Sunday, July 5, 2020

The ANC political party tells South African public broadcaster it doesn't want the bloated SABC to get rid of staffers.


The ANC summoned the top executives of the South African public broadcaster for a meeting at the ANC's headquarters in Johannesburg and told them that the political party doesn't want the bloated and over-staffed SABC to fire any workers.

The SABC has started for a second time to try and cut its enormous wage bill and to get rid of unnecessary personnel after the SABC was forced to end a first attempt in late-2018 because of political pressure in 2019 that was an election year in South Africa.

Currently, 40 cents in every R1 spent by the SABC goes to wages and salaries of its thousands of workers, dragging down the financial situation of the embattled broadcaster that got a R3.2 billion bailout earlier in 2020 and is projecting a loss of over R1 billion on its projected revenue for the year because of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

Now the SABC wants to fire 600 workers and told parliament's portfolio committee on communications and the ANC that if the broadcasting corporation is prevented from getting rid of workers the government will have to provide another bailout of over R1 billion to pay wages.

Currently the SABC spends over R270 million per month just on paying salaries.

On Sunday the City Press newspaper reported that Madoda Mxakwe, SABC CEO, and Bongumusa Makhathini, SABC chairperson were both summoned to the ANC's Luthuli House for a private meeting where ANC leaders told the SABC that it doesn't want and won't support the layoff of SABC staff since that would embarrass the political party which is also currently the governing party in South Africa.

The ANC was represented in the meeting with the SABC by Jessie Duarte (ANC deputy secretary general), Pinky Kekana (deputy minister of communication), as well as Solly Mapaila (SACP deputy leader).

South Africa's department of communications, currently run by the disgraced Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, was initially for layoffs at the SABC but has now made a sudden turnaround.

Pule Mabe, ANC spokesperson, told City Press that it was a private meeting.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Coronavirus: Actor-director and Kom Ons Jol co-host Hammie Wessels on kykNET reveals 'I've tested positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus' as music video call-in show switches to presenters' homes.


by Thinus Ferreira

The actor-director Hamilton Wessels popularly known as "Hammie" who is currently the co-presenter of Kom Ons Jol on kykNET (DStv 144) has tested Covid-19 positive with the weekly music video call-in show that switched from its studio setting to be done from the presenters' home on Saturday night.

Kom Ons Jol, produced by C-SAW Media, is one of a growing string of shows on M-Net's Afrikaans language division kykNET channels, as well as the broader South African TV and film industry, all affected by increasing Covid-19 positive cases under their casts and crews and that has seen productions shut down for studio and set deep-cleaning and staff self-isolation.

"It's my fault that tonight we come to you from our homes tonight - it's not our new set - it's our homes. I've tested positive for the coronavirus, I've picked it up from somewhere. I have no symptoms at this stage. I hope it remains that way," Hammie Wessels told DStv subscribers on Saturday night.

"M-Net and MultiChoice told us to get tested, there's been a few viruses where we work. Co-host Leandie du Randt luckily tested negative. I'm staying positive. Now it's safety first."

Hammie Wessels said that he will now have to self-isolate for 14 days of which he's "already been a few days into it. I'm now staying home."

When South Africa's Covid-19 national lockdown period started, kykNET quickly created Kom Ons Jol as a Saturday night replacement for its traditional Afrikaans film slot, inviting viewers and artists to interact through their mobile devices with dedications, messages and performances as the use of consumer video conferencing technology exploded because of the shutdown.


Leandie Du Randt said "People need to realise that this thing is really real and not something to toy with. So if you think you've been in contact with someone who has Covid-19, stay home, stay in isolation, get tested. It's uncomfortable but we will get through it."

kykNET's Afrikaans Friday night sports variety talk show, Toks & Tjops, also produced by C-SAW Media, also switched back to the various presenters' homes for Friday's edition after it had returned to the studio for just 2 weeks after Toks & Tjops was recorded remotely from the 4 presenters' homes for the past 3 months.

PROGRAMMING NOTE. 2020 Sharkfest on National Geographic starting 4 July has month-long shark documentaries including the South African filmed Shark vs Whale.


by Thinus Ferreira

The 2020 Sharkfest programming strand returns to National Geographic (DStv 181 / StarSat 220) starting on Saturday 4 July from 14:00 to 19:00 and on Nat Geo WILD (DStv 182 / StarSat 221) starting on Monday 6 July, from 18:00.

National Geographic and Nat Geo WILD will broadcast 4 weeks of shark programming with 17 original premieres until the end of July during its 8th Sharkfest event.

"For the past 8 years, National Geographic and National Geographic Wild have been the destination for viewers to get up close and personal with one of the world’s most awe-inspiring creatures, and this year we’re eating up the competition with an unprecedented line-up of action-packed shark shows" says Geoff Daniels, executive vice president of global unscripted entertainment at National Geographic.

"Over 4 full weeks, our viewers will get the ultimate home-field advantage to witness the ocean's superstars in their prime, so pull up your beach chairs and get ready for some Sharkfest."

Evert van der Veer, vice president, media networks at The Walt Disney Company Africa, says "This year's Sharkfest is going to hit a grand-slam with entertaining, heart-pounding content that showcases the ocean's fiercest and often most misunderstood predators".

One of the documentaries, Shark vs Whale was filmed off the coast of South Africa.




When Sharks Attack
Saturday 4 July 16:30 National Geographic, from 5 July 18:00 Nat Geo WILD
For families on beaches across the world, a split second is all it takes to turn a dream vacation into a nightmare. Sudden shark attacks frequently occur, and the motive behind the bite often puzzles locals and scientists alike. When Sharks Attack investigates these incidences to shed light on why and where shark encounters take place with the hope that if we understand the behaviour, we might be able to limit the number of attacks.


America’s Deadliest Sharks
Monday 6 July 18:00 Nat Geo WILD
Up to 175 species of shark live in the oceans around the United States but only a handful of those have been known to attack humans. Despite that, they have more shark attacks there every year than the rest of the world combined.


What the Shark
Tuesday 7 July 18:00 Nat Geo WILD
This film is a deep dive - from the sunny beach to the 8000-foot abyss, where extreme adaptation is critical to survival. 
For sharks in this dark void, pressure, or a lack of it, could blow flesh to pieces, and inky darkness could mean never finding prey. But these weirdsters have their act together. They're a ghostly cast of living monsters that defy the convention of life on Earth as we know it.


Shark vs. Surfer 
Tuesday 14 July 18:00 Nat Geo WILD
Surfers aren’t the only athletes in the water; they share the playing field with the most powerful players below surface, and often, they’re no match for the real danger among the waves. 
This documentary travels to the most shark-infested surf spots around the world to hear harrowing shark-and-surfer stories told by the survivors, along with insight from the world’s leading marine biologists, Ryan Johnson and Dr. Steven Kajuira.


World’s Biggest Tiger Shark
Wednesday 15 July 18:00 Nat Geo WILD
Cinematographer Andy Casagrande and marine biologist Kori Garza journey to a remote lagoon in French Polynesia to dive with the “tigers of Tahiti” in search of the world’s largest living tiger shark, Kamakai. While there, they capture cooperative hunting tactics between two juvenile tiger sharks for the first time ever on film.



Shark vs Whale
Friday 17 July 18:00 Nat Geo WILD
A routine drone survey turns deadly when Ryan Johnson, a marine biologist based in South Africa, films a humpback whale being attacked and strategically drowned by a great white shark. 
The never-before-seen behaviour causes a complete perspective shift on a creature Johnson has spent his life studying. To make sense of the event, he follows humpback whales on their migration, mapping places that may make them vulnerable, and takes a new look at great white sharks to discover how and why they become whale killers.



Most Wanted Sharks
Monday 20 July 18:00 Nat Geo WILD
Of the millions of sharks in our oceans, a select few are so fascinating, they’ve become worldwide celebrities with legions of fans and followers. Marine biologist and shark-suit inventor Jeremiah Sullivan dives into the stories of the most sensational shark stars of all time.



Sharkcano
Tuesday 21 July 18:00 Nat Geo WILD
Sharks and volcanoes, across the globe: where you find one, you find the other. Researchers have not figured out what attracts sharks to the hotspots, but world-renowned shark scientist Dr Michael Heithaus is on a mission to figure out the answer. He crisscrosses the globe and risks life and limb to uncover the shocking real-life link between these two fearsome forces of nature.


Sharks vs. Dolphins: Blood Battle
Sunday 28 July 18:00 Nat Geo WILD
The ultimate feud is waged beneath the waves: sharks versus dolphins. 
They’ve shared the ocean for millennia, but scientists have only just begun to understand the complex relationship between the two. The special follows a team of experts as they travel to the epicentre of this savage struggle - Shark Bay, Australia - to unlock the secrets of shark and dolphin combat.

Veteran actress Mary Twala dead at 80; 'Lala Ma,' says son Somizi Mhlongo.


by Thinus Ferreira

The veteran actor Mary Twala has died at the age of 80 with her son, the choreographer, reality TV star and Idols judge Somizi Mhlongo who said "Lala Ma".

Mary Twala had been admitted at Netcare’s Park Lane hospital in Johannesburg for several days with an undisclosed illness where she died on Saturday morning.

On Instagram on Saturday Somizi Mhlongo wrote: "Today's my late father's birthday and my mom decided to respond to his call to join him in heaven. The tree has fallen."

"I'm shattered to the core but I'd be very selfish if I don't release her. My mom lived to the fullest, achieved beyond her dreams. It hurts like hell, I won't lie. A day without her calling to either say I love you or give me money."

"Thank you South Africa for loving the phenomenal superstar that is my mother. She left us peacefully around 11:00 at Parklane private hospital as I was on my way to drop off her gown and a few minutes earlier the doctor called to say, 'Come she's up and jolly now'. I arrived a few minutes late. Lala Ma".

Born in Soweto on 14 September 1939, Mary Twala who was married to actor Ndaba Mhlongo until his death, had roles in many South African films, TV series and theatre in a career spanning over 6 decades, including a guest role during the first season of SABC1's Generations.

In 2007 Mary Twala appeared in the local supernatural miniseries Ubizo: The Calling on SABC1 and in 2009 she played Ma Dolly in a supporting role in the SABC2 miniseries Hopeville for which she was nominated at the 6th Africa Movie Academy Awards in the category of Best Supporting Actress.

In 2010 she starred as MaKhumanule in the SABC2 sitcom Skwizas and in 2015 won the award for Best actress in a TV comedy at the SAFTAs.

In 2015 she appeared in the film Vaya and in 2016 in the film Comatose. In 2017 she appeared in the film Beyond the River.

Other films include Life, Above All, Beat the Drum, Leading Lady, Ghost Son, Mapantsula, SarafinaState of Violence, A Love in Africa, Malunde, Dr Lucille, Nyaka-Nyaka, Ngaka, Deliwe, Friends, Game for Vultures, Taxi to Soweto (for which she won a Best Supporting Actress award), Waati, Science Classic and Score.

On television Mary Twala also appeared in series like Undenzani Melwane, Iqhawe, Die SonKriel, Hlala Kwabafileyo, Soul Buddyz, Child Of Soweto, Khululeka, Yizo-Yizo, SOS and SABC2's Muvhango.

She also had TV roles in Ambitions, Hard Copy, Home Affairs, iNkaba, Roots, Scandal!, Sokhulu & Partners, Stokvel, The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Zero Tolerance and Zone 14.

For her performances in Hlala Kwabafileyo and Molo Fish she won awards.

In 2019 Mary Twala received the Order of Ikhamanga for her contribution to the performing arts in South Africa.

South Africa's department of sport, arts and culture in a statement on Saturday evening said that Mary Twala "will best be remembered for her excellent contribution to the performing arts and for creatively raising awareness of women’s health issues through storytelling".

"Her sense of humour and humility on and off stage have endeared her to the nation at large."

"Mary Twala was an icon who left a gigantic footprint in the arts industry as well as on the hearts of the millions of South Africans who loved her. She lived a full life. May her soul rest in peace and may her son, her granddaughter, her family and friends be comforted in this time. Take a bow, Ma’Twala."

Friday, July 3, 2020

Sky News presenter Jacquie Beltrao battling breast cancer again, says 'last 4 weeks myself and my family have been walking through a living nightmare'.


by Thinus Ferreira

The Sky News (DStv 402) presenter Jacquie Beltrao is battling breast cancer again after she discovered a new lump during the lockdown period in the United Kingdom.

Jacquie Beltrao (55) was first diagnosed with breast cancer during Christmas 2013, said that she is determined to win her fight against cancer and returned to work at Sky News in mid-2014 after she had completed her cancer treatment.

Now Jacquie Beltrao revealed that she has once again been diagnosed with breast cancer and this time grade 3 breast cancer which is worse than what she experienced before.

Jacquie Beltrao has undergone two chemotherapy sessions already with 14 more to undergo.

In a Twitter video message she says the cancer is "much nastier than the first one I had". She says it "felt weird going back to work on Sky and being on social media and acting like everything was shiny and perfect and fun when it wasn't."

"And for the last 4 weeks myself and my family have been walking through a living nightmare. But I am where I am."

Coronavirus: Growing collection of kykNET shows impacted by positive Covid-19 cases; current affairs show KN Verslag and primetime soaps to remain on-air.


by Thinus Ferreira

Multiple shows on M-Net's Afrikaans division channels kykNET (DStv 144) and kykNET & Kie (DStv 145) are now also affected by Covid-19 positive cast and crew cases behind-the-scenes.

Positive Covid-19 cases are now impacting the production of a growing number of kykNET programming.

This stretches from weekday primetime soaps and series like Suidooster and Arendsvlei produced in Cape Town, to Johannesburg where the soap Binnelanders, the call-in music show Kom Ons Jol, and even its current affairs strand KN Verslag are all done from; as well as Pretoria where the hybrid radio-on-TV shows like Die GROOT Ontbyt, GROOTPlaas and Kom Ons Praat Daaroor are produced.


After just two episodes back on the Johannesburg set following months of doing remote episodes from home, the Friday night sports variety show Toks & Tjops produced by CSAW Media is abruptly back to doing Zoom episodes from the various presenters' homes after Covid-19 positive cases at the Randburg studio.

This coming Saturday evening the weekly edition of the Kom Ons Jol call-in music video programme - already making heavy use of video conferencing technology because of Covid-19 - will now be done from the presenters' homes after co-host Hamilton "Hammie" Wessels tested Covid-19 positive.

This week Die GROOT Ontbyt went into repeats while kykNET altered the schedule for the other two shows after The Pretoria community radio station shuttered for a deep-clean after Covid-19 in the studio.

It follows after eMedia's eNuus done from Hyde Park on Saturday evening had to broadcast a pre-recorded episode and had to shut the studio for a deep-clean also because of Covid-19.

Die GROOT Ontbyt will resume with a new episode on Monday 6 July.

Both Suidooster filmed at Atlantic Studios in Cape Town and produced by Suidooster Films and Arendsvlei produced by Penguin Films have now had positive Covid-19 cases.

Covid-19 is also affecting Binnelanders produced by Stark Films at Stark Studios in Johannesburg, as well as KN Verslag produced by Idea Candy and also making use of Stark Studios floorspace.

Binnelanders, Suidooster and Arendsvlei will however continue to broadcast new episodes.

kykNET couldn't immediately tell TVwithThinus on Friday afternoon when Binnelanders, Suidooster and Arendsvlei individually shut down production because of Covid-19 cases but said it would source the information.

kykNET that says "No disruption of daily dramas and telenovelas is expected because these programmes are filmed months in advance. Since the start of level 3 regulations, some of these productions have also adjusted their shooting schedules to six working days a week, using smaller, rotating crews."

The current affairs show KN Verslag will also continue.

Anchor Waldimar Pelser will continue to present the show either from his home in Cape Town or the studio in Johannesburg. The other KN Verslag anchors, Lourensa Eckard and Heindrich Wyngaard, will broadcast from the studio in Johannesburg.

"kykNET is committed to the safety of all crew and cast on productions, as well as that of our viewers. We wish to thank crew and cast members who are working hard under trying circumstances to keep kykNET viewers informed and entertained," says the channel.

South Africa's struggling TV and film industry has already shed thousands of jobs in the three months since April that cameras were first turned off and studio doors closed and now haltingly try to make a go of it as Covid-19 cases keep popping up everywhere forcing new shutdowns.

The kykNET Covid-19affected shows join a growing list of other South African local TV productions that had also already shut down and been negatively impacted by the coronavirus.

e.tv's Imbewu produced by Grapevine Productions in KwaZulu-Natal has now also shut down because of a Covid-19 positive case.

M-Net's The River (produced by Tshedza Pictures) on 1Magic (DStv 103) was the first show to shut down in May after local productions geared up again following the 2-months shutdown because of the national lockdown period which started in late-March.

That was followed by Skeem Saam on SABC1. Both The River and Skeem Saam are back in production again.

After them followed Muvhango (produced by Word of Mouth Productions) on SABC2; as well as Rhythm City (Produced by Quizzical Pictures) and Scandal! (produced by Ochre Media) both on e.tv and will all three of these who are still shut down.

7de Laan (produced by Danie Odendaal Productions) on SABC2 also shut down because of Covid-19 but is now back in production. Generations - The Legacy (produced Morula Pictures) on SABC1 and Lithapo (produced by Quizzical Pictures) on SABC2 were the next two shows to shut down and both are still closed.

Coronavirus: e.tv's Imbewu drama series produced in KwaZulu-Natal also shutters over Covid-19 case; exposed cast and crew tested and set deep-cleaned.

by Thins Ferreira

Yet another local South African TV show has been forced to shut down with e.tv's Imbewu that has now shuttered because of a Covid-19 positive case.

Imbewu is the latest primetime series on South African television that will continue broadcasting episodes although the Grapevine Productions series filmed in KwaZulu/Natal is shutting down for deep-cleaning of the studio and sets.

M-Net's The River (produced by Tshedza Pictures) on 1Magic (DStv 103) was the first show to shut down in May after local productions geared up again following the 2-months shutdown because of the national lockdown period which started in late-March.

That was followed by Skeem Saam on SABC1. Both The River and Skeem Saam are back in production again.

After them followed Muvhango (produced by Word of Mouth Productions) on SABC2; as well as Rhythm City (Produced by Quizzical Pictures) and Scandal! (produced by Ochre Media) both on e.tv and will all three of these who are still shut down.

7de Laan (produced by Danie Odendaal Productions) on SABC2 also shut down because of Covid-19 but is now back in production. Generations - The Legacy (produced Morula Pictures) on SABC1 and Lithapo (produced by Quizzical Pictures) on SABC2 were the next two shows to shut down and both are still closed.

South Africa's struggling TV and film industry has already shed thousands of jobs in the three months since April that cameras were first turned off and studio doors closed and now haltingly try to make a go of it as Covid-19 cases keep popping up everywhere forcing new shutdowns.

"e.tv can confirm that a positive case of Covid-19 has been recorded on the late prime weekday show Imbewu. The KwaZulu-Natal local production premises have shut down, and the necessary testing for exposed cast and crew members is underway," says e.tv in a statement.

"The set will undergo deep cleaning to further minimize the risk of contamination, as per Covid-19 protocols. In respecting the privacy of our talent, cast and crew’s medical and health matters, we will not be issuing the names of any affected individuals."

e.tv says that "the health of affected employees will be monitored over time, and filming will resume when it is safe to do so as set out by health authorities. All Covid-19, level 3 protocols, and guidelines will once again be adhered to with stringent controls once the required cast and crew are back on set."

Showmax permanently removes Leon Schuster films over blackface and racial stereotyping as MultiChoice's video streaming service says it's no longer comfortable hosting such content.


by Thinus Ferreira

Showmax has permanently removed 5 Leon Schuster films that contain blackface and that it decided is racially insensitive and contain racial stereotyping, along with 2 other films, and says it is not the place of MultiChoice's video streaming service to tell people what they should find offensive or not but that Showmax isn't comfortable carrying such content any further.

Showmax removed several of Leon Schuster's film catalogue two weeks ago for a review.

Out of the 6 films that were removed, Frank & Fearless will be made available on Showmax again, with You Must be Joking, You Must be Joking Too, Oh Schucks... It's Schuster, Sweet 'n Short and Schuks! Pay Back the Money will have been censored and removed from the service permanently.

In response to a media enquiry from TVwithThinus asking who did the review, Showmax said that the Showmax content team managed the review. No names were provided. Showmax was asked when the decision was reached and said that it was made during the course of this week.

"We have completed an initial review of the content on Showmax. Seven titles have been removed due to negative racial stereotyping and prominent elements of blackface," Showmax said in a statement on Friday.

"We recognise these movies are a product of their time and were created with positive intent. Showmax is an entertainment service and we don’t endorse the views or actions that take place in the shows and movies on our platform."

"It’s not our place to tell people what is right or wrong, nor what they should find offensive. But we will make decisions as to what content we are comfortable hosting."

"We believe that platforms such as ours have a role to play in bringing people together through shared experiences."

"We don’t want to shy away from polarising topics, but we also don’t want to sow division. We won’t always get the balance right, but we’ll do our best to listen and to learn from our mistakes."


ALSO READ: Showmax removes 9 Leon Schuster films with blackface characters that MultiChoice's video streaming service is reviewing over racially insensitive content.

It's a golden eye 5th season for Big Brother Naija with 'pre-sealed' contestants due to Covid-19; show kicks off 19 July as producers drop celebrity visits and crowds for launch and eviction shows.


by Thinus Ferreira

Because of Covid-19 the contestants - as well as a batch of "understudies" - for the upcoming 5th season of Big Brother Nigeria are already cloistered in pre-isolation in an unknown facility before they will enter the real isolated camera-house on 19 July, with producers who have axed both celebrity visits and the live audience for evictions in the new season.

With the growing global Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic also affecting Africa, the production company, as well as M-Net West Africa and MultiChoice Nigeria have had to make changes to the new 5th season of Big Brother Naija.

Season 5 of Big Brother Naija will once again be broadcast from Lagos, Nigeria across Africa on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform but the impact of the virus already changed the new season from the pre-production stage to how it will be playing out, produced and look this time.

Over 30 000 online entries were received in May from across Nigeria with producers who had to ditch the live audition process at venues across Nigeria because of Covid-19.

Neither the number of contestants who will be in the house in the 5th season, nor the prize money amount have been revealed, although M-Net says "this season's prize money promises to be bigger, including other surprises for viewers and fans of the show".

The selected contestants are now undergoing strigent Covid-19 and other medical testing during the 2-week wait before they enter the Big Brother Naija house.

"The contestants are currently in quarantine and we are working with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to ensure that due protocols are observed in monitoring the contestants," said Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu, M-Net West Africa regional director during a virtual media briefing for Big Brother Naija's 5th season with journalists that was held on Thursday.

"In the case of contestants not being fit for the show, we have a wide pool of qualified contestants that we can choose from,” Mba-Uzoukwu said. She said enough potential replacements have been selected as well in case one of the primary housemates fall ill before the show kicks off on 19 July.

Due to social distancing rules, the live audience for Big Brother Nigeria Sunday night eviction shows have been axed, as well as the crowds who used to join the launch programme as well as the conclusion and winner announcement.

There will also be no celebrity visits or other people entering the camera-filled house once the broadcast of the season starts and that will roughly run for three months or 90 days from 19 July as part of measures to ensure "minimal contact with outsiders".

The Big Brother Naija production crew will also be working in socially-distanced shifts.

The 5th season of Big Brother Naija will once again be broadcast 24/7 on a dedicated Big Brother Naija pop-up channel on DStv in Nigeria and across Africa, with the live eviction shows and weekly highlights programme that will be shown on M-Net's Africa MagicShowcase, Africa Magic Urban and Africa Magic Family channels on DStv.

Like the GoldenEye satellite from James Bond, the livery of season 5 of Big Brother Naija features a golden eye embossed with a sliver of blue in the design.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

ViacomCBS Networks Africa boss Monde Twala adds BET International responsibilities to job title.


by Thinus Ferreira

The ViacomCBS Networks Africa boss Monde Twala has added BET International responsibilities to his job title and will now hold the title of senior vice president of ViacomCBS Networks Africa, Editorial and General Manager and peer lead for BET International. 

According to ViacomCBS Networks Africa, Monde Twala will now work closely with Kerry Taylor, the executive vice president of VaicomCBS Networks International's entertainment and youth brands, as well as the larger international division to guide editorial direction and identify opportunities to strengthen and grow the BET brand outside the United States. 

Monde Twala will focus on driving brand resonance across key markets says ViacomCBS Networks Africa while working on the media company's ongoing digital transformation.

"As head of BET’s largest international market, Monde Twala has an incredible track record of driving development and growth for all of our ViacomCBS brands across the African continent," says Kerry Taylor in a statement.

"He is a passionate champion of the brand and I have no doubt that he will drive it forward in a strong, impactful way while ensuring BET International elevates black culture globally."

Monde Twala in the statement says that "BET is the unifying platform for all-things black culture. I'm excited to collaborate with Kerry Taylor and the international team to unite, empower and elevate black culture and excellence around the world, spotlighting the diverse voices, stories, music and news that need to be seen and heard."

So far at ViacomCBS Networks Africa Monde Twala has helped with the creation of ViacomCBS Africa's major music events, including the Africa Day Benefit Concert at Home to help children and families in Africa impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, and the MTV Africa Music Awards.

Monde Twala has also worked alongside local production teams to create a range of programming including MTV Newsish, BET Breaks, scripted biopics and reality formats, and has overseen BET's expanding local production content slate.

Coronavirus: Cape Town has issued 70 film permits since April when Covid-19 lockdown eased as city's TV and film industry tries to adapt to producing content under 'new normal' on-set conditions.


by Thinus Ferreira

Cape Town has issued 70 film permits since April when the hard national lockdown due to Covid-19 was eased somewhat in the city as TV and film productions have started to gear up and film again amidst the growing coronavirus pandemic under "new normal" on-set conditions.

Cape Town's Film Permit Office has so far issued 5 245 permits during the 2019/2020 financial year with the industry in the Western Cape and across South Africa that has taken a big knock because of the shut down and again as several local productions continue to shutter when cast and crew test positive for Covid-19.

In Cape Town crews and cast working on productions have rebuilt sets, picked up their cameras and proceeded to continue their craft during this crisis although now under a strict Covid-19 compliance regime.

JP Smith, Cape Town's mayoral committee member for safety and security, has done a set visit of the South African action film Indemnity, produced by Gambit Films, currently shooting at the Cape Town Stadium.

Indemnity was one of the local productions in Cape Town that abruptly had to shut down in late-March due to the Covid-19 forced lockdown.




"The industry has taken a knock as a result of the global crisis but during the visit to the set of the locally-produced Indemnity, I was encouraged to see all those in the film industry value chain pull together to ensure that the sector continues to produce and retain jobs at this difficult time," says JP Smith.

"The well-being of staff, cast and crew on-set remains a priority and accordingly, the city's Film Permit Office, in collaboration with the industry, has developed a set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to promote and ensure responsible film-making in the city," he says.

"The measures are informed by national regulations and international best practice including mandatory Covid-19 risk assessments and risk mitigation implementation measures for all production workplaces and staff, constant cleansing of workspaces, equipment and transportation."


JP Smith says he was "screened twice and had my temperature checked three times during my visit to the set at the Cape Town Stadium. It is important for us to work with the industry to get it back on its feet to ensure that a sector that contributes around R3,5-billion a year to the local economy continues to grow during and post the Covid-19 pandemic."

"The city is furthermore committed to evaluating how it can further assist the local film industry through, among others, assisting with promoting the city as a world-class film destination, lowering tariffs or other avenues."

Coronavirus: eNCA reporter Heidi Giokos tests Covid-19 positive, says she's speaking out to break down stigma around the virus.


by Thinus Ferreira

The eNCA (DStv 403) financial reporter Heidi Giokos has tested positive for Covid-19, days after her on-air colleague Shahan Ramkissoon at the TV news channel also got a positive test result and says she is speaking out because she wants to help break the stigma around Covid-19 people.

Heidi Giokos, the younger sister of TV reporter Eleni Giokos working for CNN International (DStv 401) from CNN's Johannesburg bureau, said that she wanted to make her Covid-19 positive result known and talk about it to help break down the stigmatisation that clings to Covid-19 people in some quarters.

Heidi Giokos is the latest eNCA journalist cloistered at home because of Covid-19 after Shahan Ramkissoon and other eMedia staffers tested positive for the virus at the Hyde Park headquarters of eMedia Investments.

On Thursday eNCA was asked if it had any comment but the TV news channel didn't respond to the media enquiry.

This past Saturday evening the Afrikaans TV news bulletin eNuus was also forced to broadcast a pre-recorded episode instead of live news on kykNET (DStv 144) after it was also forced to shut down for a deep-clean because of a Covid-19 case.

"I've tested positive for Covid-19. I've only had mild symptoms but I'm OK and I know I will overcome this. My priority remains to keep my family safe," Heidi Giokos revealed on Thursday.

"I wanted to speak out because for some reason there's a stigma and despite my constant efforts to wash hands, santise everything, wear a mask, I realise that many of us are exposed to people, will take on that risk," she says.

TV reporters and staffers at the SABC and its SABC News (DStv 404) division, eNCA and its e.tv News and eNuus divisions, as well as Newzroom Africa (DStv 405) have all been affected and are grappling with Covid-19 cases.


ALSO READ: Coronavirus: eNCA anchor Shahan Ramkissoon tests Covid-19 positive shortly after other 2 other Johannesburg-building staffers; will self-isolate along with rest of affected shift workers for 14 days.
ALSO READ: Coronavirus: eMedia's Afrikaans TV news eNuus on kykNET disrupted on Saturday because of positive Covid-19 case in its Hyde Park newsroom.
ALSO READ: Coronavirus: Newzroom Afrika staffers test positive for Covid-19, prompts more changes at the TV news channel's Linden newsroom including cordoning off sections, one-way corridors and an end to desk swapping.
ALSO READ: Coronavirus: A fourth SABC staffer tests positive for Covid-19, the second at its Auckland Park headquarters.
ALSO READ: Coronavirus: etv News boss Nisa Allie pays tribute to cameraman Lungile Tom who died from Covid-19: The loyal 'fist-pumping guy who documented everything and who liked a muffin and coffee for breakfast'.

MultiChoice's DStv Media Sales takes over from Mediamark to sell ad space for WarnerMedia's Cartoon Network, Boomerang and TNT channels.

by Thinus Ferreira

MultiChoice's ad sales division DStv Media Sales will now be selling commercial airtime across some of WarnerMedia's TV channels on DStv directly with Mediamark that is no longer selling advertising space for WarnerMedia's Cartoon Network, Boomerang or TNT channels from 1 July.

WarnerMedia runs channels like Cartoon Network, Boomerang, CNN International and TNT on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform with DStv Media Sales that has now taken over from Mediamark to sell Cape Town TV (CTV) and WarnerMedia's Cartoon Network, Boomerang and TNT.

"The performance of our multiplex, and the variety of our audience profiles, will give advertisers valuable media exposure combining reach, diverse content opportunities, and strong brand association, enabling valuable advertising return-on-investment (ROI)," says Guillaume Coffin, vice president and head of commercial and business development at WarnerMedia France, Africa and Israel, in a statement.

Piwe Motshegoa, head of sales for general entertainment at DStv Media Sales says "We are extremely excited to welcome our two favourite kids' channels and the Hollywood blockbuster channel to our platform".

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Coronavirus: kykNET's Die Groot Ontbyt in repeats after GROOTfm studio in Pretoria shuts for deep-clean due to positive Covid-19.


by Thinus Ferreira

The morning show Die Groot Ontbyt on kykNET has gone into repeats for the rest of the week after a crew member was diagnosed as Covid-19 positive on Tuesday.

The Afrikaans Pretoria-based community radio station that does a hybrid broadcast of its content for television on kykNET has been forced to adapt its programming for the next 3 days, affecting GROOTplaas, Die GROOT Ontbyt and Kom Ons Praat Daaroor shown on kykNET (DStv 144) and kykNET & Kie (DStv 145).

kykNET is now showing rebroadcasts of Die Groot Ontbyt between 06:00 and 08:00 until Friday 3 July 2020. Due to the lack of the TV part of Die Groot Ontbyt, the radio-only broadcast will continue with Francois van Rensburg as presenter.

The building has shut down for a deep-clean with staffers who might show symptoms who have been advised to self-isolate and will undergo testing.

Hardus Zevenster, chief executive of the Bloudruk Media Group, says in a statement on Facebook that "the safety and health of the GROOTfm and Die GROOT Ontbyt personnel remain a priority".

"At the same time we won't compromise on the quality of the product. We've planned for this and there will still be good content broadcast until we can return to 'normal' next week."

kykNET's eNuus daily TV news bulletin this past Satuday evening on kykNET and kykNET & Kie was a pre-packaged edition with no live news after the studio was shut down for a deep-clean because of a new Covid-19 case at eMedia Investments' eNCA headquarters in Hyde Park, Johannesburg.

A growing number of local TV shows and studio lots in South Africa are shutting down and are being affected by positive Covid-19 cases forcing them to turn off the cameras as crew and cast members self-isolate as the TV and film industry tries to re-emerge after the national lockdown period of two months that started in late-March.

After 3 months Showmax removes and ends the streaming of live linear TV news channels on the video streaming service.


by Thinus Ferreira

Showmax has ended and removed the live-streamed linear TV news channels and the educational Mindset Pop TV channel that MultiChoice's subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) added in late-March.

Showmax removed the set of linear TV news channels that it added on 26 March 2020 for users in South Africa and Southern Africa because of the growing Covid-19 pandemic that keeps expanding around the world with the coronavirus that keeps infecting more and more people in Africa, South Africa and around the world.

Showmax made BBC World News, CNN International, Sky News, Al Jazeera, euronews and Newzroom Africa available for 3 months that it removed on 30 June 2020. South African users of Showmax also got access to SABC News and africanews as live linear TV news channels.

Showmax originally announced that it would axe the live TV news channels at the end of May 2020 but extended it for June.

"We were given access to these channels as a temporary measure in the early days of the Covid-19 crisis in order to help everyone keep up-to-date on the latest developments," says Showmax.

"As lockdown is now easing and we’re slowly getting back to some kind of new normal, we're going to be discontinuing the news service. The Mindset Pop channel, which was added to help parents while schools were closed, will also be leaving Showmax."

"We’ll keep an eye on developments and, if the circumstances change, we’ll do our best to step in again."

MultiChoice is working and planning the launch of its DStv Streaming service that will carry the same collection of live linear TV news channels, very much like the existing DStv Now offering.

This so-called "DStv dishless" version will be a web-based look-alike version of DStv but not requiring any installation.

Coronavirus: Generations on SABC1 the next South African local TV series shuttered because of Covid-19.


by Thinus Ferreira

Generations: The Legacy on SABC1 is the latest South African TV show that has shut down because of a positive Covid-19 case as the list keeps growing of local series who have tried to return to a "new normal" production schedule are one by one forced to close their studio doors again because of the growing coronavirus pandemic.

Generations: The Legacy, produced by Morula Pictures in Johannesburg is now shut as well, and follows after SABC2's Sesotho telenovela Lithapo, produced by Quizzical Pictures, turned off the cameras last week on Friday because of a Covid-19 case.

A week before that SABC2's 7de Laan produced by Danie Odendaal Productions abruptly shuttered, along with both of e.tv's primetime soaps - Rhythm City produced by Quizzical Pictures and Scandal! produced by Ochre Media. All have positive Covid-19 cases and film at Sasani Studios in Johannesburg.

Before that SABC2's Muvhango, produced by Word of Mouth Productions shuttered because of Covid-19, and before that Skeem Saam on SABC1, and M-Net's The River produced by Tshedza Pictures for 1Magic (DStv 103). The River is back up and running again.

The shuttering of a growing number of TV series comes after the entire South Africa film and TV industry abruptly closed in late-March for the national lockdown period. The already-struggling industry already shed thousands of jobs in the three months that cameras were turned off and studio doors closed.

"Generations: The Legacy can confirm that a member of the production team has tested positive for Covid-19," says Nandipha Pantsi, Generations publicist, in a statement.

"The infected staff member is currently in self-quarantine and is receiving medical attention."

"For the safety of our cast and crew, we have decided to shut down production until further notice. Our cast and crew have been urged to self-isolate. In the meantime, our offices and studios will be deep-cleaned."

"Production will resume when it is appropriate to do so. We extend our support to the infected member of our staff and wish them a speedy recovery."

"Generations: The Legacy shoots months in advance so the break won’t affect airing episodes in any significant way."

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

South Africa's Human Rights Commission now looking into kykNET's disgusting Kwarantyn 'k'-word use, MultiChoice and kykNET not answering questions.


by Thinus Ferreira

The South Africa's Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) is looking into the case where the now-axed contestant Jana le Roux uttered a racial slur in the kykNET-produced Kwarantyn Afrikaans reality show on DStv while MultiChoice and kykNET have so far remained silent on the matter and not answered any specific questions posed about it.

It took M-Net's Afrikaans channels division overseen by Karen Keiring a day to remove Jana le Roux on Friday evening after mom Jana le Roux on Thursday evening during a game of 30 Seconds used the offensive and derogatory "k"-word in Kwarantyn.

On Friday morning Karen Meiring told the media that what happened was "completely unacceptable".

kykNET acknowledged receipt of subsequent media enquiries and specific questions but haven't answered any and haven't held any media briefing about the incident.

This past Saturday morning kykNET - and after MultiChoice had removed Leon Schuster films from its Showmax video-on-demand service for a review of the comedian's use of blackface - went ahead with the broadcast of the 1954 Jamie Uys film Daar Doer in die Stad.

The film uses a racially offensive "H"-word, along with several other offensive terms - something that appears to be incongruous with MultiChoice and kykNET's public statements about not racially insensitive content and language in broadcasts.

MultiChoice and kykNET didn't terminate Kwarantyn but removed Jana with her husband and the rest of her family who continue to get public exposure and remain to compete as they try to win R250 000.

Kwarantyn is an Afrikaans reality show that MultiChoice and kykNET is running as a DStv pop-up channel, produced by Red Pepper Pictures from two adjacent Johannesburg homes populated by the white Le Roux and the coloured Scheepers families in each.

The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) has opened a case after it received complaints about the broadcast from DStv subscribers and is waiting for MultiChoice to respond.

SAHRC commissioner Andre Gaum told TVwithThinus in response to a media enquiry that "the SAHRC is looking into the matter".

"The Constitutional Court has pronounced that they use of the 'k'-word amounts to hate speech. It is of great concern that derogatory expressions involving this word still appear to form part of some South Africa's vocabulary. South Africans should desist from using words that hurt others deeply and damage national unity and social cohesion."

"All of us should work together to undo deeply entrenched racist tendencies that unfortunately appear to surface every now and again".

MultiChoice previously responded to the media when the Randburg-based pay-TV operator said that it will no longer give the Afrikaans singer Steve Hofmeyr a platform on DStv, and that it canned the second season of the kykNET show before broadcast of the Bolhuis show after audio recordings surfaced of the disgraced private investigator Mike Bolhuis using racial slurs including the "k"-word.

Since Friday TVwithThinus posed several questions to MultiChoice about the Kwarantyn incident.

A media enquiry was sent to Aprio (the PR company doing corporate communications on behalf of MultiChoice), Joe Heshu (MultiChoice's group executive for corporate affairs), Benedict Maaga (MultiChoice's senior manager for corporate communications), as well as Nthabiseng Serote (MultiChoice senior corporate communications specialist) and Ntabiseng Motsei (MultiChoice marketing communications specialist).

None have responded by the time of publication of this report.

MultiChoice was asked why the pay-TV operator chose not to immediately remove the Kwarantyn contestant or family after the use of the racial slur and why MultiChoice decided not to end the Kwarantyn show.

MultiChoice was also asked whether Jana le Roux's remaining family in the show will still get any money, prizes, or derive any benefit from their exposure from being on the DStv channel and in programme, and why there was no on-air message from MultiChoice or kykNET on the Kwarantyn channel on Friday to apologise to viewers?

MultiChoice was also asked happens to the benefits that Jana le Roux and her family already received or might receive through MultiChoice by staying in the house and having been part of kykNET's Kwarantyn show.

Since Friday kykNET and its division boss Karen Meiring have also been asked questions about its content and acknowledged the media enquiry but haven't provided any answers to the questions.

TVwithThinus asked kykNET why it removed a contestant from an entertainment reality show on Friday but then broadcast a film like Doer in die Stad a day after on Saturday that contains extremely offensive and racist words that viewers notice. kykNET was asked how this lines up with MultiChoice and kykNET's statements of being against racism and removing someone for it, but allowing it in other content the next day.


kykNET was also asked why it decided not to end Kwarantyn immediately and why it chose not to stop the DStv pop-up channel and whether that was a consideration.

In the media enquiry, kykNET was also asked whether it's correct that the family of which mom Jana le Roux forms part, can still win R250 000, and if so, how this aligns with MultiChoice and kykNET's policy that people shouldn't benefit from discriminatory behaviour.

kykNET was also posed the questions of whether the families received any psychological counselling and if the Scheepers family was traumatised.

kykNET was asked why kykNET and Red Pepper Pictures decided to keep Jana le Roux on-air on Friday and showed her teary farewell and whether kykNET through that didn't make her into a sympathetic figure and someone that viewers are made to feel sorry for.




ALSO READ: MultiChoice's DStv in new racism scandal after Kwarantyn contestant uses 'K'-word racial slur in Afrikaans reality show; kykNET boss Karen Meiring calls shocking incident 'completely unacceptable'.
ALSO READ: As even more Mike Bolhuis racist slurs from the kykNET reality star surface including him using the 'k'-word, MultiChoice says it is still considering 'the reinstatement of the show'.
ALSO READ: After MultiChoice canned racist Mike Bolhuis' TV show on kykNET the private investigator starts a belated apology tour pleading for forgiveness: 'I used these terms in anger'.
ALSO READ: MultiChoice canned the Bolhuis reality show on kykNET after investigator Mike Bolhuis used racist and derogatory language including the 'n'-word. 

Monday, June 29, 2020

2020 BET Awards sees Nigeria's Burna Boy snag Best International Act while Amapiano vocalist Sha Sha makes history by becoming first Zimbabwean to win the award for Viewers' Choice Best New International Act.


by Thinus Ferreira

Nigeria's Burna Boy won the Best International Act Award for the second time at the 2020 BET Awards that was broadcast on ViacomCBS Networks Africa's BET (DStv 129) channel on Monday, while the Amapiano vocalist Sha Sha made history as the first Zimbabwean to win the Viewers' Choice Best New International Act Award.

The 2020 BET Awards with comedian and actress Amanda Seales as the host was held and broadcast virtually this year for two reasons because as she described it "outside it's all Covid and cops".

The French activist, Assa Traoré received the 2020 BET International Global Good Award. 

This year was the 20th anniversary of the BET Awards and the 40th anniversary of the BET TV channel with the 2020 BET Awards that ran under the theme of "Our Culture Can't be Cancelled" in the wake of civil unrest in the United States because of the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.

"The Best International Act categories over the years have honoured the outstanding achievements of some of the most talented international acts from across the world. BET is committed to shining a light on talent, elevating our culture and promoting diversity through song," said Monde Twala, senior vice president and general manager of ViacomCBS Networks Africa and Peer Lead BET International.

"This year’s winners and nominees reflect an abundance of creative expression. We salute all the nominees and winners.

The 2020 BET Awards this year - as a celebration of black culture, love, joy, and pride - made use of dynamic artist-generated performances and packages, filled with inspirational messages of Black Lives Matter and the need for racial equality.

During the show, Beyoncé was honoured with the Humanitarian Award for her years of philanthropic service which she dedicated to the Black Lives Matter protestors.

A slew of performers and stars appeared, including Alicia Keys, Chloe x Halle, DaBaby, D Smoke, Jennifer Hudson, John Legend, Jonathan McReynolds, Kane Brown, Lil Wayne, Megan Thee Stallion, Roddy Ricch, SiR, Summer Walker, Usher and Wayne Brady

Several performances addressed the killings of black men and women while in police custody, the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests over police violence.

Some performances also referenced the coronavirus pandemic, incorporating Covid-19 into lyrics or masks into the performance. In addition, Lil Wayne paid tribute to Kobe Bryant while Wayne Brady honoured Little Richard. Both the NBA star and singing legend died last year

The complete list of the 2020 BET Awards winners is:

Best International Act
Burna Boy (Nigeria)

Viewers' Choice: Best New International Act
Sha Sha (Zimbabwe)

Best Female R&B/Pop Artist
Lizzo

Best Male R&B/Pop Artist
Chris Brown

Best Group
Migos

Best Collaboration
Chris Brown featuring Drake - "No Guidance"

Best Male Hip Hop Artist
Dababy

Best Female Hip Hop Artist
Megan Thee Stallion

Video of the Year
DJ Khaled featuring Nipsey Hussle & John Legend - "Higher"

Video director of the Year
Teyana "Spike Tee" Taylor

Best New Artist
Roddy Ricch

Dr Bobby Jones Best Gospel/Inspirational Award
Kirk Franklin - "Just for Me"

Best Actress
Issae Rae

Best Actor
Michael B. Jordan

Youngstars Award
Marsai Martin

Best Movie
Queen & Slim

Sportswoman of the Year
Simone Biles

Sportsman of the Year
LeBron James

Album of the Year
Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial (Roddy Ricch)

BET Her Award
Beyonce featuring Blue Ivy Carter, Wizkid & Saint JHB "Brown Skin Girl"

South African police shoots Newzroom Afrika reporter Mweli Masilela with a rubber bullet in his face while covering taxi protest in Mpumalanga.


by Thinus Ferreira

The South African Police Service (SAPS) on Monday shockingly shot the Newzroom Afrika (DStv 405) reporter Mweli Masilela while he was covering taxi protest action at KaNyamazane.

The South African police shot the former SABC reporter with a rubber bullet in his face.

Mweli Masilela wrote on social media that he "just got shot while covering the taxi shutdown in KaNyamazane in Mpumalanga. Police fired rubber bullets just a few minutes after arriving in the area to disperse taxi drivers who were blocking the road leading to the township".

Newzroom Afrika told TVwithThinus in response to a media enquiry that Mweli Masilela was caught in the line of police fire while reporting news.

"Our immediate concern is always the safety of our team so we were distressed to see that our reporter Mweli Masilela had been caught in the line of fire while carrying out his duties. He is at home now and recovering after a visit to the hospital. We wish him a speedy recovery," says Zamahlasela Gabela, Newzroom Afrika's head of marketing and communications.

The South African National Editors' Forum (SANEF) in a statement says it "condemns the shooting of Newzroom Afrika reporter, Mweli Masilela while covering a protest by taxi operators in Kanyamazane township outside Mbombela, Mpumalanga."

"Mweli Masilela was shot and injured when police fired rubber bullets just a few minutes after arriving in the area to disperse the protesters. There was a standoff between the police and taxi operators from the early hours of the morning over the taxi operators' demand to carry passenger loads of a hundred percent."

"I had just finished doing interviews with some taxi drivers who were protesting blocking the main road leading into the Kanyamazane township. I was taking some visuals of the blockade when police arrived on site and started firing rubber bullets," Mweli Masilela told SANEF.

"I was clearly visible carrying a video camera and tripod, that's why I still don't understand why they still had to shoot me. They didn't even give a warning for people to retreat. They just shouted move, move, and fired shots - that's when one rubber bullet hit me," Mweli Masilela told SANEF from the hospital where he was examined. He has opened a case against the police.

"SANEF believes that this violent incident could have been avoided had police considered the safety of everyone involved before firing. The police should have given reporters and protesters sufficient warning time. Also, they should have given journalists time to find a safe space before indiscriminately firing in their direction."

"SANEF calls on police leadership to take swift action and investigate the matter to identify and discipline those that compromised everyone’s safety. Further, we believe that public officials should respect the role of the media in our democracy. We intend to raise the matter with the National Police Commissioner in our upcoming meeting," SANEF says.

A year ago in July 2019 Mweli Masilela was also assaulted - that time by a group of men in Vosman where he was reporting about the death of a 16-year old boy who died after he was trapped underground in a mine.

Men stole Mweli Masilela's car keys and camera and forced him to delete camera photos.