Monday, December 23, 2019

MultiChoice and ViacomCBS Networks International Africa opening the Nickelodeon and NickToons channels for DStv Compact and DStv Access subscribers for a month from 27 December 2019.

MultiChoice and ViacomCBS Networks International Africa (VCNI Africa) are opening the Nickelodeon (DStv 305) channel to DStv Compact subscribers and the NickToons (DStv 308) channel to DStv Access subscribers from 27 December 2019 until 19 January 2020.

Nickelodeon has Sunday movie marathons and will broadcast Rufus 2 on 29 December at 20:05 - a tale about a dog who turns into a human and meets a girl named Kat who has a secret of her own.

Lost in the West (Part 1, 2 and 3) is broadcast on Nickelodeon on 5, 12 and 19 January 2020 at 20:05 in which stepbrothers Chip and Dave go back in time and get entangled in a Wild West adventure. They team up with two local girls to face off against the town's evil mayor.

A Henry Danger Musical is broadcast on 5 January at 12:45.

NickToons has a Peppa Pig marathon (no scheduling information provided by VCNI Africa), followed by a King Fu Panda marathon (no scheduling information provided by VCNI Africa), as well as ALVINNN!!! and the Chipmunks (no scheduling information provided by VCNI Africa) and Chop Chop Ninja (no scheduling information provided by VCNI Africa).

NickToons will broadcast SpongeBob the Musical: Live on Stage on 11 January 2020 at 13:15.

Nancy Matimu appointed MultiChoice Kenya managing director, replaces Eric Odipo as pay-TV operator's first female boss in the East African country.


MultiChoice has appointed Nancy Matimu as MultiChoice Kenya managing director from December 2019 and is replacing Eric Odipo who took up the position in June 2017 and left.

Nancy Matimu was the vice-president, head of mark development for sub-Saharan Africa at MasterCard and becomes the first female managing director to head up MultiChoice Kenya.

"I am delighted to join Kenya’s leading video entertainment company and to be the first female managing director of the business. I’m looking forward to leading this business at what is an exciting time for the industry and the MultiChoice Group," says Nancy Matimu in a statement.

Maharage Chande, MultiChoice Africa northern region director, says "Our strategy is to continuously provide customers with more of their favourite content and thus providing unmatched value. This new appointment will play a major role in delivering the experience our customers deserve, core to our corporate culture".

"We are also excited to welcome our first female managing director to head up our business. Nancy brings a wealth of experience to the role."

Nancy Matimu has an MBA in Strategic Management from Strathmore University, a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from Kenyatta University and a Post Graduate Diploma (CIM) in Marketing.

Nancy Matimu is also a graduate of the Advanced Management Program (AMP) & Chief Executive Program (CEP) from Strathmore, IESE and Lagos Business Schools.

MultiChoice Kenya is a joint venture with the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation.

Toothless? Hairy? Wrinkled? A stocky mean-looking biker? This upcoming fantasy series is desperately looking for ugly faces as extras.


If you're extremely short, extremely tall, missing teeth or are toothless, wrinkled, very hairy, have an "androgynous look" or if you're a stocky, mean-looking biker the upcoming new fantasy TV drama series based on The Lord of the Rings that will be filming in New Zealand is looking for you.

The new Amazon Original drama series from Amazon Studios based on J.R.R. Tolkien's famous book series is desperately searching for flawed-faced extras to appear as creatures in the series that will start filming in 2020 for Amazin Prime Video.

New Zealand's casting agencies are now scouring the globe in search of the perfect ugly telegenic faces to bring the many characters of the fantasy series to life.

Only people who are New Zealand residents or who hold a valid New Zealand work visa can apply on the casting agency's www.bgt.nz website.

The expensive, as-yet-untitled 5 seasons series will be set during the Second Age and will include the island and era of Númenor. In the Tolkien mythology, the Second Age was the time period when the Rings of Power - including Sauron's One Ring who himself was still human - came into existence.

Lord of the Rings is produced by Amazon Studios, in co-operation with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins and New Line Cinema, a division of Warner Bros. Entertainment and is rumoured to start around 2021. The cost will come in at $1 billion for at least 5 seasons.

On Facebook the casting agency says that the series is looking for short people - shorter than 5 foot (1.5 m), people taller than6 foot 5 (1.9 m), "character faces, wrinkles and lots of them please", androgynous men and women, "hairy, hairy people of all ages and ethnicities", tall, long lithe dancers, circus performers who can juggle and stilt walk, as well as "stocky, mean-looking bikers.

Eurasian people of all ages, Hispanic people (Latino, Mexican and South American) as well as "red heads - all ages, shapes and sizes" are called to apply.

"If you have natural red hair, white hair and lots and lots of freckles" the casting agency is looking for you - most likely to play an elf or hobbit extra.

Meanwhile Amazon Studios announced that Morfydd Clark, currently in HBO's fantasy series His Dark Materials on Showmax, was cast in the role of a young Galadriel. Cate Blanchett played the character in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings film series.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Sanef welcomes firing of eNCA's politician news boss Kanthan Pillay, says eNCA must 'get to the bottom of how a politician was ever allowed to have such a senior position in their newsroom'.


The South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) says it welcomes the firing of the politician made eNCA news boss Kanthan Pillay and is calling on the management of eMedia Investments' TV news channel to investigate how a politician was ever allowed to have such a senior position in their newsroom.

eNCA appointed Kanthan Pillay, the founder and leader of the Capitalist Party of South Africa (ZACP), known as the "Purple Cows" in a senior news management position at the eMedia TV channel but neither e.tv publicist Lerato Maleto nor eNCA editor-in-chief Jeremy Maggs responded to media enquiries as to why Kanthan Pillay was appointed in this position.

TVwithThinus reported in October 2019 that eNCA brought Kanthan Pillay into its newsroom with eNCA that stayed silent and refused to answer questions about the appointment and why eNCA and eMedia Investments were putting a politician in a TV news channel's newsroom.

eNCA (DStv 403) on Friday fired Kanthan Pillay as eNCA's director of news following shocking allegations of racism and newsroom censorship that has plunged the eMedia Investments' TV news channel in a massive credibility and reputation crisis.

Kanthan  Pillay was fired after growing shock and public outrage after he suspended the reporter Kanthan Pillay by email and on social media called Samkele Maseko and others leaving eNCA "rats" who are going to a "sinking ship" meaning the SABC.

Khayelihle Khumalo has been reinstated following Kanthan Pillay's firing. Kanthan Pillay suspended Khayelihle Khumalo about the EFF political party's conference this past weekend for tweeting from his personal Twitter account while eNCA decided to boycott and not cover the event.

Sanef that has been criticised for being too slow to react in a statement says that the editors' organisation "welcomes the dismissal of eNCA’s Kanthan Pillay and we hope it now marks the beginning of eNCA restoring its credibility. It is unacceptable that a leader of a political party should ever be given an editorial role in a newsroom".

"Sanef calls on the eNCA management to get to the bottom of how a politician was ever allowed to have such a senior position in their newsroom."

Sanef said that it "applauds and commends the courage of the eNCA news team which stook together in solidarity and which demanded they be allowed to work in a newsroom free of censorship and editorial interference."

"Sanef also welcomes the immediate reinstatement of journalist Khayelihle Khumalo who was recently suspended by Kanthan Pillay."


ALSO READ: eNCA fires politician-turned-news boss Kanthan Pillay after allegations of censorship and racism, 'had no alternative but to end the relationship with him'. 
ALSO READ: eNCA editor Jeremy Maggs tells staffers 'today has been a profoundly unpleasant day for all' as eNCA credibility crisis grows after reporter Samkele Maseko reveals censorship allegations; politician-turned-news-boss Kanthan Pillay forced to apologise for 'irresponsible and unbecoming' actions.
ALSO READ: eNCA silent after reporter Samkele Maseko reveals allegations of Hyde Park censorship by news boss Kanthan Pillay and how he was 'thrown out of the eNCA building like a dog'.
ALSO READ: eNCA reporter Samkele Maseko abruptly gone after resignation, apologises to colleagues for not saying goodbye. 
ALSO READ: eNCA silent over 'appointment' of Purple Cow party leader Kanthan Pillay as TV news channel's new news boss.

Friday, December 20, 2019

eNCA fires politician-turned-news boss Kanthan Pillay after allegations of censorship and racism, 'had no alternative but to end the relationship with him'.

eNCA (DStv 403) has fired the politician it appointed as its director of news, Kanthan Pillay following shocking allegations of racism and newsroom censorship that has plunged the eMedia Investments' TV news channel in a growing and damaging credibility crisis.

eNCA appointed Kanthan Pillay, the founder and leader of the Capitalist Party of South Africa (ZACP), known as the "Purple Cows" in a senior news management position at the eMedia TV channel but neither e.tv publicist Lerato Maleto nor eNCA editor-in-chief Jeremy Maggs responded to media enquiries as to why Kanthan Pillay was appointed in this position.

eNCA is mired in a growing scandal and reputational damage to its news name a day after reporter Samkele Maseko handed in his resignation and then continued to detail allegations of shocking censorship inside the TV news channel by its politician-turned-news-boss Kanthan Pillay.

Kanthan Pillay also suspended the reporter Khayelihle Khumalo with an email and on social media called Samkele Maseko and others leaving eNCA "rats" who are going to a "sinking ship" meaning the SABC.

"eNCA has parted company with its director of news Kanthan Pillay with immediate effect," eNCA says in a statement issued on Friday afternoon. "This follows outrage and condemnation after a tweet he posted. The tweet does not represent the views of e-Media Investments and the channel.

"After intense overnight investigation and consultation, the channel decided it had no alternative but to end its relationship with him. Although he was acting in an individual capacity and his posting was unsolicited, he was nonetheless a senior member of staff and the channel believes there was no room for any other outcome and that damage control was imperative."

"Serious allegations have also been levelled at eNCA about Kanthan Pillay’s censorship of stories and his management style," says Jeremy Maggs.

"The channel takes the allegations of censorship very seriously. To that end eNCA is co-operating fully with the SA National Editors Forum (Sanef) that has requested clarity."

"The channel will be appointing an external expert to investigate these claims."

"All news organisations have one currency and that is credibility. It is clear this negative attention has adversely affected eNCA’s reputation and credibility. However with the talented and dedicated staff we have, I believe the channel can recover."

"Right now our immediate priorities are to mend strained relationships and to rebuild credibility with its audience and other stakeholders as soon as possible."

Kathan Pillay has been forced to write a separate apology to all eNCA staffers, writing that his actions "were irresponsible and unbecoming of a senior manager in any newsroom" and that he is apologising for his "irresponsible and ill-conceived statement on Twitter" and "the offence caused to all and specifically to Samkele Maseko, the SABC and the management of eMedia".

Kanthan Pillay says that he "apologises unreservedly" for "the action I took in haste and without thinking, which now places my employer, my colleagues, my family and my friends in a most embarrassing position".

"The statement I made is unacceptable and rightfully rebuked by all concerned. In the next few days the matter will be further discussed and investigated, and whatever the outcome, will be binding on me."

"I regret having been drawn into a twitter war and I ask for your understanding with the knowledge that I [sic] deeply remorseful of my actions".


ALSO READ: eNCA editor Jeremy Maggs tells staffers 'today has been a profoundly unpleasant day for all' as eNCA credibility crisis grows after reporter Samkele Maseko reveals censorship allegations; politician-turned-news-boss Kanthan Pillay forced to apologise for 'irresponsible and unbecoming' actions.
ALSO READ: eNCA silent after reporter Samkele Maseko reveals allegations of Hyde Park censorship by news boss Kanthan Pillay and how he was 'thrown out of the eNCA building like a dog'.
ALSO READ: eNCA reporter Samkele Maseko abruptly gone after resignation, apologises to colleagues for not saying goodbye. 

kykNET's new 2020 reality show, Plaasjapie, looking for 20 contestants to go live in a barn and work on a farm with Ewan Strydom as presenter.


kykNET (DStv 144) is staying at the farm for the Afrikaans pay-TV channel's next reality venture in 2020, Plaasjapie, in which 20 city slickers from across South Africa will have to work on a farm and live in a barn as they're whittled down to find a winner.

Cloistered on a farm somewhere in the Western Cape, Infinity Films is now looking for 20 complete city slickers who are willing to go and get up with the roosters, work, compete and do without any of the luxuries of city living for a month in the channel's new reality show.

Somewhat similar to E!'s Filthy Rich: Cattle Drive reality show of 2005 and following on from the success of Boer Soek 'n Vrou on kykNET in which love-seekers go to try and find a "connection" with lonely South African farmers, Plaasjapie will parachute 20 contestants from across South Africa to a working farm to test their endurance and skill to survive the rural farm life.

The Bravo! presenter Ewan Strydom - now complete with a 5'o clock shadow on his jawline - will be the Plaasjapie presenter with the 20 contestants who will live together in a barn and get whittled down episode by episode as the majority decides, Survivor-style, who has to leave.


The requirement is that a contestant must have no farm, farming, or farmer experience and be willing to live in a barn for a month. According to the producers contestants will have to "survive the basic elements on a farm - meaning none of the luxuries found on modern-day farms".

"Those who can outwit their teammates in the challenges will get the chance to win some luxuries for themselves, but the rest will have to feel how it was to live on a farm from years ago," says the show.

"Plaasjapie isn't just about survival and physical labour on a farm. It's about strategy, determination and being smarter than the other contestants, as well as making plans because that's what farmers do."

Some of the challenges will be group challenges, while some will be individual challenges. "Figure out who are your real friends and who are wolves in sheep's clothing," says kykNET.

People have until 15 February 2020 to enter at www.kykNET.tv for Plaasjapie.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

eNCA editor Jeremy Maggs tells staffers 'today has been a profoundly unpleasant day for all' as eNCA credibility crisis grows after reporter Samkele Maseko reveals censorship allegations; politician-turned-news-boss Kanthan Pillay forced to apologise for 'irresponsible and unbecoming' actions.

As eNCA's credibility crisis escalates and the reputational damage grows after newsroom animosity at the South African TV news channel burst into public view, editor Jeremy Maggs on Thursday evening in an internal memo to staffers called it "a profoundly unpleasant day for all of us on the channel" and said that eNCA won't be making any public statements while the ugly backstage newsroom drama "is playing out".


eNCA is mired in a growing scandal and reputational damage to its news name a day after reporter Samkele Maseko handed in his resignation and then continued to detail allegations of shocking censorship inside the TV news channel by its politician-turned-news-boss Kanthan Pillay.

TVwithThinus asked eNCA why it appointed Kanthan Pillay, the founder and leader of the Capitalist Party of South Africa (ZACP), known as the "Purple Cows" in a senior news management position at eMedia as well as for comment about the various allegations regarding news censorship that Samkele Maseko made.

Neither e.tv publicist Lerato Maleto nor eNCA editor Jeremy Maggs responded to media enquiries.

"Do want me to speak about how you threw me out of the eNCA building like a dog who had stolen something. How you came to my desk and said I should pack my shit and follow you to HR. You are heartless and unethical," said Samkele Maseko.

"Do you want me to speak about how you instructed that the ANC MP Bongani Bhongo be censored by removing all the allegations he made at minister Pravin Gordhan?" Samkele Maseko asked.

Maseko also alleged that eNCA's decision not to cover the past weekend's elective conference of the EFF political party was part of Kanthan Pillay's plan inside eNCA to "settle political scores", to censor political talk and to remove news content off the eNCA airwaves.

"The disrespect you have for an African Black Child is appalling, you have no sense of appreciation none whatsoever. We are not here to play politics and settle political scores with the EFF like you are doing. Busy censoring political talk and instructing things to taken off air".

He said Kathan Pillay should "settle your political scores using eNCA but [don't] disrespect us for dumping a ship led by a failed politician".

"Want to speak about how you canned an SAA story saying a journalist is an imbongi of the workers, wanting journalists to find faults with workers at all costs whilst protecting bosses?" Samkele Maseko asked.

In his internal email to staffers Jeremy Maggs said "Kanthan Pillay posted an ill-advised tweet about Samkele Maseko's resignation and implied the SABC was a sinking ship. I've spent the better part of the day in conversation with the eMedia Investments exco and members of our holding company. Kanthan will shortly issue a formal apology to Samhele; all staff at the channel, as well as the SABC".

"This matter is also under investigation by members of eMedia Investments exco and I will keep you fully appraised of the eventual outcome. Serious allegations have also been raised about censorship and in particular pertaining to two recent stories," Jeremy Maggs wrote.

"We are not in the business of censoring stories but conversely also apply strict gatekeeping rules of fairness, impartiality and right of reply. I will review these stories to see if those prescripts were applied."

"I am happy to bring in external assistance if need be."

Jeremy Maggs writes to all eNCA staff nationally that "This is the last thing any of us wanted days before many of us break for the festive season. I ask now that you allow due process to take place and be assued the channel is taking this very seriously."

"I will be meeting anchors and reporters this evening following a request and I am also happy to engage with anyone on this issue should you wish to. While it is playing out I am not making any public statements," Jeremy Maggs wrote. 



Meanwhile Kathan Pillay has been forced to write a separate apology to all eNCA staffers, writing that his actions "were irresponsible and unbecoming of a senior manager in any newsroom" and that he is apologising for his "irresponsible and ill-conceived statement on Twitter" and "the offence caused to all and specifically to Samkele Maseko, the SABC and the management of eMedia".

Kanthan Pillay says that he "apologises unreservedly" for "the action I took in haste and without thinking, which now places my employer, my colleagues, my family and my friends in a most embarrassing position".

"The statement I made is unacceptable and rightfully rebuked by all concerned. In the next few days the matter will be further discussed and investigated, and whatever the outcome, will be binding on me."

"I regret having been drawn into a twitter war and I ask for your understanding with the knowledge that I [sic] deeply remorseful of my actions".

Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, South Africa's current minister of communications, says "If what is going on at eNCA is true,it is a concern to any policymaker in a country,"

"Let there be freedom of expression, let people be treated fairly, let us make sure that there is no bias. If what is trending out there is true, we are concerned."


ALSO READ: eNCA fires politician-turned-news boss Kanthan Pillay after allegations of censorship and racism, 'had no alternative but to end the relationship with him'.
ALSO READ: eNCA silent after reporter Samkele Maseko reveals allegations of Hyde Park censorship by news boss Kanthan Pillay and how he was 'thrown out of the eNCA building like a dog'.
ALSO READ: eNCA reporter Samkele Maseko abruptly gone after resignation, apologises to colleagues for not saying goodbye.

FIRST LOOK. After years of rust and neglect the SABC finally updates its eye-sore outside signage at its Auckland Park headquarters.


After years of rust, dust and neglect the SABC eye-sore signage has finally been replaced with brand-new name plates, making for a cleaner, crisper, more colourful and more professional outside image of the struggling South African public broadcaster.

For years the faded, outdated, sun-bleached and tattered SABC outside signage on the side of its Auckland Park parkade weathered and withered away, giving the public and the press an external symbolic representation of the inside of the embattled South African public broadcaster.


In relation to various reporting about the SABC, the media has to show something visual - whether in print, online or electronic media - with the exterior of the SABC that is the de facto go-to image.

As the signage kept deteriorating and faded, logos like that of channels like SABC3 and SABC News (DStv 404) became outdated, while rust, water marks and failing frames all made for an ugly, dilapidated exterior view of the SABC.


After getting another government bailout, the SABC is finally doing something about its signage and outside look and last week removed the old and ugly signs on the corner of the building except for the SABC corporate logo right at the top, and then started to replace them all.

The new SABC signage includes the latest and now correct logo of SABC3, SABC2 that has switched from yellow to green, SABC1 that has switched from a white to a red background, and SABC News that has switched to a black background.

The SABC now has until mid-January 2020 to motivate why the broadcaster should get the rest of its latest government bailout.

In October the National Treasury in South Africa approved another R3.2 billion bailout for the SABC, with R2.1 billion that was given to the SABC that was on the verge of financial collapse.

To get the other R1.1 billion the SABC has to submit further documents by 15 January 2020 as part of its latest turnaround strategy.


Question: How long will it take broadcasters and newspapers to take their own new photos and to film new archive file footage of the SABC's new signage to accurately reflect the new exterior look of the SABC?

South Africa's broadcasting regulator to merge with Film & Publication Board while state signal distributor Sentech will merge with Infraco.


The South African government will merge its broadcasting regulator, Icasa, with the Film and Publication Board (FPB) into a new regulatory body, and will also merge the parastatal signal distributor Sentech with the state-owned broadband provider Infraco.

Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, South Africa's current minister of communications, made the announcements at a press conference in Pretoria about the ongoing and long-delayed "digital transformation plan" of the country's department of communications.

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa), the Film and Publication Board (FBP) and the .za Domain Name Authority (ZADNA) will all be merged into an as-yet-unnamed regulatory body that Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams calls a "new regulator".

"The department of communications will develop a model for smart regulation, which will include the amalgamation of Icasa, the FPB and ZADNA and explore new funding mechanisms for the new regulator," Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said.

Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams also announced that the parastatal signal distributor Sentech, and Broadband Infraco will be merged and be renamed the State Digital Infrastructure Company.

Stentech is used for signal distribution by broadcasters like the SABC. Four new Sentech board members were announced and are Malande Tonjeni, Lisa Tele, Mxolisi Tsika and Malizole Diko.

The State Information Technology Agency (SITA) will be changed into a "digital transformation agency" and its board will be dissolved on 1 January 2020.

USAASA will now be run by administrators after its constantly dysfunctional board has been dissolved.

Daddy-issues will surface in SABC2's new Sesotho telenovela Lithapo in January 2020 with newcomer Khojane Morai alongside veterans Joyce Skefu and Mangaliso Ngema.


by Thinus Ferreira

SABC2's new Sesotho telenovela, Lithapo starting in January 2020 will bring some new on-screen talent to TV screens in a story that will cast a spotlight on "daddy-issues" and oscillate between the rich-poor worlds of Sandton and Alexandra in Johannesburg.

Produced by Quizzical Pictures and with filming that started in early-October on location in QwaQwa and continuing in Johannesburg, Lithapo, will bring a story to free-to-air viewers that shares several similarities with M-Net's Impilo that was produced for Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) and its pay-TV audience in 2019.

Lithapo will start on Monday 13 January 2020 on SABC2 with three episodes per week from Mondays to Wednedays.

In Lithapo - meaning "ties that bind" - Lehlohononolo or "Nolo" for short (played by newcomer Khojane Morai) decides to leave QwaQwa after his mother dies suddenly.

He sets out to try and find the father he never knew and to claim his father's name, but finding his dad is a difficult task.

Nolo settles in Alex and quickly gets caught up in the dog-eat-dog world of a township that is on fire with protests and despair. Meanwhile, in the adjacent, wealthy Sandton lives the Hlongwane family whose lives are the opposite of Nolo's although their destinies are intertwined.

A love triangle develops when Nolo falls in love with Pabi (Katlego Nakedi) although their relationship is thwarted from the start as Nolo gradually discovers that his life has been a lie.

The Lithapo cast includes Joyce Skefu (Moipone), Seputla Sebogodi (Kabe), Mangaliso Ngema (Senzo) and Sthandiwe Kgoroge (Thandiwe), alongside Israel Zulu, Angela Sithole, Sibongile Nojila, Clementine Mosimane and Lebohang Msiza as Nkosana.

"SABC 2 is excited to welcome a brand new Sesotho telenovela aimed at captivating the audiences with authentic, local storytelling capturing the spirit of both our traditional rural communities in and the buzz of kasi life," says Jacqui Hlongwane, SABC2 programme manager.

"Viewers can look forward to seeing the difference of both the streets of QwaQwa and Sandton through the lens of an enchanting story."

"We are also excited that Quizzical Pictures gathered a strong cast and talent second to none. As SABC2 we also continue to keep our promise of bringing our audience more gripping drama in the 21:30 timeslot and we hope that Lithapo will deliver to both ours and the viewer’s expectations."

Siphiwe Hlabangane, Quizzical Pictures producer, says that "Telling a Sesotho story in a saturated telenovela market, we chose to tackle issues around class, sexuality, land and race head-on in the hopes that audiences would find the issues relevant, and the show entertaining, especially across the magnificent backdrop that is QwaQwa".

"From the very beginning of the writing process, we knew that something special was brewing and that this project would task us with the responsibility of enthralling, amusing, educating and entertaining our audience, all of which the script delivered."

kykNET’s gay Boer Soek 'n Vrou farmer Damian says he’s done with Christians – not Jesus – following backlash.


by Thinus Ferreira

The gay farmer Damian in the latest season of kykNET's (DStv 144) Boer Soek 'n Vrou dating reality series says he is done with Christianity - but not with Jesus - following the backlash and negative reaction he received from Christians on social media.

Earlier this year Damian (37), a cattle and sheep farmer from Bapsfontein, became the Marche Media produced series' first-ever gay contestant and ended up making the list of top 5 shortlisted farmers when he got the most letters from potential love seekers.

"After the last few weeks I yet again realised that I'm done with Christianity, but not with Jesus ... because Jesus isn't yet done with me," Damian wrote on Facebook in Afrikaans.

"I'm not a Christian! Never want to be one, especially not over how the Christians on social media are going on about gay people! Loveless! With hate! From now on I'm just a Child of God," he wrote.

"Love your neighbour as yourself.' No other commandment is greater than these - Mark 12:31" wrote Damian, quoting a verse from the Bible verse.

In another Facebook entry he writes that "I often hear people saying that to be gay is a choice".

"For me it was never a 'choice'. I was 7 years old in Grade 1 and for the first time I realised that girls are not for me and that I'm already feeling a bit 'in love' with one of my friends. I didn't understand why I was feeling like this..."

"Throughout my whole school career I knew that I was "different'. I never realised that I was gay ... just knew I was different. In our house there were never discussions about such thing and I was anyway too young to realise what was going on," he wrote.

"There are indeed guys who have girlfriends, even get engaged and even get married and then later on realise that they can't continue to live 'this lie'. They've tried to be straight because of the church, family, social pressure etc and through that comes the confusion that they've now 'decided' to suddenly be gay. No. That person's always been gay," wrote Damian.

"I have friends who are divorced, friends who are married and who don't know what direction to next because of pressure from society. I feel for them because I know that they don't have it easy. It's something that's not understood but it's hell for them."

"Can we be angry at them? no. In certain cases there were churches who said that they must get married and then that 'gay thing' will go away. And now? Where do we then place the blame?"

"And for the women who are in such a situation, just know, you are enough. You are beautiful. It's not your fault. And for heaven's sake don't blame each other. Because this is something outside of either people's control ... Be love!"

eNCA silent after reporter Samkele Maseko reveals allegations of Hyde Park censorship by news boss Kanthan Pillay and how he was 'thrown out of the eNCA building like a dog'.


by Thinus Ferreira

eNCA is silent after political reporter Samkele Maseko, a day after his resignation, detailed allegations of shocking censorship inside the TV news channel by its new news boss Kanthan Pillay, and how he was apparently "thrown out of the eNCA building like a dog".

The eNCA (DStv 403) political reporter Samkele Maseko is abruptly gone from the TV news channel after he resigned on Tuesday. He apologised to his now-former eNCA colleagues for not saying goodbye after handing in his resignation on Tuesday.

Samkele Maseko isn't serving a notice period but left the Hyde Park based TV newsroom immediately after resigning on Tuesday since he's leaving eNCA "for greener pastures".

There's been no statement from eNCA about Samkele Maseko's exit.

It's not yet clear where Samkele Maseko is going to although rival channels like SABC News (DStv 404) and Newzroom Afrika (DStv 405) are options and have been headhunting eNCA staffers, especially Newzroom Africa that has been expanding its own operations.

Following his resignation, Samkele Maseko on social media slammed Kanthan Pillay, eNCA's new head of news who was the founder and leader of the Capitalist Party of South Africa (ZACP), known as the "Purple Cows".

"Do want me to speak about how you threw me out of the eNCA building like a dog who had stolen something. How you came to my desk and said I should pack my shit and follow you to HR. You are heartless and unethical. Denying some a chance to serve a notice period".

"Do you want me to speak about how you instructed that the ANC MP Bongani Bhongo be censored by removing all the allegations he made at minister Pravin Gordhan?" Samkele Maseko asked.

Maseko also alleged that eNCA's decision not to cover the past weekend's elective conference of the EFF political party was part of Kanthan Pillay's plan inside eNCA to "settle political scores", to censor political talk and to remove news content off the eNCA airwaves.

"The disrespect you have for an African Black Child is appalling, you have no sense of appreciation none whatsoever. We are not here to play politics and settle political scores with the EFF like you are doing. Busy censoring political talk and instructing things to taken off air".

He said Kathan Pillay should "settle your political scores using eNCA but [don't] disrespect us for dumping a ship led by a failed politician".

"Want to speak about how you canned an SAA story saying a journalist is an imbongi of the workers, wanting journalists to find faults with workers at all costs whilst protecting bosses?" Samkele Maseko asked.

In a media enquiry eNCA publicist Lerato Maleto and eNCA editor Jeremy Maggs were asked for a statement regarding Samkele Maseko's resignation but the news channel didn't respond at the time of publication.

eNCA was also asked about the various individual allegations Samkele Maseko made regarding newsroom censorship and interference by Kanthan Pillay but there's been no response from the channel so far.

The South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) in a statement says that it is "deeply concerned by allegations from former senior eNCA journalist Samkele Maseko that eNCA’s Kanthan Pillay had censored stories in the newsroom".

"The censoring of journalists who report in ethical and responsible ways is anathema in our industry and should always be strongly condemned."

Sanef wants to meet with eNCA management and wants clarity on what exactly Kanthan Pillay's involvement and position within eNCA is.

"We welcome the fact that Samkele Maseko has agreed to approach Judge Kathleen Satchwell and the Media Ethics and Credibility Inquiry to discuss these issues further."

Sanef says it's calling on all editors, media owners and newsroom executives to guard against all instances of editorial interference in newsrooms and to allow journalists to continue with their work in a responsible and ethical manner.

Meanwhile the EFF political party is calling for a boycott of eNCA in support of Samkele Maseko, as well as the eNCA reporter Khayelihle Khumalo who was allegedly suspended by eNCA management for tweeting in his personal capacity about the EFF elective conference of the past weekend.

"The EFF condemns the eNCA for its racist treatment of African journalists. In a tweet, one of its managers called a journalist, Samkele Maseko, a rat on social media, after firing him," the EFF says in its statement.

"We also have reliable information that eNCA placed Khayelihle Khumalo under suspension for tweeting about the EFF Second National People’s Assembly (NPA) from his personal account. The EFF condemns these actions as a sign of total deterioration of leadership, principles and ethics within the eNCA. In fact, when it comes to the EFF, the institution has become personal."

"South Africans must unite in totally boycotting eNCA, both from watching it and attending to its news requests and events. No one must call an African child a rat in our country and it just becomes business as usual."

The ANC political party's national youth task team (NYTT) in a statement slams eNCA and Kanthan Pillay over the allegations of newsroom censorship.

"The mistreatment of journalists is draconian behaviour, and it is something neither accepted, nor condoned by the ANC NYTT."

"Such behaviour by eNCA and its head of news toward Samkele Maseko is extremely unacceptable. Unfair labour practice against journalists is tantamount to an assault on media freedom and democracy."

The ANC political party in a statement calls allegations of editorial interference and the mistreatment of journalists at eNCA "tantamount to nothing but censorship".

"We are particularly appalled and shocked by the channel's head of news, Kanthan Pillay, for likening the journalists to rats in his response to Samkele Maseko's tweets. This is a gross violation of human rights."

The ANC says Kanthan Pillay "should conduct himself in a manner that upholds constitutional democracy at all times" and wants to see relevant authorities "embark on a market analysis process at eNCA to probe issues such as racism and pay parity at the station".

The SACP in a statement demands that eNCA fire Kanthan Pillay.

"This racist reaction is an insult to Africans in particular. It is completely unacceptable and must have no place in our society. The SACP condemns it in the strongest terms possible."

"eNCA must apologise to South Africans, get to the bottom of the matter and get rid of Pillay. The SACP will continue pushing media transformation and the struggle for a non-racial society."


ALSO READ: eNCA fires politician-turned-news boss Kanthan Pillay after allegations of censorship and racism, 'had no alternative but to end the relationship with him'.
ALSO READ: eNCA editor Jeremy Maggs tells staffers 'today has been a profoundly unpleasant day for all' as eNCA credibility crisis grows after reporter Samkele Maseko reveals censorship allegations; politician-turned-news-boss Kanthan Pillay forced to apologise for 'irresponsible and unbecoming' actions.
ALSO READ: eNCA reporter Samkele Maseko abruptly gone after resignation, apologises to colleagues for not saying goodbye. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

eNCA reporter Samkele Maseko abruptly gone after resignation, apologises to colleagues for not saying goodbye.


by Thinus Ferreira

The eNCA (DStv 403) political reporter Samkele Maseko is abruptly gone from the TV news channel where he was a rising star and apologised to his now-former eNCA colleagues for not saying goodbye after handing in his resignation on Tuesday.

Samkele Maseko isn't serving a notice period but left the Hyde Park based TV newsroom immediately after resigning on Tuesday since he's leaving eNCA "for greener pastures".

There's been no statement from eNCA about Samkele Maseko's exit.

It's not yet clear where he's going to although rival channels like SABC News (DStv 404) and Newzroom Afrika (DStv 405) are options and have been headhunting eNCA staffers, especially Newzroom Africa that has been expanding its own operations.

"To my former eNCA colleagues I apologize for not staying goodbye," said Samkele Maseko on social media on Tuesday. "Such is the nature of such things, just continue kicking ass. We shall meet again somewhere soon," he said on Twitter.

"To cut the speculation, this is what happened. I resigned from eNCA today for greener pastures. There was no sinister motive or agenda. It had nothing to do with their decision to no longer broad the EFF conference. I couldn’t serve notice as per their decision."




In April 2019 the reporter briefly became part of the news cycle when the ANC politician Jessie Duarte lashed out at him in an ugly rant at a press briefing with her verbal tirade directed at him and the media that went viral.

The SABC's SABC News division, broadcasting the shocking incident from its own camera angle, revealed how Jessie Duarte told the SABC to turn its camera off before she launched into her attack on eNCA and Samkele Maseko.

The SABC not only kept its camera rolling but also broadcast how Jessie Duarte told the SABC to switch its camera off.

At the ANC press briefing Jessie Duarte laid into Samkele Maseko, slamming him as "the worst bully I've ever come across", saying he was "arrogantly disposed" and that he believes he is "the lord of media" - a moniker which has become Samkele Maseko's nickname of sorts the past few months.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

South Africa out of 2020's Oscars foreign film race although 1 African film - Atlantics from Senegal - manages to make the 92nd Adacemy Awards foreign film shortlist.


South Africa’s official entry, Knuckle City from director Jahmil X.T. Qubeka, didn’t make the so-called "December shortlist" for the International Feature Film category of the 92nd Academy Awards although an African film did make the cut: Senegal’s Atlantics from Mati Diop making her directorial debut with the film.

It’s the first time Senegal has a film entry in the Top 10 round of the Oscar’s International Feature Film category which was previously known as the Foreign Language Film category.

From the 91 eligible foreign films, 10 are going through with the final five nominees in the category that will be announced in January 2020. 

This year two further African countries – Ghana with Azalia and Nigeria with Lionheart – submitted films in the category for the first time. In November the Academy disqualified Nigeria’s entry saying the film’s dialogue is predominantly in English and therefore not allowed.

The 10 films going through to the next round are The Painted Bird (Czech Republic), Truth and Justice (Estonia), Les Misérables (France), Those Who Remained (Hungary), Honeyland (North Macedonia), Corpus Christi (Poland), Beanpole (Russia), Atlantics (French: Atlantique) (Senegal), Parasite (South Korea), and Pain and Glory (Spain).

Atlantics is a supernatural drama revolving around an exploited construction worker who falls in love with a woman who is forced into an arranged marriage with another man. At the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, the film won the Grand Prix, the second-most prestigious prize of the festival after the Palme d’Or.

Nominations for the 92nd Oscars will be announced on Monday 13 January 2020 with the award ceremony that will take place on Sunday 9 February 2020 and that will be broadcast on M-Net (DStv 101).

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

The smart secret hidden in M-Net's Survivor SA: Immunity Island call to enter promo video and 8 other must-know things about the new 8th season.


by Thinus Ferreira

There's a smart secret hidden in M-Net's brand-new Survivor SA: Immunity Island video for the season's call for entries on-air promo - here's how it was done, as well as 8 other must-know things about the upcoming 8th season.

M-Net (DStv 101) has renewed Survivor South Africa for an 8th season in 2020 with the entry process that has opened for the new season that is entitled Survivor SA: Immunity Island and that will once again be produced by Afrokaans.

South Africans older than 18 who have a passport that is valid until August 2020 have from now until 20 January 2020 to enter at www.mnet.tv/survivorsa for the change to be marooned and vote people off an island.

Survivor SA: Immunity Island will be broadcast on M-Net in the second half of 2020.

In the new call to enter promo, Nico Panagio who will once again be the host, is seen standing at the tribal council area in Samoa that was used as the setting of season 7's Survivor SA: Island of Secrets.

But how is that possible when filming ended in March 2019 with Afrokaans which had no idea at that time whether there would be another season? M-Net hadn't renewed the show at that stage and only commissioned the new 8th season very recently - 8 months after anything was last filmed on the island.

Indicative of how South African television and local producers are getting smarter and more sophisticated, Afrokaans actually filmed the 8th season's call to entry TV promo months ago and just shot it at the time anyway - in case Survivor SA got picked up for another season.

It means that the production took the initiative and made the effort even if it didn't have to and even if the footage was never broadcast or ever used, just to have the possibility of using the on-location footage to make for a cooler call to entry video in case a promo video would be needed by M-Net at some point in future - meaning now.



About the new setting - which will of course be another island or two - M-Net is only saying that castaways will be left on a "desolate exotic island" but TVwithThinus can reveal that no specific island destination or country has been chosen yet.

"We have not made a final decision about the country of filming and island yet," says M-Net. The pay-TV channel is only going to reveal the island location that was eventually chosen once the castaways have arrived on the island, are isolated from the outside world and have begun playing the game.

Why did M-Net decide to renew Survivor SA? The MultiChoice Group's financial results for the 6 months to end September 2019 yields a clue and is the only local TV show specifically mentioned because of its viewership performance during the period.

"The ratings for Survivor South Africa rose by 36% in relation to the previous season," the MultiChoice Group reveals in its half-year report.

In September TVwithThinus asked M-Net why the format show from the Banijay Group wasn't renewed yet for an 8th season despite the ratings growth.

"What we do as a team, is work out our schedule line-ups three years in advance," said Kaye-Ann Williams, M-Net’s head of local productions and independent films.

"So we have to look at how our budgets are working out, what content is coming in, what do we have the licenses for; do we have the money for it. Obviously ratings and performance help us to make those decisions – but we’re not there yet for Survivor South Africa."

"It’s not that we don’t love it, we absolutely love it. And we’re all dying to do it but the stars have to align." Clearly the stars did align!

Yes, people who had entered before for Survivor SA are allowed to enter again but no - M-Net is not willing yet to say how many castaways will be selected and form part of Survivor SA: Immunity Island and the new season.

For how long will the new season run in on-island days? Survivor SA: Island of Secrets ran for 39 days and individual episodes also had a longer playout time to fit in more story and more tribal council time. While episodes of the new season will once again be slightly longer in length M-Net doesn't yet want to reveal the number of days the castaways will actually compete for.

"We would prefer not to mention the number of story days yet but castaways who are on the jury will be away for about 50 days, including travel," the production says.

And what about the mysterious sounding "Immunity Island"? Where does the name come? Does it mean castaways go there to escape the possibility of getting voted out at Tribal Council? Do they have to search for an Immunity idol or necklace there, or what does the name mean?

"This will be revealed close to the broadcast of the show," says M-Net. "It would be fascinating to hear what our fans think this will mean! But remember, in Survivor South Africa anything is possible. The show has become renowned for its twists."

People have to enter online and submit a 3-minute video "selling" themselves to the producers who are always on the lookout for those surprising, quirky, stand-out contestants who simply pop on screen - people who are able to clearly define them from the rest of the crowd as somebody that South African viewers can't look away from.

So what do people really have to keep in mind when they film and submit their 3-minute video in order to grab the producers' attention?

"We receive thousands of entries, so ask yourself: What will make me stand out from the crowd and persuade the panel that I have to go to the island? Show, don't just tell! Don't fret too much about the technical quality. It's about the content, not whether you're a Steven Spielberg in the making," the show says.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

M-Net renews Survivor South Africa for an 8th season with entries that open for Survivor SA Immunity Island set for 2020.


by Thinus Ferreira

M-Net (DStv 101) has renewed Survivor South Africa for an 8th season in 2020 with the entry process that has opened for the new season entitled Survivor SA Immunity Island that will once again be produced by Afrokaans with Nico Panagio as host.

South Africans older than 18 who have a passport that is valid until August 2020 have from now until 20 January 2020 to enter at www.mnet.tv/survivorsa for the change to be marooned on a "desolate exotic island".

Survivor SA Immunity Island will be broadcast on M-Net in the second half of 2020.

The Survivor SA Immunity Island initial audition process once again takes place online where people have to answer a few personal questions and then have to submit a 3-minute video selling themselves, telling the producers why they would make a great contestant and how they plan to play the game.

"Survivor SA: Island of Secrets was a phenomenal success as a result of the fascinating but diverse group of castaways – from a grumpy granny to a nerdy superfan, beauty queens and our own Aquaman – who were not scared to take chances and give their all to make it all the way to the top," says Lani Lombard, M-Net’s Head of Publicity.

Handrie Basson, Survivor SA executive producer, says "If you love watching Survivor, if you have shouted at the TV in frustration and admiration and if you have said ‘I can do this!’ or if you have thought ‘I will never do that!’… then it’s time to get off the couch and onto the island!"

Thursday, December 5, 2019

StarSat adds Love Nature and the Smithsonian Channel as documentary channels from 10 December.


by Thinus Ferreira

StarSat is adding two new documentary channels Love Nature and the Smithsonian Channel from 10 December.

Love Nature (StarSat 224) and the Smithsonian Channel (StarSat 226) will replace National Geographic and Nat Geo WILD which went dark in late-September after Disney - fed-up with ongoing commercial issues at the StarTimes pay-TV operator - abruptly pulled all of its FOX-supplied channels from StarSat after negotiations failed.

This caused the newly changed ESPN and ESPN2 that used to be Fox Sports and Fox Sports 2 to never materialise on StarSat.

Similarly, the entire group of FOX Networks Group’s supplied channels including FOX, FOX Life, FOX Portuguese, National Geographic, Nat Geo WILD, National Geographic Portuguese, Baby TV, Voyage, National Geographic French, and Nat Geo WILD French disappeared from StarSat.

The Smithsonian Channel is an American pay-TV channel, run as a joint venture between ViacomCBS's Domestic Media Networks division and the Smithsonian Institution, with different channel brand feeds run in various countries like Canada, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Indonesia and Latin America.

The Smithsonian Channel broadcasts original non-fiction programming that covers a wide range of historical, scientific and cultural subjects with several series as well as once-off TV specials.

Love Nature is a Canadian pay-TV channel owned by Blue Ant Media which also happens to own and operate the Canadian version of the Smithsonian Channel.

Love Nature, available in the United Kingdom, as well as in parts of Europe and Asia, broadcasts documentaries and television series related to wildlife and nature. Love Nature launched in March 2006 originally as Oasis and rebranded in 2015.

Netflix is starting to get rid of its 30-day free trial period and also removed it for South Africa.


by Thinus Ferreira

Netflixhas started to get rid of its 30 day trial period offer with the video streaming service that also cut the free month's browse-and-binge option for South African customers.

Netflix's content costs continue to soar while more global streaming service competition like Disney+, Apple TV+ and HBO Max are coming online as pressure increases to post growing quarterly subscriber numbers.

As a result Netflix, that is also cutting down on password-sharing, is changing tact in how much free window-shopping it is allowing to prospective new customers in certain parts of the world.

Netflix South Africa quietly removed the 30-day free trial period for users in the country. Customers who now sign up are immediately billed the R99 basic, R139 standard or R169 premium monthly fee according to the subscribed plan.

Netflix says free trials are currently not offered in South Africa.

Rival Showmax from MultiChoice's Connected Video division still offers a free 14-day trial - a week more than the 7-day free trial when it launched in August 2015.

Cell C's unsuccessful Cell C black that is shutting down at the end of December initially also offered a free 30-day trial which it cut down to 7 days in January 2019.

Potential customers in the United Kingdom are the next to see the free trial period disappear with the offer that has been removed from Netflix's website there.

M-Net's Mzansi Magic abruptly backtracks on promises to publicly release the Idols season 15 Top 10 voting results as it promised to do and did in the past.


by Thinus Ferreira

M-Net is abruptly backtracking on its decision to release the voting results for the just-completed 15th season of Idols on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) with the channel that suddenly no longer wants to release the voting statistics and percentages of the Top 10 contestants as it promised to do.

M-Net, Mzansi Magic and Idols previously released the Idols voting tallies for the Top 10 weeks after the conclusion of a season.

Over 186 million votes were cast during the 15th season, 36 million of which during the last week, which were both new series records.

Shirley Adonisi, acting Mzansi Magic channel head, as well as Gavin Wratten, Idols co-executive producer at [SIC] Entertainment producing the singing reality competition, again promised at the post-finale press conference of the 15th season that the Idols voting results will be released publicly after the conclusion of the season.

The 15th season, won by Luyolo Yiba, was once again mired in controversy with scandal that swirled over alleged "vote rigging" after the Top 10 Idols contestant Virginia Qwabe was eliminated for having the least number of votes.

The elimination of Virginia saw her twin Viggy Qwabe quit the show during the same episode amidst a behind-the-scenes physical fight and altercation with a Mzansi Magic publicist that saw police support called in.

Angry supporters of Viggy and Virginia Qwabe claimed that vote tampering was happening and demanded that independent auditors re-audit the votes.

At the post-finale press conference, Gavin Wratten was asked what Idols is going to do to improve the credibility of the voting process under the public.

"Mzansi Magic handles the voting with auditors and we've been doing it the same for every season and it's a really well-controlled, well-done process. All of the results will ultimately be made public," Gavin Wratten promised about Idols season 15's voting results at the press conference.

"I don't think there's a better way to do it. It's totally above board. What's interesting though is that generally everybody is very, very happy with the voting process until they get voted out. To put the authenticity of the voting process in question because you went out is unfair," Gavin Wratten said.

Shirley Adonisi and Gavin Wratten were asked during the press conference why Mzansi Magic and Idols don't release the specific weekly voting results publicly after episodes. They said they always do it after the conclusion of a season in order not to spoil or influence the voting process.

"The reason we don't put it out during the competion is because we don't want to disadvantage a contestant," Gavin Wratten said. "If we put it out and said 'This week so-and-so has got the least amount of votes', people might go "I won't vote' but maybe they had a good performance and could have gotten a lot of votes."

"Likewise if we say who's in the lead, people go 'Ag, I don't have to worry about them because they're in the lead'. That is why traditionally on Idols and worldwide they don't show the percentages during the production but then afterwards Mzansi Magic releases the audited results."

Since last week Thursday and for the past week Mzansi Magic was asked repeatedly in multiple media enquiries for the usual voting statistics breakout and percentages of the Idols Top 10 contestants that Mzansi Magic promised would be released and that was released afterwards in the past for previous seasons.

Philly Kubheka, Mzansi Magic spokesperson, suddenly backtracked on the release of the season 15 Idols voting results and told TVwithThinus on Thursday morning that "the voting results will not be issued to any media and no exceptions can be made".

She didn't respond when asked why Mzansi Magic and [SIC] Entertainment announced at the press conference that the voting results would be released and why the channel no longer wants to make it public as in previous years.

MultiChoice was also asked in a media enquiry on Thursday morning for comment from the pay-TV operator as to why the M-Net supplied channel is backtracking on the promised public release of the Top 10 Idols voting statistics. MultiChoice didn't respond at the time of publication but its response will be added when received.

Star Wars' The Mandalorian now the world’s top TV show as a petition starts for Disney to launch its Disney+ streaming service in South Africa.


by Thinus Ferreira

The new top TV show in the world is one South Africans can't see but that thousands of people across Africa are now pirate viewing - with a petition that has been created for Disney to please make its Disney+ streaming service available in the country so that consumers can watch Star Wars' The Mandalorian.

Just three weeks after Disney+ launched as the new global streaming service of The Walt Disney Company, The Mandalorian - the first live-action Star Wars TV drama series - is the new top television series according to market research from Parrot Analytics. 

The new show is more buzzed-about and sought-after than Netflix's Stranger Things.

With a fascinating new story and new characters - including an utterly adorable "Baby Yoda" whose unknown origins is part of a new mystery - The Mandalorian quickly surged to become the most sought-after TV show in the United States as well as in the rest of the world. 

According to Parrot Analytics' tracking The Mandalorian is 31.9 times more in demand than the average of the other most popular series until now which include HBO's Game of Thrones and Chernobyl and Netflix's Stranger Things and The Crown

On the review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes The Mandalorian is rated 95% "fresh" on the average audience score. At a cost of $100 million that Disney sunk into the production it's the most expensive TV show made yet.

Meanwhile thousands of frantic consumers in South Africa and across Africa have resorted to illegal means of pirate viewing new Disney+ content like The Mandalorian, High School Musical - The Series and other shows since Disney+ decided not to make its streaming service available anywhere on the continent.

Disney+ launched with 500 films and 7 500 episodes of various TV series, including new original Disney+ content. Disney chose not to make any of its new content like The Mandalorian available through its international distribution network to any pay-TV operators like M-Net or MultiChoice's DStv.

After launching since 12 November in the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia and Puerto Rico, the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Germany and Italy will get Disney+ by the end of March 2020.

While South African consumers and viewers in sub-Saharan Africa are missing out with no definite launch date, a Disney+ boss has now been appointed for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, which bodes well for a potential future launch.

While its content is being pirated across the continent The Walt Disney Company Africa has no possible launch date to share for South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa and says in a statement that "All Disney+ originals are exclusive to the Disney+ service. At this point, we have no news regarding this service launch in Africa".


Disney+ petition started
On Wednesday the South African Aidan Welman started a "Get Disney+ in South Africa" online petition, imploring Disney to bring it streaming service to the country and others, with the petition already amassing signatures.

"Imagine my disappointment when I saw and still see all over social media the 'memes', pictures and videos of people enjoying every bit of Disney+ and me not being able to download the streaming service, PAY for it and use it," says Aidan Welman.

"Spoilers are being posted everywhere and Baby Yoda is the most trending fictional character at the moment. There is a huge market in South Africa and in many other countries where Disney+ is not set to be released in more than two years if at all, for Disney, and I believe that there will be great benefit in releasing it to South Africa and many other countries."

"Netflix was a great success when it was first released in South Africa, there’s not a person I know that doesn’t have the streaming platform. I’m concentrating more on South Africa because I’m from there, we just really want Disney+ to be made available for your loyal South African fans."

"Believe it or not, there are thousands upon thousands of us here. Go have a look at box office sales for all the Marvel movies in South Africa, I’m pretty sure it should give an idea of how many Disney fans there really are," Aidan Welman writes in his petition.