Monday, December 6, 2021

6th Eastern Cape Film Festival in East London to promote the South African province as a film destination, covered on Mpuma Kapa TV.

by Thinus Ferreira

The 6th Eastern Cape Film Festival is taking place from today, 6 December, until 10 December at the Film Hub in East London with DStv subscribers who will be able to watch some of the proceedings on Mpuma Kapa TV that is covering it this week. 

The 6th Eastern Cape Film Festival is being held as a virtual film festival that will once again bring aspiring and professional filmmakers as well as industry experts together to discuss various issues around filmmaking in South Africa's Eastern Cape province.

Mpuma Kapa TV (DStv 206) and Kumkani FM are covering the 6th Eastern Cape Film Festival.

According to Nceba Mqolomba, Eastern Cape Film Festival director, the main objective of this film festival is to showcase the work of the province's filmmakers.

"The secondary objectives are to position filmmaking as one of the key sectors of job creation, to promote social cohesion, moral regeneration, development of small towns, economies and to make the Eastern Cape a film destination," Nceba Mqolomba says.

The Eastern Cape Film Festival can be contacted at and Nceba Mqolomba at 083 580 9875.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

CNN fires Chris Cuomo 'effective immediately'.

by Thinus Ferreira

CNN has fired Chris Cuomo, also seen on WarnerMedia's CNN International (DStv 401) "effective immediately" for secretly helping his embattled brother Andrew Cuomo who was a former governor of New York who was embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal.

CNN in a statement late on Saturday night following a new investigation into Chris Cuomo, said that the TV news channel had "terminated him, effective immediately".

Chris Cuomo was suspended on Tuesday this past week after more court documents in the form of video testimony and SMS messages were released by the New York attorney general, revealing that Chris Cuomo as a CNN anchor had a much more involved role in secretly helping and coaching his brother and using contacts as his position as a journalist to try and find information to help Andrew Cuomo.

Andrew Cuomo resigned in August.

"Based on the report we received regarding Chris's conduct with his brother's defense, we had cause to terminate. When new allegations came to us this week, we took them seriously, and saw no reason to delay taking immediate action."

"Chris Cuomo was suspended earlier this week pending further evaluation of new information that came to light about his involvement with his brother's defense."

"We retained a respected law firm to conduct the review, and have terminated him, effective immediately. While in the process of that review, additional information has come to light. Despite the termination, we will investigate as appropriate."

Jeff Zucker, CNN president, in a memo emailed to CNN staffers, wrote "You are all aware that earlier this week we made the decision to suspend Chris Cuomo while we evaluated some new information that came to light regarding his involvement in his brother's defense."

"Today, I let Chris know that we are ending his employment at CNN. It goes without saying that these decisions are not easy, and there are a lot of complex factors involved. But, as always, it was important to me to be upfront with each of you."

Chris Cuomo in a statement after CNN fired him, says "This is not how I want my time at CNN to end but I have already told you why and how I helped my brother".

"So let me now say as disappointing as this is, I could not be more proud of the team at Cuomo Prime Time and the work we did as CNN's number one show in the most competitive time slot. I owe them all and will miss that group of special people who did really important work."

Friday, December 3, 2021

Moja Love suspends Molemo Maarohanyane known as Jub Jub after Amanda du Pont names and accuses him of repeated rape and emotional abuse and says she was forced to have an abortion.

by Thinus Ferreira

The management of Siyaya TV's Moja Love (DStv 157) channel has immediately suspended Molemo Maarohany, known as "Jub Jub" after the actor Amanda du Pont on Thursday evening directly named him and accused him of repeatedly raping her and said she was forced to get an abortion after the first time he had raped her.

Jub Jub - who was sentenced to 25 years in jail in 2012 for murder and attempted murder after he drove over children drunk near a school while drag racing - was released on parole in 2017 after which Moja Love picked him up as a TV presenter and resanitised the convicted criminal's entertainment career by having him front a lurid and highly exploitative reality show.

Jub Jub is the presenter of Moja Love's lowbrow and trashy tabloid cheaters series Uyajola 9/9 that has huge ratings on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV service, making a lot of money for Moja Love and MultiChoice through its mix of scandalous and sensationalized doorstop-content.

On Thursday evening in an Instagram video, Amanda du Pont named Jub Jub as an abuser and accused him of repeatedly raping her, attempted murder, as well as emotional abuse, and revealed that she had to have an abortion after he had allegedly raped her the first time.

Presenter Masechaba Khumalo earlier also accused Jub Jub of rape.

In her Instagram video, Amanda du Pont said that for two years Jub Jub "raped and physically and emotionally abused" her. 

"Probably what I did wrong is brush this under the carpet and not say anything for so long," said Amanda du Pont who said that "the only thing I did wrong was to keep quiet. But that ends here".

Amanda du Pont revealed that she had an abortion after Jub Jub allegedly raped her the first time and said that "there was no way I would have a child that was forcefully given to me".

"First of all Molemo, you raped me. I was raped for two years solidly. Please don't make it sound like it was a relationship. I was absolutely afraid to leave, afraid of the power your mother had."

Molemo Maarohany's mother is the criminal Jackie Maarohanye, known as Mama Jackie, the evil "Angel of Soweto" who stole money for years from people like Oprah Winfrey and who got jailed for child trafficking.

Amanda du Pont's video follows after Jub Jub had a lewd discussion about women in an interview that he did on apparently some type of low-class "shock-jock" type podcast that M-Net rebroadcast as a simulcast on its struggling Channel O channel on DStv.

"Jub Jub, real name Molemo Maarohanyane, conducted an interview on Podcast and Chill with MacG, which aired on Channel O on 1 December 2021, in his personal capacity," says Moja Love that noted that Moja Love has suspended Jub Jub over allegations of gender-based violence levelled against him.

"Moja Love and Moja 9.9 were not part of the editorial of that interview and are not associated with the content thereof."

"Moja Love and Moja 9.9 do not condone any gender-based violence, in any way and under any circumstances. The Moja Channels have decided to suspend Jub Jub."

"Further queries regarding the interview between MacG and Jub Jub can be directed to Sbu Mpungose, MultiChoice senior manager: PR and brand engagement customer group management," says Moja Love.

As African governments try to cut off the internet don't count out the tenacity of Africa's rising social media stars.

by Thinus Ferreira

There's plentiful irony insta-baked into a social media star from Zimbabwe winning the continent's category as African Social Star 2021 at E!'s 2021 People's Choice Awards, as social media influencers continue to struggle as they try to carve out businesses and amass clout while African governments do the opposite with wholesale switch-offs of the internet as soon as they come under pressure.

From Zimbabwe to Ethiopia, from Zambia and Uganda, to Tunisia, Sudan, Egypt, Nigeria and a string of other African nations like Togo, Benin, Gabon, Burundi, Chad, Mali, Malawi, Mauritania, Guinea, Eritrea, Liberia and Tanzania, dictatorial African leaders are becoming brazenly shameless in cutting off the internet in their countries when they're trying to block and mute what the public is saying.

Imitating countries like social media censorship rife China, African countries - trying to stifle public discourse and social media communication - are more and more prone to do wholesale cut-offs of the internet when the citizenry rise up online to say things they don't like and that threaten their power.

Cue NBCUniversal International Networks that again returned the African Social Star of the year category to the 2021 People's Choice Awards, with Africans - and indeed E! (DStv 124) viewers worldwide, who got to vote in 40 categories for their favourites.

For the third time in the history of the People's Choice Awards since it switched to E!, the competition specifically included an African Social Star, with Zimbabwe's Tyra Chikocho (known as Madam Boss) who won, and with Kenya's Azziad Nasenya second and the South African TikTokker Witney Ramabulana coming in third place.

The Harare-born Tyra Chikocho who began her entertainment career as a gospel singer before her comedy skits started going viral on social media became the first Zimbabwean comedian to pass 1-million followers on Facebook and is well on her way to the same milestone on Instagram.

What do these African social media trailblazers on the African continent make of African governments and countries simply switching off the internet willy-nilly, and in the process damaging public discourse but also businesses, livelihoods, and economies?  

TVwithThinus asked during a recent virtual media press conference that had to be submitted as a written question on Zoom for E!'s African Social Star 2021 in the People's Choice Awards and was promised an answer during the session, but none were ever forthcoming.

What is clear, although they don't really seem to yet quite fathom why, African governments switching off or restricting internet access won't end well - for them. 

While internet service providers (ISPs) dutifully cut access when ordered to millions of users in African countries that are struggling to uphold basic democratic values like freedom of expression and freedom of speech, it's clear that draconian African governments trying to stifle free speech will eventually find themselves on the wrong side of history.

It's futile to try and mute or control public comment and discussion, and as Africa rises, so does its social media users, internet consumers and social media stars who - if gagged - will find other ways to give expression to their voices.

As Africa gives rise to more social media stars across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok - conversations and online mass communication relationships grow exponentially. It's expanding, not contracting.

Even if African governments and despot rulers and ruling parties don't understand it, trying to dam up and stop a river doesn't stop its flow. 

The 2021 People’s Choice Awards will be broadcast on Tuesday 7 December 2021, starting with the 2021 People’s Choice Awards: Live From E! at 02:00 and the ceremony at 04:00 on E! (DStv 124). 

The ceremony will be repeated the following day on Wednesday 8 December at 20:00.

Court arbitration rules with cost that eMedia must keep Glow TV on Openview, 'outcome clearly proves that was wrong to remove Glow TV off Openview,' says NisMedia.

by Thinus Ferreira

eMedia must keep Glow TV from NisMedia on its Openview satellite platform and can't remove the general entertainment Indian TV channel from this service until the contract ends in February 2023, an arbitration court ruled this week, with NisMedia that says the outcome proves that was wrong to remove Glow TV off their Openview platform.

The court channel carriage fight follows after a nasty South African broadcast biz scandal erupted after eMedia abruptly dumped Glow TV from Openview on 1 October without any prior warning or explanation.

NisMedia then sought an urgent court interdict in the High Court to keep the hugely popular Glow TV on Openview. The High Court ordered eMedia to immediately restore Glow TV on Openview, while the case was moved to arbitration.

The public drama began on 1 October when Openview dumped Glow TV - a shocking move that was met by an avalanche of anger from Openview viewers

Openview said in a public statement on its Facebook page only that its partnership with Glow TV had come to an end.

Openview gave its customers no warning about the sudden and unexpected removal of Glow TV on 1 October, angering a large group of Openview viewers who publicly vented about Glow TV's abrupt removal and who slammed Openview over both the channel's removal and Openview's lack of communication or any prior warning about it. 

Glow TV is run by Nazeer Noormohamed who is also the CEO of the NisMedia Group, who said that NisMedia would be taking Openview to court and that it had a channel carriage agreement to keep Glow TV on Openview until February 2023.

According to insiders, Openview and NisMedia allegedly had a disagreement regarding a separate advertising sales contract that Openview wanted to introduce for Glow TV that NisMedia refused to sign.

That allegedly led to Openview making the decision to terminate the channel carriage of Glow TV.  

From the court documents it appears that eMedia alleged that it decided to dump Glow TV citing a decline in viewership of the channel, that also led to a decrease in advertising revenue.

MultiChoice dumped Glow TV a few years ago from its DStv satellite pay-TV service but Glow TV remains available on China's StarTimes service operating under the brand name of StarSat in South Africa.

Meanwhile eMedia and Openview added ZEE's Zee One channel from November.

It means that eMedia and Openview now has two Indian-infused general entertainment channels for its viewers - Zee One and Glow TV.

"Glow TV is pleased to announce that in terms of an arbitration order this week by Judge Harms, it was ruled that the contract Glow TV has with Openview is valid and binding until February 2023," says Nazeer Noormohamed in a statement.

"The judge also awarded Glow TV costs in this matter. The outcome clearly proves that was wrong to remove Glow TV off their Openview platform early October, when GlowTV was subsequently reinstated via an urgent court order, until the finality of the arbitration process, which has now been concluded in favour of Glow TV."

"We wish to thank all our loyal viewers for your support and most importantly for your prayers during this time."

"We will certainly be looking at various options concerning the period beyond February 2023 in the interest of our viewers and will keep you informed of new developments. Meanwhile, enjoy watching your favourite channel. The truth shall always prevail."  

In response to a media query about the arbitration ruling over Glow TV's inclusion on Openview, eMedia says "We can confirm that an order was issued to retain Glow TV on Openview and we respect the arbitration order".

"We always strive to bring our viewers the best content and will continue to monitor the channel to ensure that we are delivering to the required audience standards."

"Openiew continues to grow in popularity and we are activated in just under 2.7 million homes across South Africa."

Georginah Machiridza promoted to MultiChoice's new head of content and third-party DStv channels, takes over from role of Aletta Alberts.

by Thinus Ferreira

MultiChoice has promoted Georginah Machiridza as the pay-TV operator's new head of content, replacing Aletta Alberts who passed away from Covid-19-related complications in July this year.

Until now Georginah Machiridza has been M-Net's senior marketing manager for general entertainment, and has now been appointed as MultiChoice's head of content and third-party DStv channels from 1 December.

In response to a media query from TVwithThinus, MultiChoice confirmed Georginah Machiridza's appointment as the Randburg-based pay-TV operator's new head of content.

"Georginah Machiridza has been appointed as the executive head of content strategy and third-party channels from 1 December," MultiChoice says.

"Georginah Machiridza will be responsible for managing our third-party content and strategy teams, working hand-in-hand with our regional content heads in South Africa, Northern and Southern regions and Portuguese markets to ensure alignment, collaboration and execution of our content strategy."

Georginah Machiridza will report into Gideon Khobane, MultiChoice Group executive of general entertainment. 

Georginah Machiridza's previous position was head of marketing for general entertainment, and other prior positions include senior manager marketing at M-Net and head of acquisition marketing for MultiChoice over the course of a 15-year career so far at the MultiChoice Group. 

Georginah Machiridza says "I am honoured to be taking over the reins from Aletta Alberts".

"Aletta had a passion for content, customers and our continent that was deeply infectious and I am privileged to have been under her tutelage for so many years. I look forward to working with colleagues across the continent to continue strengthening our content offerings."

Georginah Machiridza's promotion at MultiChoice follows the promotion of Nomsa Philiso as MultiChoice's new head of programming to replace Nkateko Mabaso, and journalist Waldimar Pelser taking over at kykNET replacing Karen Meiring as M-Net director for Afrikaans channels from February 2022.

TV REVIEW. The Hot Zone: Anthrax on National Geographic is a tepid, skip-it 'Criminal Minds'-lite misfire - but you can watch Daniel Dae Kim on Netflix in something much better.

by Thinus Ferreira

4 TVs out of 10

The dull The Hot Zone: Anthrax on National Geographic (DStv 181 / StarSat 220) is a skippable and tepid follow-up in the Hot Zone anthology series that falls short of the much better first season, with the bland Daniel Dae-Kim led 6-episodes that feel like an under-budget NCIS-episode.

While the first season of The Hot Zone in 2019 explored the medical discovery of the Ebola virus, the second season is more of chase scene of the Anthrax terror mailer in 2001 - a crime procedural following a CSI-lite approach that has been done much better by other American TV series.

The Hot Zone: Anthrax feels more The X-Files heated up with people standing around in FBI jackets trying to find a suspect(s), than an exercise in exploring Anthrax and its devastating consequences and possibilities in the way that the first season did with Ebola.

While Ebola in the first season of The Hot Zone felt terrifying, claustrophobic, world-altering and smothering, The Hot Zone: Anthrax feels like a lightly-dusted sprinkling of a crime caper for a (white) Christmas with little to no sense of tangible paranoia.

The microbiology and science have largely been pushed aside in the dramatisation of The Hot Zone: Anthrax for a script and procedural acting that could be a Criminal Minds episode if the names are swapped and replaced.

Daniel Dae Kim as a microbiologist FBI agent can only do so much with what he's given - rather skip The Hot Zone: Anthrax on National Geographic and watch him on Netflix in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Blink of an Eye" in the 6th season to really see what he's capable of as an actor. 

One real-world irony - and something that would have been interesting to explore in interviews with the cast or producers - is how it was filming The Hot Zone: Anthrax during a real global pandemic in the form of the Covid-19 coronavirus - but National Geographic didn't do anything with that opportunity.

The Hot Zone: Anthrax - although the hard information about the Anthrax attacks are available on Wikipedia, history books and in media reports - is very formulaic and paint-by-numbers through all 6 of its episodes right up until its (boring?) conclusion. 

While mostly everything is also known about Ebola and its Africa discovery and arrival in America, the producers in the first season of The Hot Zone with Julianna Margulies managed to build the exploration of the scientific facts and the tracking of the virus into a gripping mystery story, filled with a sense of foreboding dread, some scary visuals, dramatic irony and paced "revelations". 

The Hot Zone: Anthrax has very little of any of that - as if the National Geographic producers just took the overlay of "The Hot Zone" as a name, and thinly powdered "anthrax" over it without any meticulous work to craft any compelling kind of virology exploration or origin story into it.

National Geographic's The Hot Zone: Anthrax is part of the batch of glut-TV of our era that shouldn't have been made - just more TV with little to say or actually add in terms of entertainment introspection about something that could have been interesting, entertaining and informative. 

If there ever is to be a The Hot Zone: Covid, hopefully National Geographic manages to do better than the dull The Hot Zone: Anthrax pastiche.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

SABC board says its takes SABC News boss Phathiswa Magopeni's allegations of editorial interference atSABC News of SABC CEO Madoda Mxakwe and SABC chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini 'seriously' but 'won't comment further at this stage'.

by Thinus Ferreira

The South African public broadcaster in a terse, late-Thursday statement said that it won't comment on allegations that the SABC CEO and SABC chairperson have been involved in editorial interference in the SABC News newsroom but take the grievances from the SABC News boss Phathiswa Magopeni seriously.

It follows after Phathiswa Magopeni revealed alleged editorial interference at SABC News in written complaints, after she was hauled to a disciplinary hearing set for this month for alleged negligence and bringing the name of the SABC into disrepute.

After the SABC's spokesperson Gugu Ntuli refused to comment earlier this week in response to media queries, the SABC on Thursday after the close of the business day, suddenly issued a terse statement saying that the SABC board "takes seriously the grievances lodged by the group executive: news and current affairs, Phathiswa Magopeni against the chairperson of the board Bongumusa Makhathini and the CEO, Madoda Mxakwe".

"The SABC board assures that the matter is being processed fairly and in accordance with SABC policies. The SABC board believes that the processes underway should be allowed to conclude and will not comment further at this stage."

The latest SABC scandal is once again damaging the struggling broadcaster's reputation and brand, as well as inflicting further damage on the credibility of SABC News.

After disciplinary proceedings were started against the highly-respected Phathiswa Magopeni charging her with negligence and bringing the SABC into disrepute after an episode of Special Assignment was broadcast on SABC3 about the towing industry that still had to be withheld because of a court interdict, Phathiswa Magopeni came forth with shocking revelations of alleged editorial interference inside the broadcaster.

In her 9-page letter, Phathiswa Magopeni slams SABC CEO Madoda Mxakwe and SABC chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini for trying to "destroy" her after she rebuffed their attempts to get her to approve a sudden interview for South African and ANC political party president Cyril Ramaphosa during the ANC's recent election campaign in Limpopo.

Phathiswa Madoda says Madoda Mxakwe is resolute in "hounding" her out of the public broadcaster and that both Madoda Mxakwe and Bongumusa Makhathini called her on 24 October and tried to force her to approve and schedule an interview with Cyril Ramaphosa - a clear transgression of SABC rules against editorial interference by SABC top execs and the SABC board into the operations of the SABC newsroom.

Madoda Mxakwe called Phathiswa Magopeni first and told her that ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe wanted the SABC to do a radio interview with Cyril Ramaphosa. Phathiswa Magopeni said no and that doing a special interview would have "made a mockery" of SABC News.

"The calls I received from Madoda Mxakwe went beyond seeking clarity about why the interview could not be done. He was putting undue pressure on me to co-ordinate that the interview be done, despite this falling outside the news division's editorial processes and being outright interference. I refused."

"He even mentioned having spoken to the minister about the issue, which I found bizarre because this was an editorial matter. I kept explaining why this was wrong and in violation of the prescribed editorial processes," Phathiswa Magopeni writes.

Then suddenly Bongumusa Makhathini called Phathiswa Magopeni although SABC board members are not allowed to do that and are prohibited from editorial interference at SABC News. He asked Phathishwa Magopeni what is happening with the Cyril Ramaphosa interview.

"I said I had done nothing because it would have been an editorial transgression. He went as far as saying the ANC president was in his final leg of the campaign and would be making his way to the SABC afterwards."

"I asked him what he was coming to do as news had no scheduled interview with him, and there was no preparation for such by editors."

"He asked me if the president would have to leave the SABC without doing the interview. I emphatically said from a news point of view, yes, because no editor had knowledge of that interview and it would be a breach of editorial transparency in our newsroom processes."

In May Bongumusa Makhathini also interfered with the operations of SABC News when he also called Phathiswa Magopeni during the succession battle surrounding the Zulu royal family and instructed her that "the other side of the family" should also be given airtime.

Bongumusa Makhathini also sent Phathiswa Magopeni a white envelope with court papers through a security guard that handed her the envelope in the SABC parking area, similar to the modus operandi that a previous SABC chairperson Ben Ngubane employed where he would scream at staffers and hand them documents. 

Phathiswa Magopeni says that SABC News has been banned from reporting about her disciplinary hearing charges and her disciplinary hearing, and says that the SABC's corporate communications team only responds with a "no comment" in response to media queries.

"It is my considered view there is a concerted effort by Madoda Mxakwe to push me out of the SABC with the assistance of group HR using the Special Assignment matter."

"With the public political statements being made about me having affected the electoral prospects of the ruling party, I feel extremely unsafe and I fear for my life. I cannot keep quiet."

The South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) said in a statement that the timing of the disciplinary hearing against Phathiswa Magopeni "raises eyebrows and suspicions of a possible politically motivated witch-hunt".

Sanef calls for "openness in the handling of the matter".

"Given that the waters have been muddied by the blatant political attacks on Phathiswa Magopeni and the SABC over their coverage of the 1 November elections, we call on the SABC management to make Phathiswa Magopeni's hearing public, in the interests of transparency."

ALSO READ: Scared SABC News boss Phathiswa Magopeni details shocking allegations of editorial interference by SABC chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini and CEO Madoda Mxakwe who pressured for ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa to do an election interview.

Nomsa Philiso upped as MultiChoice’s new head of programming to replace Nkateko Mabaso.

by Thinus Ferreira

MultiChoice has promoted Nomsa Philiso as the pay-TV operator's new head of programming, replacing Nkateko Mabaso who became the latest top exec to exit the Randburg-based company, with insiders whispering that he apparently plans to join Netflix.

Nomsa Philiso who joined M-Net in January 2020 as M-Net director for local entertainment channels overseeing M-Net's channels on DStv like Mzansi Magic and 1Magic, was the SABC's top TV boss until she resigned and jumped from Auckland Park to Randburg.

In response to a media query, MultiChoice tells TVwithThinus that "MultiChoice has appointed Nomsa Philiso as the new executive head: programming from 1 October 2021".

"Nomsa Philiso will oversee all commissioning for the group and continue to ensure we tell local stories that resonate and are loved across all our markets.  Nomsa will report to Yolisa Phahle, MultiChoice Group CEO for general entertainment and connected video."

Nomsa Philiso replaces Nkateko Mabaso who resigned and worked at MultiChoice and M-Net for over a decade in various positions as he climbed the corporate ladder inside the pay-TV operator, including as M-Net CEO. 

Nkateko Mabaso was promoted to MultiChoice's group executive in charge of programming in October 2020 overseeing content commissioning for the wider MultiChoice Group. He only worked in the position for a year until he resigned.

Season 9 of Survivor SA: Return of the Outcasts on M-Net to film in early-2022 with new twists, casting process ongoing with all previous seasons' players eligible who didn't make final Tribal Council.

by Thinus Ferreira

Filming of M-Net's upcoming 9th season of Survivor South Africa will take place early in 2022 with new and unexpected twists - very likely once again somewhere in South Africa due to the ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic - with players from all previous South African seasons who are being considered for the new "all-stars" season who never made it to the final Tribal Council.

At the MultiChoice Showcase 2021 M-Net confirmed a media query first made by TVwithThinus earlier that Survivor SA has been renewed for a 9th season that will be broadcast on the channel from July 2022.

M-Net (DStv 101) tells TVwithThinus in response to another media query this week that M-Net can't disclose the specific location of the 9th season of Survivor SA that is subtitled "Survivor SA: Return of the Outcasts".

This is likely due to the production company Afrokaans - with Handrie Basson as executive producer and Leroux Botha as creative producer and series director of the South African version of the reality competition series - that wants to keep prying eyes away during filming.

M-Net and the production company also don't want to disclose the exact dates and duration period of filming to maintain the confidentiality of the production, although filming will likely again take place over about a month and a half of on-location shooting somewhere in South Africa with Nico Panagio back as the host of the local version of the Banijay format reality competition.

According to Afrokaans, all previous Survivor SA seasons' players are eligible to make a comeback in Survivor SA: Return of the Outcasts, and are being considered for the new season.

"The casting process has not yet been completed but all previous seasons' players are eligible and being considered for the new season," says M-Net.

As to which players specifically are eligible, Afrokaans says "none of the players eligible for the 9th season would have made it to the final Tribal Council of their season and all will have a score to settle".

Survivor South Africa season 9 will once again be filmed within a tightly-controlled Covid-19 safe production bubble with potential cast and crew screened with PCR tests. M-Net says that all Covid-19 safety protocols will once more be in place for the production.  

As to why Afrokaans and M-Net went for an "all-stars" 9th season? "After Survivor SA season 8 and calls from viewers to see previous players return to the game, it was decided that the time was right for a returning players season," M-Net says.

Will the 9th season - that will clearly be as gruelling and mentally and physically exhausting as previous seasons of Survivor SA - be even more difficult, with more difficult challenges since it's returning players who know a bit more and already have first-hand experience of the game?

"As Survivor SA fans have become accustomed to, the new season will include new and exciting twists and turns that are unexpected - even for returning players," Afrokaans says. "However, with a bunch of contestants who have already played this game once, they are all better equipped to Outwit, Outplay and Outlast."

A preliminary title card for Survivor SA: Return of the Outcasts yields a tantalising first clue: micromaze symbols in the shape of an upside-down red triangle (nabla), a blue hexagon and a yellow square.