbuli and her various worldwide luxury indulgences captured on video for public broadcasting consuption.

Friday 7 April will finally see the start of the new SABC3 half hour sitcom Soap on a Rope at 19:30 that was also originally supposed to start in August 2016 on the channel. The comedy stars Luthuli Dlamini, Melanie du Bois, Alfred Ntombela and Sonia Sedibe and is set on a fictitious TV show's set.

Publicist Zandile Nkonyeni was asked why SABC3 is introducing another batch of new local programming in a burst and what the programming strategy is behind the move but she failed to respond.

Late night changes
Days of Our Lives on SABC3 is moving from midnight to an earlier timeslot of 22:30 from 3 April.

The late night Isidingo and The Bold and the Beautiful repeats are both dumped in favour of the German TV news service Deutsche Welle that will now start at 23:30 and run until 02:00 in the morning.

From 02:00 the SABC’s feed of the SABC News channel on DStv will be simulcast overnight with the repeat of American TV series that used to be at 03:30 that's all getting axed in the latest shake-up.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Did Disney steal Zootopia? Screenwriter Gary L. Goldman files a lawsuit against Disney over alleged copyright infringement and wants a jury trial.

A prominent screenwriter is suing The Walt Disney Company, alleging that the mouse house stole Zootopia from him and wants the case to be heard and seen before a jury.

Zootopia, that won the Golden Globe and Oscar earlier this year for best animation film is his idea, not Disney’s, says Gary L. Goldman who has filed a lawsuit claiming copyright infringement, arguing that “Disney Zootopia is substantially similar to the Goldman Zootopia” in a 37-page court filing.

In the eye-popping court papers, Goldman alleges that Disney copied not just his Zootopia film name for its film, but also its “themes, settings, plot, characters, and dialogue – some virtually verbatim” after he pitched his Zootopia idea to Disney in 2000 and again in 2009 and got rejected both times.

Goldman, a veteran screenwriter who wrote the scripts for films like Total Recall, says Disney even copied his character designs and artwork, and includes striking graphics to show how Zootopia’s main characters mirror the characters he created.

Disney in a statement says Gary L. Goldman’s lawsuit “is riddled with patently false allegations. It is an unprincipled attempt to lay claim to a successful film he didn’t create, and we will vigorously defend against it in court.”

In his court papers, Goldman goes through the alleged copyright infrigements one by one and how his Zootopia characters are nearly identical to Disney’s Zootopia.

Goldman’s script for instance has a squirrel named Mimi – cute and optimistic – who is discriminated against. Disney’s Zootopia has Judy, the bunny cop.

Goldman’s tall, horned Asian mountain animal running a club he named Max is called Yax in Disney’s Zootopia and is the same type of animal, and also running a club.

He does this for all of the main characters and shows how their attributes are the same as those of the characters of Disney’s Zootopia.

Same setting, themes, story, poses, characters
Goldman says besides copying his word “Zootopia” – a portmanteau that he came up with – even even dialogue from his treatment shows up almost verbatim in Disney’s Zootopia.

In Goldman’s version a characters says: “If you want to be an elephant, you can be an elephant.” In Disney’s version, Judy says: “You wanna be an elephant when you grow up? You be an elephant. Because this is Zootopia. Anyone can be anything”.

“Each of the works addresses the issue of whether, in a diverse society as represented by the different species of Zootopia, one can be anything he or she wants to be.”

“A corollary theme is whether, in order to do so, one can overcome not only the prejudices inherent in a diverse society as represented by Zootopia, but also the prejudices within oneself as a member of such a society,” says Goldman’s lawsuit.

Goldman explains how the settings of the two Zootopia’s are the same and even the story.

“Artwork in the two Zootopias has the same subject matter and substantially similar appearance, including shapes, colours, body structures, poses and facial expressions of the animal characters”.

“Both works begin with young, uncool heroes who live in small towns with their parents. The heroes work to achieve a career dream that their parents specifically discourage. They go to academies where they excel, achieve recognition for their work, and earn the opportunity to go to the big city for their dream jobs.”

“In the big city, the heroes come up against strong, powerful and entrenched bosses who want to maintain control over the heroes".

Goldman continues to detail the similar narrative structures between the two Zootopias and says the “plot structure and these events involve and are driven by similar themes and characters, and they are used in similar ways to express similar themes”.

Nigerian doctor seeks Big Brother Naija interdict; wants MultiChoice to stop 'obnoxious broadcast' on DStv because his kids and family can't stop watching the 'repugnant' reality show.

There's more controversy for the latest season of Africa's Big Brother TV show with the second "obnoxious" season of Big Brother Naija seen across Africa on DStv that's now being dragged to court for allegedly being so addictive that a Nigerian doctor's kids and family just can't stop watching the show.

Dr Olusola Omoju has filed a motion seeking an injunction - wanting MultiChoice to stop broadcasting Big Brother Naija on the DStv and GOtv platforms with immediate effect because his "family members and other dependents have become avid watchers of the Big Brother show".

The doctor says if Big Brother Naija continues to be shown, his "efforts as a father in bringing up my children" will be jeopardised, since he seeks "to ensure the highest standards of morality in my home"

It's not clear from the court papers if the doctor lost his DStv remote control and TV set's remote control for the age restricted show that employs a built-in digital parental lock-and-block mechanism, or if the TV's wall socket or the set's on-off button in his house is no longer working and forcing the family to watch the show.

If the interdict were to be granted, the Nigerian television censorship will once again affect the entire African broadcasting industry and African viewers far beyond just Nigeria since the Big Brother Naija channel and various highlights programmes are broadcast on DStv across sub-Saharan Africa in several African nations where viewers clamour to watch the reality series.

Last month Nigerians were outraged when they discovered the "secret" that Big Brother Naija is actually filmed in South Africa in the same camera house used for South Africa's Big Brother Mzansi, the pan-African version Big Brother Africa, as well as some other African countries' versions, all making use of the same already constructed and customised studio facility in Linden, Johannesburg.

Three weeks ago controversy again flared up when the show was marred by yet another sexual assault on a housemate when a male housemate groped and fondled a woman while she was sleeping, after which he was expelled.

According to the filed court papers, that naively only lists MultiChoice Nigeria and Nigeria's National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) - excluding Endemol Shine Africa that's the actual production company and M-Net as the actual broadcaster - dr Olusola Omoju says Big Brother Naija was included on his DStv without his consent.

He says he enjoys the "sport, religious, educational and entertainment TV stations available on the DStv plan" but that Big Brother Naija "promotes indecency, immorality and obscenity and is repugnant to the rich cultural heritage of the Nigerian people".

The doctor made and gave the court a compact disk video of a male housemate fondling a woman's breast "openly", a disk showing a man fondling a woman while she slept, and a disk to show that "some housemates have been known to walk around exposing their breasts and taking their baths in a state of near nudity (called "shower hour").

The "shower hour" footage is likely taken from earlier Big Brother Africa versions since MultiChoice Nigeria said that the second season of Big Brother Naija won't be showing "shower hour" again.

The court papers alleges that Big Brother Naija was made available on the doctor's DStv bouquet without his consent, that the practice of an age restriction and "a special code to enable subscribers [to] choose whether they wanted access to the show or not" isn't used this season, and that MultiChoice Nigeria "downplays the importance of family life and broadcast sexually charged acts".

The doctor says that if the "obnoxious broadcast of Big Brother Naija reality show is allowed to continue, this may result in the total collapse of morality in public places and in the society at large".

Sunday, March 19, 2017

HE WAS S'GUDI, 'SNAYSI. Veteran actor Joe Mafela (75) dead after car accident in Johannesburg; 'I've never known a nicer man than Joe,' says actress Lilian Dube.

The veteran South African actor Joe Mafela has died. Joe Mafela was 75 and passed away on Saturday night dying at the scene of a car accident on a Johannesburg highway.

The actor, born in 1942 in Sibasa, Limpopo, and most famous for his comedy role in the SABC sitcom 'Sgudi 'Snaysi ("Is Good, is Nice") in life received three Lifetime Achiever Awards - in TV, for stage, and for comedy.

The legendary Joe Mafela died after being involved in a car accident in Johannesburg on Saturday night.

Joe Mafela was currently playing the role of Tebogo Moroka on Generations The Legacy on SABC1 produced by MMSV Productions.

According to police Joe Mafela was involved in a car accident just before 22:00 on Saturday night on the M1 between the Oxford and Houghton Road off-ramps when an Isuzu double cab bakkie and the white Ford Figo that Joe Mafela was driving, was involved in a car crash alongside a construction zone.

Joe Mafela was declared died on the scene of the accident and he was the sole occupant of the Ford Figo. The driver of the Isuzu double cab bakkie was not injured.

Police is investigating and no arrest has been made at the moment. The police said a charge of culpable homicide is being investigated.

Police said Joe Mafela's death could also be the result of an existing medical condition.

Besides his comedic work, Joe Mafela was a producer and director as well as an ad agency creative director in later years, as well as a Zulu singer, producing and releasing several Zulu-language albums.

Joe Mafela who could speak all of South African's 11 languages, became the first black assistant director in South Africa and in 1974 Joe Mafela appeared in South Africa's first all-black movie made in South Africa, Udeliwe.

It was however his role as the constantly scheming S'dumo in the 78-episode Zulu SABC sitcom 'Sgudi 'Snaysi - at a time that the Apartheid-era SABC would only show him on TV2, its channel for black viewers - that catapulted Joe Mafela to stardom and made him a household name and endeared him to millions of viewers with repeated rebroadcasts over decades.

It's here where Joe Mafela developed a strong professional relationship with Roberta Durrant from Penguin Films that saw him become Penguin Films co-owner and going on - and up - to not just produce but also appear in further Penguin Films produced TV projects.

Joe Mafela's other long-running and stand-out TV role - also in a Penguin Films produced production for the SABC - was for instance as Jabu in the lawyer office set sitcom Going Up.

He did a type of "retake" decades later when he starred in an almost similar kind of role as in 'Sgudi 'Snaysi and Going Up as Sol in's Madam & Eve sitcom in 2000, also produced by Penguin Films.

In 2004, in a show that was before it's time and a send-up of his famous persona, Joe Mafela returned to post-Apartheid SABC for a short-lived TV comedy, Fela's TV, in which a cleaner at a fictional TV broadcaster - although clearly depicting the SABC's Auckland Park headquarters - at night time "stole" the airwaves and swopped his bucket and mop to broadcast a TV show.

Joe Mafela was the creator and singer of the "It's good, good, good, it's good, it's nice" TV advert jingle of the fast food outlet Chicken Licken in 1986.

Joe Mafela received the Lifetime Achiever Award in 2015 a the 5th Annual Comics Choice Awards, saying that it meant he had "done a good job during the years. Whatever was demanded of me, it means I really produced".

Besides his lifetime achievement award at the Comics Choice Awards, Joe Mafela also received a special Duku Duku award in 2004 for his contribution to South Africa's TV industry, and a lifetime achievement award at the Naledi Theatre Awards for his contribution to theatre management in South Africa.

Joe Mafela also received a lifetime achievement award from the South African Film and Television Awards (Saftas) in 2010.

Joe Mafela's father worked as a shop assistant in a Chinese shop in Sophiatown and when Joe Mafela was three years old he left Johannesburg along with his mother, who was expecting her second child.

They returned to Limpopo where his brother was also born and in 1947 Joe Mafela's family moved to Kliptown, south of Johannesburg where they lived for 5 years.

In 1952 they moved to White City Jabavu, a township that was started as temporary shelters and lived there for 5 years before moving to the Tshiawelo township.

When Joe told his dad that he wanted to be an actor his dad said: "No, that's not work. Work is when you go to work at 8am and come back at 5pm". Luckily Joe Mafela followed his own path.

Considered a true groundbreaking legend of South Africa's TV and entertainment industry, Joe Mafela straddled both the "old" and the "new" South Africa, with over 40 decades of hard-won pioneering work spanning the country's film, TV, stage, radio and advertising industries.

"We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn about the news of the passing of legendary actor, director and musician ubaba Joe Mafela," said Nathi Mthethwa, South Africa's minister of arts and culture.

"We extend our condolences to the family, friends, and fans of ubaba Joe Mafela, the nation has lost a crown jewel of our arts and culture."

Sello Hatang, The Nelson Mandela Foundation CEO told eNCA (DStv 403) that "In his memory, may the entertainment industry become what he wanted it to be - one that cares about those who act in it, one that wants people to thrive in it; that people shouldn't die poor while they're practising the craft that they believe in".

"The most important thing with Joe Mafela's death is, what do we need to do to ensure that our artists never die poor?" said Sello Hatang.

"We have learned with sadness of the passing of one of the pioneers of the television comedy loved by all South Africans young and old," said South Africa president Jacob Zuma in a statement.

"Joe Mafela also affectionately known as Sdumo was also a television producer and songwriter.  The arts and culture industry has been robbed of a bigger than life figure.  We wish to extend our heartfelt condolences to Mafela family and may his soul rest in peace".

The SABC in a statement with mistakes like referring to Madam & Eve as SABC programming [it was done by Penguin Films for] said the public broadcaster is "saddened to learn of the sudden passing of arts veteran Joe Mafela. Joe Mafela was a giant in his field and had become a voice and face of the industry."

"The multi-talented Joe Mafela, who was also known as a  singer/songwriter and producer and who recently appeared on SABC1 soap Generations: The Legacy, will be remembered for his memorable acting roles in TV shows such as the hugely popular 'Sgudi 'Snaysi , where he portrayed the character 'Sdumo' a nickname which stuck with him through the years."

"The SABC sends its heartfelt condolences to his family, friends, viewers and fans who have followed his esteemed career, in TV, stage and film over the past 40 years."

"I've never known a nicer man than Joe," said actress and longtime friend Lilian Dube on Sunday. "He gave and gave".

Lilian Dube revealed that the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) organising the Saftas that took place on Saturday evening didn't want to invite Joe Mafela or herself to the award show, how they are being "marginalised" as actors, and that she spoke with him on Saturday.

"We were even speaking about the Saftas to which he wasn't invited, I wasn't invited and we said you know, Joe? We do what we do because we love it. Whether we get invited to the Saftas or not."

Friday, March 17, 2017

NIGHTY-NIGHT. Co-anchor duo Jeremy Maggs and Iman Rappetti are both leaving eNCA's flagship NewsNight and prime time - here's why.

It's over for the best co-anchor TV news duo on South African television with Jeremy Maggs and Iman Rappetti on eNCA not just leaving their seats behind the NewsNight oval glass desk and next to each other but also getting out of prime time after they've both had enough.

The dismantling of how eNCA (DStv 403) used to look and what it used to be continues with the co-anchors of its flagship nightly news broadcast, Jeremy Maggs and Iman Rappetti both leaving NewsNight by the end of next month.

The widely respected news duo have been eNCA's co-joined prime time faces for the past five years, with their imminent big exit being the latest visible eNCA on-air disruption, part of the ongoing sea change taking place behind-the-scenes at the eMedia Investment run channel.

eNCA (DStv 403) hasn't named an anchor replacement or replacements for the nightly two and a half hour show done from's Hyde Park newsplex in Johannesburg in which Jeremy Maggs and Iman Rappetti showed and shared great personal on-air rapport.

The beloved duo's on-air chemistry in the age of 24-hour TV news channels was exceptionally rare - especially for often-dull and dry, cookie cutter South African television news broadcasts and harkened back to the heydey of when M-Net's Carte Blanche with co-hosts Derek Watts and Ruda Landman would successfully banter with each other in a way that drew viewers more than into just a show, but into a news conversation.

"Both Jeremy and Iman have been key to the success of eNCA," says Mapi Mhlangu, eNCA news director. "We thank them for their loyalty, hard work and brilliance in bringing powerful news stories to our screens. This is a big change for the channel and our viewers, but also an opportunity to showcase talent in our newsroom and beyond".

Jeremy Maggs, the former Who Wants to be a Millionaire? SA host, who anchored NewsNight since its debut on eNCA 9 years ago, asked to be moved to an earlier timeslot on the channel.

Jeremy Maggs will be anchoring the lunchtime show Newsday from May that used to be done from Cape Town for years before eNCA management abruptly downsized the newsblock's operation by firing staff and moving the show to Johannesburg since November 2016.

Jeremy Maggs will also continue to do his marketing, media and advertising magazine show Maggs on Media broadcast on Sundays on eNCA.

Iman Rappetti who started out in earlier eNCA timeslots before landing the plum prime time timeslot is exiting eNCA after 11 years to get out of night time for family reasons.

While still the most polished of the three South African TV news channels and boasting the highest viewership under TV news channels on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform, eNCA has been battered the past two years as it scaled down its once lofty news ambitions while it dramatically cut back on current affairs programming, abandoned its attempts at first-hand Africa coverage, shed news staff and reduced its on-air hours of live shows.

Although Jeremy Maggs and Iman Rappetti the past few years often no longer co-anchored together, with both taking solo turns on several weeknights and both abandoning Friday nights on eNCA, NewsNight, despite its faults, remained the best produced general nightly news show on South African television.

eNCA's NewsNight anchor changes come as the struggling Gupta-owned, Infinity Media's ANN7 (DStv 405) rolls along with an unsteady and ever-changing revolving door of prime time anchors, and as the beleaguered SABC's SABC News (DStv 404) channel lost its prime time co-anchor Vabakshnee Chetty-Miller in January this year next to Peter Ndoro after she emigrated to America following the birth of her first child and maternity leave.

"It has been a heady, tough, rewarding, crazy ride," says Iman Rappetti. "Thank you for the gifts of professionalism, a platform to shine and unwavering support. The decision to leave is not an easy one but I need to put my family first."

Anton Harber, eNCA editor-in-chief says "Iman has contributed enormously to our success and is part of our channel's history. We are very sad to see her go".

Jeremy Maggs says that "after anchoring well over 1 000 editions of NewsNight it's high time I pass on the baton to a new team and get home a little earlier in the evening".

"I've been in discussion with the channel about this move for the past year and management has been both understanding and sensitive to my need for a change. I want to pay special tribute to Iman, my co-host for the past five years. Every night on-air together has been a treat".

Thursday, March 16, 2017

SHOCKER. SABC admits its facing a new cash crisis, says SABC staff could be retrenched, SABC News and SABC Encore channels on DStv now 'jeopardised'.

The beleaguered SABC is suddenly admitting that it's facing a new cash crisis and warns in a statement that staff retrenchments could be on the cards at the public broadcaster that now admits that it is funding operations out of its already low cash reserves that’s dwindling fast.

The SABC is also warning that the sustainability of its controversial SABC News and SABC Encore channels it supplies to MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform is now suddenly "jeopardised".

The struggling SABC is mired in allegations of mismanagement, maladministration and corruption and largely rudderless after the gutting of the SABC board and the firing of swathes of top executives with no permanent CEO or COO.

The SABC is now blaming its cauldron's brew of negative and sensational news bubbling forth since late December in parliament's ad hoc committee investigating the SABC for a drop in revenue and the SABC's cash balance that's supposed to be held steady at R650 million per month.

The shocking and lurid stories coming from those who testified before parliament's ad hoc committee, apparently scared not just advertisers away, but jeopardised deals being negotiated and caused fewer people to pay their SABC TV licences.

The inquiry's final report that was adopted last week Tuesday, found that all of the SABC's "questionable transactions" should be investigated and probed by forensic audit like the SABC MultiChoice deal, and for a review of the feasibility of The New Age breakfast briefings.

By December the loss-making SABC's cash reserves plunged to just R174 million, with the SABC now saying that it had warned the government repeatedly that it's not getting enough money from the government.

The SABC now confirms a new cash crisis as Auckland Park’s Fawlty Towers is once again hovering close to the financial crisis in 2009 that saw the SABC come to the brink of financial collapse. 

This crisis triggered a government bail-out in the form of a R1.4 billion government guaranteed Nedbank bank loan. Now the SABC’s is once again dangerously close to running out of money.

'Activities now funded from reserves’
SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago admitted in a press statement on Thursday that the SABC's revenue is "under pressure with the SABC now funding its activities from its reserves".

Kaizer Kganyago now says that "the SABC cautioned that the collapse of its finances was imminent if due care was not exercised in dealing with the confidentiality of contracts with its strategic partners".

Kaizer Kganyago says that "continuous attacks on the SABC" could now lead to retrenchment of SABC staff and that the SABC suffered a significant drop in advertising income.

The sustainability of the SABC News and SABC Encore channels on DStv are now also "jeopardised" according to the SABC, meaning the future fate of these controversial channels are uncertain.

The SABC's new interim board, their appointment waiting to be rubber-stamped by president Jacob Zuma, will have to try and save the sinking public broadcasting ship.

The SABC recorded yet another – and growing – loss of R411 in the 2015/2016 financial year and posted a loss of R256 million for the second quarter of 2016. The SABC is on track to likely post yet another annual loss later this year.

WHO KNEW? Brand de Villiers in as new MultiChoice Africa CEO and Tim Jacobs out as yet another 'pale male' heads up Naspers' Africa pay-TV division.

It wasn't publicly announced when it happened from January 2017, nor was there any stepping down, goodbye statement, but Brand de Villiers has taken over as new MultiChoice Africa CEO following the quiet exit of Tim Jacobs at the end of 2016 at Naspers' pay-TV division for Africa.

The replacement raises questions about MultiChoice Africa's top management transformation - or perceived lack of it - as yet another white male executive in a succession of "pale males" has taken over the number one executive position to look after MultiChoice's sprawling Africa pay-TV business division.

Eben Greyling was MultiChoice Africa CEO, followed by Collins Khumalo for a little bit who decided to "take a break". 

Nico Meyer who then started as MultiChoice Africa CEO in February 2012, left in April 2015 "for personal reasons". He was replaced in turn by Tim Jacobs who left just over a year and a half later in December 2016 "for family reasons".

In all that time - spanning almost a decade - MultiChoice Africa doesn't seem to have adequately nurtured, prepared and corporately laddered up internally, new executive management talent in whom it has enough confidence to fill the MultiChoice Africa CEO role within a black economic empowerment (BEE) perspective.

Now Brand de Villiers is the new boss of MultiChoice Africa since January 2017.

Brand de Villiers of course defected from the Premier League Soccer where he was PSL CEO in late 2015 to become MultiChoice's new general manager for strategy and special projects.

MultiChoice Africa says Tim Jacobs stepped down from the position as MultiChoice Africa CEO in January for family reasons as he decided to re-locate back to South Africa from Dubai.

Brand de Villiers has been running the operations of MultiChoice Africa for just over a year.

MultiChoice Africa in a statement says "MultiChoice Africa is delighted to announce the appointment of Brand de Villiers as CEO based in Dubai."

"He joined the business in November 2015 as strategy and special projects director and has been a driving force in enabling the business to respond to dynamic and complex environment in 49 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa."

"Brand de Villiers is a chartered accountant having held positions as CEO of the PSL and the Marc Group who own Sail, EXP as well as shareholdings in rugby teams such as the Blue Bulls and Western Province."

DStv GIVES THANKS. MultiChoice launches new loyalty programme, DStv Thanks for DStv subscribers across Africa, excluding South Africa.

MultiChoice has launched a new loyalty programme called DStv Thanks across the rest of Africa - excluding South Africa - with DStv subscribers who will be getting access to additional TV channels for free, if they remain subscribed for at least 3 months.

MultiChoice that doesn't currently have plans to introduce DStv Thanks in South Africa, is implementing the new loyalty programme as only South African DStv subscribers will see price hikes introduced from 1 April, with no apparent DStv and GOtv subscription increases for the most of Africa this year, besides minimal price increases for Namibia, Botswana and Swaziland.

MultiChoice Africa is feeling the pinch and churn as subscribers in stalling economies from Zimbabwe to Kenya and from Botswana to Nigeria have been vocal about their struggles to afford DStv and GOtv.

At the same time pay-TV rivals from China StarTimes to Zuku TV and Econet Media's newly introduced Kwesé TV are all ferociously competing to sign up and retain subscription television customers in Africa's growing direct-to-home (DTH) satellite TV market.

With Tim Jacobs gone as MultiChoice Africa CEO and replaced by Brand de Villiers in the position since January this year, MultiChoice's African division has now launched DStv Thanks and GOtv Wow to reward subscribers who remain connected to DStv and GOtv for at least 3 months.

According to MultiChoice the first reward is access to additional entertainment TV channels - like for instance Zee Bollymovies, Viasat Life and AfricaXP's new male-focused Trigger channel - offered for free to subscribers in various African countries who remain connected for 3 months or longer. There will also be "monthly airtime bonuses".

"When putting together this rewards programme, we analysed the best global rewards practices, as well as what our customers love about the DStv brands," says MultiChoice in a statement slightly adjusted per African country where DStv Thanks was announced.

"The rewards offered had to provide greater value to our loyal customers beyond the normal, while also providing more motivation to stay loyal to our platform".

"We're confident that the rewards we have lined up for DStv Thanks now and in the future will not only enhance our customers' television viewing experience but also solidify their connection to our platforms."

SABC acting CEO James Aguma tells parliament that the SABC wants its news sponsored; warns of 'serious problem' if news can't find sponsor.

The SABC's acting CEO James Aguma says the South African public broadcaster wants the news that it broadcast to be sponsored although the SABC is actually prohibited from doing this by the broadcasting regulator.

The SABC as South Africa's public broadcaster is mandated, according to its editorial policy and according to its licence conditions from the broadcasting regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa), to provide news that is fair, balanced and objective and not commercially sponsored.

The SABC own editorial policy states that "we do not allow advertising, commercial, political or personal considerations to influence our editorial considerations" and that the SABC is required to "report news truthfully, accurately and objectively".

"Sponsorship of television news and current affairs has been prohibited by Icasa, and is therefore not allowed by the SABC," states the SABC’s editorial policy.

"Weather forecasts and sports bulletins that form part of TV news bulletins may be sponsored. Any product placement within news and current affairs programmes is strictly forbidden".

James Aguma told parliament's portfolio committee on communications about "the serious problem" if SABC news isn't sponsored, saying that "it implies that we are going to run an operation without funds".

"That explains – and there's been a lot of talk about the SABC MultiChoice channels contract – why SABC News (DStv 404) is funded through a strategic partnership".

"Because it's those funds that we need to cover that [news] operation. The SABC's normal news department is sustainable. What we need to do, is to ensure that the revenue growth and the cost – the growth is higher than the cost," said James Aguma.

"Unfortunately, if 85% of your revenue arises from advertising, then you are open to market forces. And we know that market forces are changing consumption patterns. People are consuming content now on digital."

"Those are some of the reasons why certain contracts were signed because we realised its time now to shift aggressively towards the digital space. And that's something that we prefer to keep, you know, keep under wraps. But the issue is it's a strategic choice because we are seeing a funding gap on trying to sell content on this traditional platforms," he said.

In late December 2016 parliament's ad hoc committee investigating maladministration at the SABC heard several allegations of how the Gupta-owned The New Age wanted to take over the running of the SABC's news operations.

The committee heard allegations of how the SABC is bleeding cash on production costs to run the controversial The New Age sponsored "breakfast briefings" broadcast on Morning Live on the SABC2 and SABC News channels.

The inquiry's final report, adopted last week Tuesday by parliament, found that all of the SABC's "questionable transactions" should be investigated and probed by forensic audit like the SABC MultiChoice deal, and for a review of the feasibility of The New Age breakfast briefings.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Khanyisile Kweyama recommended as new SABC chairperson of the to be appointed interim SABC board.

Khanyisile Kweyama has been recommended in an urgent meeting by parliament's parliament's portfolio committee on communications to become the new SABC chairperson of the to be appointed SABC interim board.

The beleaguered SABC, mired in allegations of corruption, mismanagement and maladministration has been left rudderless for months.

The SABC has been without any SABC board or board members, no permanent CEO and COO for months and has been absolutely gutted after the firing of numerous top executives who are all gone after the sprawling internal management destruction wreaked inside the public broadcaster by the controversial former COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

The respected veteran journalist and former newspaper editor Mathatha Tsedu were recommended as deputy SABC chairperson, while Krish Naidoo, Febe Potgieter-Gqubule and John Mattison were recommended as interim SABC board members.

Krish Naidoo is a former SABC board member. He resigned spectacularly and with dramatic effect in late December 2016 in parliament during parliament's investigation into the shocking maladministration of the SABC and made several damning revelations about the SABC's flouting of corporate governance requirements.

Veteran journalist and editor John Mattison is a former broadcasting regulator councillor and responsible for the SABC's election coverage in 1994.

Khanyisile Kweyama who has a masters degree in management from Wits university, is the former CEO of Business Unity South Africa (Busa) and a former executive director of Anglo American SA, the first woman to hold such position at that company, and a former Telkom board member.

Khanyisile Kweyama also served on the National Planning Commission appointed by the president and served on a provincial group fighting racism in Gauteng, appointed by the Gauteng premier.

What happens now is that the portfolio committee on communication's report, recommending the interim SABC chairperson and interim SABC board members, is sent to the National Assembly.

On Wednesday the report is tabled at the National Assembly, after which it is sent to president Jacob Zuma to basically rubber-stamp and approve the appointments, making it official.

Adrian Pilkington appointed senior vice president for commercial strategy at A+E Networks UK looking after Africa.

Adrian Pilkington has been appointed as the senior vice president commercial strategy & general Manager for the Nordic, Benelux, Middle East and Africa region at A+E Networks UK.

A+E Networks UK runs channels like Lifetime, History, Crime+Investigation on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform in South Africa and across Africa.

Adrian Pilkington will report to Dean Possenniskie.

Adrian Pilkington will be responsible for the A+E Networks UK's commercial strategy, including channel distribution, digital distribution and ad sales.

He will also serve as general manager for the Nordics, the Benelux, Middle East and Africa and oversee the company's offices and local teams in Copenhagen, Amsterdam and in Johannesburg, South Africa.

kykNET promises more shirtless men in soaps: 'Actors ordered to take off their shirts as often as possible' as kykNET ramps up drama and comedy output.

kykNET has ordered the guys to ditch the shirts and is ordering a lot more male shirtless scenes for its weekday soaps as M-Net's Afrikaans channels division is also dramatically ramping up its drama and comedy content output.

Besides more Afrikaans male soap stars pushed to bare their six packs, kykNET is doubling its amount of drama content and tripling the amount of comedy produced for its channels on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform in the upcoming months.

In Suidooster on kykNET & Kie (DStv 145) it took actor Eden Classens who just joined the Cape Town set soap just two scenes to bare his body.

"New actors have been ordered to take off their shirts and to go shirtless as often as possible to give kykNET good ratings," said Nicola van Niekerk, kykNET's head of production.

Making the remark about more male shirtlessness in kykNET soaps in jest, she spoke to the media about some of kykNET's upcoming content slate and its increased Afrikaans content plans over the next year.

And while the men might be losing the shirts off their backs, with kykNET - as far as content is concerned - the channel says things have never been better.

"In the next 12 months, kykNET will bring DStv subscribers double the amount of drama content and triple the amount of comedy than before," said Nicola van Niekerk. "Content wise, things have never gone as well with kykNET as now."

Coming up is a second season of the Afrikaans drama series Boekklub in July and in October is anther new series entitled Waterfront.

"We struggled between channels about whose going to produce this show. The story is unbelievable and kykNET won and is doing it in Afrikaans. Filming will start around July and August to be ready by October."

"Comedy wise we have Phil 101 starting in April. Phil 101, is set at a fictional university's philosophy department with Frank Opperman and Pierre van Pletzen who viewers for the first time in a long time will see as a character other than 7de Laan's Oubaas, and he is a hero, together will all the new talent"," said Nicola van Niekerk.

Sara se Geheim is starting on 11 April at 20:00, a new Afrikaans drama series with 26 episodes in which the past comes back to haunt the Cloete, Kiewiet and Vermeulen families and starring June van Merch, David Minnaar, Lee-Ann van Rooi, Brendon Daniels. Marlo Minnaar and Nicola Hanekom.

"Then in July on kykNET we have Elke Skewe Pot that we're currently busy filming. It's about four old spinsters struggling to find love and then they start a dating website."

"Soaps wise, I'm a big fan. In Binnelanders a lot of drama is waiting for a pregnant Pippa. She's been through rabies - everything - what else can possibly still happen with her? I hear ghosts are waiting to haunt her. Is doctor Tertius going to finally find love - whether in a nurse's embrace or another doctor?" said Nicola van Niekerk.

"In Getroud met Rugby Sasha is being confronted with an identity crisis. I love soaps because they provide us with characters that every viewer can relate to."

"You come home in the evening and watch your soaps and can relate to the people. It's in our soaps what's happening with South Africa's people and what the Afrikaans community experiences daily".

"But we're not just telling these stories. We also have actuality programming through which we try to give unbiased context to the news to help viewers form their own opinions about the world."

"Then there's our cornerstone programming like Kwêla and Bravo who boasts some of the most beautiful presenters on television. Kwêla in its 17th year covers stories and people that are incredibly special. You can't underestimate the value of a programme like Kwêla"," said Nicola van Niekerk.

The first season of the surprise hit, Varsity Sing, the a capella university choir competition series, will be repeated on kykNET & Kie (DStv 145) in April.

Exciting varsity experiment coming to kykNET NOU!
About kykNET NOU! (DStv 146), kykNET's channel that focuses on music shows and programming, Karen Meiring, the M-Net director for Afrikaans channels, said that the viewership on kykNET NOU! is surprisingly not just young people.

"kykNET NOU! has a large number of older viewers watching it. We also focus on a lot of lifestyle and entertainment shows on kykNET NOU! We're also very excited- we're doing an experiment with kykNET NOU! with universities, that we will be talking more about soon, but it's hugely exciting."

"Our core business is to tell stories, and through our stories we want to make an impact on the wide Afrikaans community that we serve," said Karen Meiring.