Wednesday, June 30, 2021

CORONAVIRUS. The former eNCA output editor Celeste Phillips described as a 'kind and gentle soul always ready with side-eye in the newsroom' has died from Covid-19.'

by Thinus Ferreira

Celeste Phillips, a former output editor at eNCA has died from Covid-19 as a latest third wave of the global coronavirus pandemic is sweeping South Africa, fuelled by the more contagious so-called Delta-variant.

Former and current colleagues started paying tribute to the journalist who had worked at the South African public broadcaster as a former SABC News reporter and producer between January 1998 and October 2007 in Sea Point, and at Media Investments' and its TV news channel eNCA as an output editor, notably on the NewsNight programme.

Celeste Phillips who had spent various periods alternating between living and working in Johannesburg and Cape Town after she had studied journalism at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, leaves behind her husband Dominic Williamson and two little children, Quinn and Dylan.

So far there has been no statement from eNCA (DStv 403).

"Two former colleagues have lost their lives to Covid-19 in the space of a day. Rest in peace bra Dan Maswanganye and Celeste Phillips. Three deaths in 4 days, things are very real in South Africa," said Dennis Georggiannis on social media.

Former and current colleagues described Celeste Phillips as "a gentle and a kind soul" and  "someone always ready with side-eye in the newsroom and the funniest curse words! She loved her kids so hard - she was so proud of them. What a gem of a human".

Robyn Smith remarked that "I hadn't seen her in years but remember her smile like yesterday. I cannot stop thinking about her children who will now grow up without their mommy".

Journalist Karyn Maughan who called Celeste Phillips "the most consistently positive and gentle person" described Celeste as "the most cheerful, kind, brave, beautiful soul. You'd give me yoghurt when I came back from a story grumpy. You shared everything you had with others. Your joy was constant. You loved your little ones SO much".

Asanda Ngoasheng, SANEF’s Western Cape Convenor, described Celeste as a kind and beautiful soul, always full of jokes and ready to smile but had zero tolerance for nonsense.

“I am heartbroken by the news of her passing. I met Celeste as a young journo when we worked together as bulletin writers at the SABC’s English news desk. She had more TV experience than me and was always happy to guide and support me in my learning in the newsroom and settling down in Johannesburg,” Ngoasheng said.

Nadia Samie-Jacobs, a former colleague at eNCA wrote: “A piece of my heart is missing, and that piece is in the shape of you, Celeste. You were a kind woman; you went out of your way to help others. You were generous. You fought for what was right. You were angered by injustice.”

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Netflix launches its R49 mobile-only plan for South Africa and the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, activates Play Partial Download feature for mobile users.

by Thinus Ferreira

After several months of testing it for Africa, Netflix is today introducing its cheaper R49 per month mobile-only plan in South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and other sub-Saharan African countries.

Netflix's R49 mobile-only plan in South Africa, and $3.99 for sub-Saharan Africa, will now compete against MultiChoice's Showmax that has a R39 per month mobile-only plan for South Africa that costs $2.99 in the rest of Africa.

In 2020 Netflix tested two mobile-only plans in Africa as well as other countries to see whether users would like these plans and on Tuesday the company said that the video streaming service is officially making these available to users in South Africa and elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa.

Netflix's mobile-only plan will sit alongside its other three Netflix plans of basic, standard and premium. The Netflix mobile plan can be accessed on a tablet or a smartphone and allows one stream in standard definition (SD) (520p).

It means that only one device can plan it at one time. Consumers who subscribe to the mobile plan will have the same access to the entire Netflix catalogue available in Africa and 5 different profiles can be created on the mobile plan.

Netflix's mobile plan will cost NGN1200 in Nigeria, KES300 in Kenya and $3.99 in other African countries.



Mobile Price



Standard Price

Premium Price













South Africa






Other SSA Countries






"After several months of testing, we're excited to launch a new mobile plan in South Africa at R49 per month," says a Netflix spokesperson in a statement. "This plan will make it even easier for anyone with a smartphone to enjoy Netflix."

Play partial download
On Tuesday Netflix is also launching its new "Play Partial Download" feature, allowing users with Android phones and tablets (v.7.64+) to start the playback of a title or episode before it has completed downloading.

Netflix will be testing this feature on 
iOS in the coming months. 

Netflix previously tested this feature in July of 2020 and found that 35% of new members and 24% of existing members played a partial download at least once.

"While there were no changes in downloading behaviour or overall streaming, we're focused on what we can do today to make it even easier to watch that nearly downloaded episode of your favourite show or a movie for those members who have unreliable WiFi," Netflix says. 

"By enabling this feature, we're hoping to help our members save time as customers have pivoted to using offline viewing."

Keela Robison, vice president of product innovation at Netflix, says "We always want to make it easier for members to access their favourite series or movies regardless of language, device, connectivity, or location. So partial downloading is now available on Android phones and tablets, and we’ll begin testing on iOS in the coming months".

Monday, June 28, 2021

CORONAVIRUS. The 2021 Vodacom Durban July horse racing day to go ahead on Saturday but without any attendance after South Africa moves to adjusted lockdown Level 4 because of Covid-19 pandemic.

by Thinus Ferreira

This coming Saturday's 2021 Vodacom Durban July horse racing day will continue on 3 July and go ahead but without any attendance or crowds after the South African government moved the country to an adjusted Level 4 lockdown because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

With a dramatic surge in the number of Covid-19 cases and deaths especially as the more contagious Delta-variant of the coronavirus has taken hold in especially the Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces, South African president Cyril Ramaphosa announced a move back to adjusted Level 4 lockdown regulations until at least Sunday 11 July.

According to the new Level 4 lockdown regulations, all gatherings are prohibited. The Vodacom Durban July event planned for this coming Saturday at the Greyville Racecourse will however go ahead.

The "attendance at all race meetings in KwaZulu-Natal, from today until further notice, will be limited to essential services personnel: trainers, jockeys, grooms, National Horseracing Authority staff and Gold Circle employees required to ensure each race meeting can proceed," says Gold Circle in a statement.

"No owners, Gold Circle members or box/suite holders will be permitted access to either Hollywoodbets Greyville or Hollywoodbets Scottsville until further notice."

Saturday's 2021 Vodacom Durban July race meeting will be broadcast on television on Tellytrack (DStv 249), as well as on MultiChoice's SuperSport 4 (DStv 204) between 13:00 and 16:00.

The first horse race will take place on Saturday at 11.15 with the Vodacom Durban July run at 15:00.

National Geographic unveils its 2021 Sharkfest line-up in July on Nat Geo WILD with 21 hours of original shark programming starting with Shark Beach with Chris Hemsworth.

by Thinus Ferreira

National Geographic will do 21 hours of original programming every Saturday and Sunday in July at 18:00 on Nat Geo Wild (DStv 182 / StarSat 221) as part of its 2021 Sharkfest, starting with the premiere of Shark Beach with Chris Hemsworth on 3 July.

Shark Beach With Chris Hemsworth follows the film star as he embarks on a mission to investigate how humanity can live more harmoniously with sharks.

The  one-hour documentary special from Nutopia features shark icon and conservationist Valerie Taylor, who takes Chris Hemsworth for a shark dive to experience nurse sharks firsthand, while other shark experts discuss new preventative measures and the latest technology to help stave off shark-human encounters.

Other shark shows include Shark Attack Investigation: The Paige Winter Story, where experts unpack the details of Winter’s attack and the inspirational story of how the teenager remains an advocate for sharks.

There is also the 6-part series Shark Attack Files that investigates bizarre and fascinating shark behaviour and that features footage from actual attacks, interactions and behaviour captured by both professionals and observant bystanders.

As part of the 2021 Sharkfest there is also 6 new episodes of When Sharks Attack, which takes a look at why there are spikes in shark attacks, and Croc That Ate Jaws

Shark Gangs reveals what is behind the shark behaviour of hanging out in groups while Rogue Shark? explores a series of shark attacks in Australia.

"The mysteries of the ocean's most iconic predators are so vast, even with 8 years of shark-focused content under our belt, there still remains more to be discovered," says Janet Vissering, senior vice president of development and production at National Geographic Partners.

"Like every year, shark scientists and oceanic experts have pulled out all the stops for this year's Sharkfest, revealing new discoveries, shocking revelations and bizarre shark behaviour never seen before."

Evert van der Veer, vice president of media networks at The Walt Disney Company Africa, says "National Geographic Wild’s Sharkfest has become a celebrated annual event for our viewers across the continent, adding to our rich premium wildlife programming that brings the world’s fascinating animals to screens".

"Few creatures hold a fascination as much as sharks and we are excited to reveal and explore more with exciting, intriguing and exhilarating specials."

Below is the 2021 Sharkfest original programming line-up:

Shark Beach with Chris Hemsworth
Saturday 3 July, 18:00
In this one-off special Chris Hemsworth embarks on a personal mission to investigate how we can live more harmoniously with sharks. Chris, an enthusiastic surfer and renowned environmentalist, is fascinated by the ocean’s top predator. 
He's equally perplexed by the dangers they pose to humans when we venture into shark territory. In Shark Beach with Chris uncovers the complicated truth behind the alarming increase in shark attacks in Australia. 
Joined by surfers, conservationists, shark advocates and marine biologists, Chris begins his journey in his own backyard at Byron Bay, Australia. He explores new preventative measures and technology which can help stave off shark-human encounters.  
He dives with sharks himself and accompanies a tagging team as they handle a captured great white, helping release it back into the ocean. Chris’s mission to understand sharks is more than a journey:  he’s searching for answers to help us live more peacefully with these magnificent creatures. 

When Sharks Attack 7 - Terror in Texas
Saturday 3 July, 18:45
Every year, Galveston Island in south Texas greets upwards of 5 million visitors to its beaches. In 2004, the fishing, surfing and beach play were shattered when 3 locals were attacked by sharks just weeks apart. 
Shark attacks are rare off Texas beaches, so locals want answers. Experts examine what might have happened. Are the changes permanent? And will Galveston beaches ever be safe again?

When Sharks Attack 7 - Mayhem in Miami
Saturday 3 July, 19:30
The crystal clear waters just north of Miami, Florida is some of the most popular coastline in the United States. But in 2017, locals and tourists fell victim to a mysterious rise in shark attacks. Over the course of the year, 9 beachgoers were bitten. A team of investigators uncover clues in their search for the truth.

When Sharks Attack 7 - Predators in Paradise
Saturday 3 July, 20:15
In 2016, sharks descend on the island of Maui, turning paradise into chaos. 7 attacks in 11 months - more than twice the previous 10-year average.
Attacks are usually rare here. Experts investigate awe-inspiring, underwater volcanoes and ancient craters, to the bizarre, mutant sharks from Fukushima, to a dark secret about Maui’s sewage system. What they uncover could be cause for global concern.

When Sharks Attack compilations – Gulf Coast Reckoning
Sunday 4 July, 18:00
Shark attacks are causing panic along the Gulf. Harrowing incidents in Florida and Texas leave experts scrambling for answers. Could the attacks in Florida and Texas be related? What investigators discover could impact vacationers everywhere.

When Sharks Attack compilations – Trouble in Paradise
Sunday 4 July, 18:45
The Bahamas is a dream vacation destination. But for some, the dream quickly becomes a nightmare. A string of shark attacks terrifies beachgoers and concerns experts. Investigators must find the cause, to save lives and help the tourist-dependent community.

When Sharks Attack compilations – Trouble in Paradise
Sunday 4 July, 19:30
The tiger shark is the second deadliest species to humans, behind only the great white. In Hawaii, a string of tiger shark attacks has the community on high alert. Experts must find the reason why tiger sharks are biting humans, before the next devastating encounter.

Rogue Shark?
Saturday 10 July, 18:00
In October 2018, the remote islands of the Whitsunday in Australia were rocked by a series of shark attacks. Incredibly, all the victims were attacked in the same small patch of ocean, no larger than four football fields. Was a rogue serial killer on the loose? Or was something new drawing sharks and humans into conflict?

When Sharks Attack 7 - Chaos in California
Saturday 10 July, 18:45
San Diego, California is one of the most visited coastal destinations in the country. But in 2009, this community was rocked by a spate of shark attacks. After a deadly incident the year prior, there were six bites in just over six months. A group of experts revisit the accounts to determine the cause of the spike.

When Sharks Attack 7 - North Florida Frenzy
Saturday 10 July, 19:30
Jacksonville, Florida’s amazing beaches are the best-kept secret in the South. But this peaceful paradise was rocked in 2015 and 2016 when 12 shark attacks defied the odds and left locals searching for answers. From surfers to swimmers, experts re-visit the circumstances of these attacks and search for answers.

When Sharks Attack 7 - Devastation Down Under
Saturday 10 July, 20:15
In 2009, fear grips Australia when sharks terrorize the coastal community of New South Wales. 17 attacks over the course of the year - more than 4 times the annual average. Interactions with sharks here are usually rare, leaving experts searching for answers and what they discover could impact beach-goers around the globe.

The Sand Eating Shark
Sunday 11 July, 18:00 (Repeat 20:15)
In Fernando do Noronha, offshore Brazil, lemon sharks have mastered the art of catching sardines in the surf zone… with the help of unexpected allies!

When Sharks Attack compilations – Carolina Dread
Sunday 11 July, 18:45
Sharks are invading Carolina waters, leaving experts searching for answers. Strings of shark attacks in North and South Carolina threaten beachgoers as well as the tourist-driven way of life for coastal communities. The mystery behind the attacks must be solved, but the problem may be more dire than anyone could have guessed.

When Sharks Attack compilations – Most Shocking Spikes
Sunday 11 July, 18:45
The most shocking strings of shark attacks ever recorded may help experts prevent future attacks. The Jersey Shore 1916 attacks inspired the most infamous shark story in history, Jaws, but the real-life tale is even more terrifying. 
A string of attacks in Sharm El-Sheikh Egypt leaves experts dumbfounded, but all is not what is seems. And history may be repeating itself with a double-shark attack in New York.

Shark Attack-Tics
Saturday 17 July, 18:00
We’re all familiar with Jaws. But the Great White is not the only shark to rule the oceans. We’ll watch Wobbegong sharks go tail-fishing and Epaulet sharks walk on land. 
From the tiger shark that chews through metal to the reef tips that prowl in packs…sharks come in 500 different shapes and sizes and many are top-notch hunters in their own right.

Shark Attack Files Part 1, Great Whites Vs Cage
Saturday 17 July, 18:45
Cage diving is a popular way to see sharks – until they ram, bite or get behind the bars. A few key factors may explain this troubling behaviour.

Shark Attack Files Part 2, Land Shark
Saturday 17 July, 19:30
Most shark attacks happen near shore and more sharks are being spotted on beaches across the world. Could sharks one day step onto land?

Shark Attack Files Part 3, Deadliest Bite
Saturday 17 July, 20:15
Shark experts examine the jaws of the world’s three deadliest shark to determine what about a shark's bite is so deadly.

Shark Gangs
Sunday 18 July, 18:00 (Repeat 20:15)
For years sharks have been viewed as solitary predators, but scientists have recently discovered a surprising new behavior. 
In this special, we reveal how this apex predator likes to hang out in gangs. So what is behind this behavior? Do sharks enjoy a social life or are they working together to become even more effective hunters?

50 Shades of Sharks
Sunday 18 July, 18:45
50 Shades of Sharks reveals facets of sharks that are rarely chronicled; they’re fragile, delicate, ingenious, collaborative and even clumsy at times.

World's Most Dangerous Shark?
Saturday 24 July, 18:00 (Repeat 20:15)
By some estimates, the Oceanic Whitetip has attacked and eaten nearly 2 000 humans - more than the Great White, Tiger and Bull sharks combined. But could the “Most dangerous of all sharks….” be even more dangerous?

Shark Attack Files Part 4, Man vs Shark
Saturday 24 July, 18:45
Never-before-seen footage explores the most astounding shark attacks from the last several years – and how each victim fought back.

Shark Attack Files Part 5, Man vs Shark
Saturday 24 July, 19:30
Over the past two decades, there have been multiple instances of sharks attacking humans in pairs - is there something fishy going on?

World's Biggest Bullshark?
Sunday 25 July, 18:00 (Repeat 20:15)
Marine Ecologist, Dr Neil Hammerschlag teams up with former Royal Marine Commando, James Glancy and Evolutionary Biologist, Dr Toby Daly-Engel to uncover how Big Bull, one of the largest Bull Sharks ever caught, grew to become a giant and find out if there could be more like her.

The Sharks of Hawaii
Sunday 25 July, 18:45
A living Eden for all creatures, including one of the most misunderstood in the entire world – the shark. Some 40 species call these waters home, and so does world-renowned wildlife cinematographer Paul Atkins. 
This film will take us from the remote reefs of the Hawaiian archipelago to the world-famous beaches of Waikiki. The sharks here offer up extraordinary behaviour, some seen nowhere else on earth.

Shark Attack: The Paige Winter Story
Saturday 31 July, 18:00
Paige Winter was only 17 years old when she lost a leg and portion of her hand to a shark. Experts unpack the details of Paige’s attack to determine what kind of shark is responsible and what can be done, if anything, to avoid this happening again. 
Despite all Paige has lived through, this inspirational teen remains an advocate for sharks and, with the guidance of professionals, takes brave steps to overcome her greatest fears.

The Croc That Ate Jaws
Saturday 31 July, 18:45
What happens when two of the world’s most deadly and ancient predators go head to head? Drawing on spectacular UGC from around the world, and the latest scientific research, shark and croc experts Dr Mike Heithaus and Dr James Nifong unpack and analyse the evidence. 
With growing signs crocs and alligators are pushing far out to sea and deep in to shark territory, are clashes on the rise?

After MultiChoice and M-Net lied and said it won't show the second of racist Mike Bolhuis but then did, kykNET now says the trash-tabloid series won't see further episodes or repeats on DStv.

by Thinus Ferreira

MultiChoice and M-Net's kykNET (DStv 144) channel is finally finished after two seasons with the racist Mike Bolhuis whose trash-tabloid series Bolhuis won't see further episodes nor any rebroadcasts on DStv.

Tim du Plessis, kykNET's head of actuality, in a message told a viewer in Afrikaans that "With the authority of kykNET's top management I can inform you that the final episode of a rebroadcast of Bolhuis will be shown on 29 June".

"There will be no further repeats or rebroadcasts and no new seasons of Bolhuis will be produced."

Last year MultiChoice and M-Net in a shocking decision, decided to go ahead and started to broadcast the second season of Bolhuis with Mike Bolhuis, produced by Rian van Heerden.

That was after MultiChoice initially scrapped the second season just before it was supposed to air following a flurry of racist slurs and derogatory remarks made by Mike Bolhuis in audio recordings - including using the "k"-word - that surfaced in mid-2019 from the private investigator and kykNET reality star.

MultiChoice and kykNET lied and said that "MultiChoice is committed to the building of a non-racial society and strongly condemns any acts of discrimination. In the circumstances, we resolved that programming in the second season of the Bolhuis series, in which Mike Bolhuis is the central figure would not be broadcast."

A short while later, MultiChoice and kykNET then shockingly went ahead anyway with the broadcast of the low-class tabloid series marked by low production values. 

About the abrupt turn-around of allowing a racist back on kykNET, after MultiChoice said it won't show it, Karen Meiring, director of M-Net's kykNET channels, told TVwithThinus in September 2020 that Mike Bolhuis "has taken steps in his personal life to not only reflect but use his platform to support and promote diversity and inclusion". 

CORONAVIRUS. Singer and presenter Nádine Hoffeldt 'suffering terribly' after contracting Covid-19: 'Never has the word positive been so negative.'

by Thinus Ferreira

The Afrikaans singer and TV presenter Nádine Hoffeldt has also tested positive for Covid-19 as a third wave of the global coronavirus pandemic, fuelled by the more contagious Delta-variant, is devastating lives in South Africa.

On her official Facebook page, the singer said that "and so I become a part of the statistics. Overnight. Never has the word positive been so negative. Two nights already of body aches and extreme headaches, especially in my hands. Strange how Covid attack everyone in a different way".

Nádine who just launched her own branded range of leather handbags and shoes is also the presenter of the Afrikaans game show Musiek Roulette, produced by Stemmburg TV, on SABC2 on Thursday nights.

On his Facebook page, Johan Stemmet in Afrikaans wrote that "too many colleagues, friends and insider friends are now getting the virus. Johan van Rensburg and Rina Hugo are through deep waters but are thankfully getting better. Media friends not through yet - Amore Bekker, Etienne Ludick, Lydia Winchester, Schalk Bezuidenhout - I don't even want to start going through the list."

"There are too name names, hopelessly too many". He said that his heart "isn't lekker over Nádine".

He said he got the message that Nádine now had Covid-19 as well. "Two weeks ago we still worked on new recordings of Musiek Roulette. Covid now also got her and she's very ill. She's suffering terribly. Every day's news heralds the new numbers. Too many, hopelessly too many."

He said that his heart "isn't lekker over Nádine".

Love Island Nigeria to be shown from October on MTV Base on DStv for 7 weeks as the 4th version of the ITV Studios reality format to be filmed in Africa.

by Thinus Ferreira

A second iteration of the reality series Love Island done in Africa is coming to the continent with Love Island Nigeria that will be broadcast on MTV Base from October for 7 weeks with an all-black cast and that will mark the 4th version of the show filmed on the continent.

Love Island Nigeria follows months after Love Island South Africa, produced by Rapid Blue, was broadcast earlier in 2021 on M-Net (DStv 101), with the South African adaptation of the ITV Studios reality format that was highly criticised for its lack of a diverse cast, a myriad of ongoing errors and mistakes, and with the show that was plagued by unexplained bad production values.

Love Island Nigeria - the first version that will have an all-black cast of 20 individuals all looking to couple up and to stay coupled up in a Love Island villa to win the prize money or otherwise getting dumped - follows after the recent Love Island SA, and seasons of Love Island UK on ITV and Love Island France on Amazon Prime Video that were all filmed in South Africa's Western Cape province.

It's not yet clear whether Love Island Nigeria will also be filmed in South Africa and in the province - similar to a growing number of Nigerian music videos over the past five years - or where exactly the Nigerian version's "villa" will be located.

Love Island Nigeria will be broadcast from October on a mobile streaming app in Nigeria, including on Nigeria's Free TV digital terrestrial television (DTT), as well as on ViacomCBS Networks Africa's MTV Base channel that is available across sub-Saharan Africa on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform.

ViacomCBS Networks Africa didn't respond with answers about Love Island Nigeria's MTV Base simulcast made on Friday, seeking confirmation about where specifically in terms of geographic area the show will be carried on MTV Base, whether it includes the MTV Base footprint in Southern Africa, and whether there will be an improvement in Love Island production values. 

Despite the ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic and the rise in cases and deaths from the contagious Delta-variant across the African continent, the producers of Love Island Nigeria held a no-socially-distanced and largely mask-less media event on Thursday last week in Lagos.

The event to officially announce Love Island Nigeria, largely ignored Covid-19 safety protocols and was attended by Nigerian journalists, representatives of the United Kingdom's department of international trade, a British multinational TV production and distribution company, as well as Digital Play Africa that is owned by Toyin Subair as executive chairman who is also an executive producer on the show.

Toyin Subeir said that Love Island Nigeria "will air in Nigeria, and would also air, the same way, in different parts of the world".

"Because of how strong the product value is, and because it's going to be the first of its kind as an all-black Love Island in the whole world, it is also going to be available digitally and on Free to air TVs across the world. It shows that we are about to exhibit everything including our production, relationships, and lifestyle to the rest of the world. That is what we plan to do with Love Island."

"Love Island Nigeria, the first format to have an all-black cast, will give 20 singles an opportunity to come together and share the true essence of love, romance, friendship and relationships with all the twists and intrigues in 7 exhilarating weeks in the Love Island villa".

Odiri Iwuji of the United Kingdom-based Chudor House Productions is also an executive producer on Love Island Nigeria, while Neil Oyenekan is the series producer.

Huub Van Ballegooy, head of global content and productions at ITV Studios Global Entertainment, said "As we have already seen in different parts of the world, Love Island works equally well across linear, digital and catch-up platforms".

CORONAVIRUS. South Africa's struggling cinemas and theatres shuttering again in adjusted Level 4 as cases and deaths of contagious Delta-variant rise.

by Thinus Ferreira

After suffering massive damage and loss of revenue in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic following months of closure and with some venues that will never open again, South African cinemas and theatres have to shutter yet again from today following the country's move back to lockdown Level 4.

Following president Cyril Ramaphosa's latest national address on Sunday night regarding the dramatic spike in Covid-19 positive cases and deaths in South Africa, during which he announced that the country is moving back to an adjusted Level 4 lockdown period until at least Sunday 11 July, the new regulations were printed on Monday morning in the Government Gazette.

Besides cinemas and theatres, all casinos, gyms, night clubs, conference centre's exhibition spaces, museums, libraries, galleries, archives, auctions are shutting down immediately again.

Restaurants, taverns and shebeens - except for takeaway orders and food deliveries - must close again as well.

In 2020 South Africa's total box office revenue at cinemas plunged by a massive R1.2 billion to a measly R214 million compared to 2019 - the lowest in over a decade - according to a recent industry report.

Cinema chains like Cine Centre, Nu Metro and Ster-Kinekor are struggling immensely, have shed jobs and Ster-Kinekor entered voluntary business rescue at the beginning of 2021. 

Meanwhile, the number of remaining independent cinemas in South Africa are also struggling to keep head above water with the latest Level 4 closure that will once again have a debilitating impact.

On Monday morning cinemas and distributors notified the media that they're yet again cancelling in-person cinema press previews that only started to resume recently, with most notably the Kevin Feige produced Black Widow from Marvel Studios that will no longer be shown to the media and that was supposed to premiere in cinemas on 9 July and that will now have to get a new release date.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Wonder Woman Gal Gadot highlights 6 young 'women of wonder' in the National Geographic short-form doc series IMPACT that is now shown as a film.

by Thinus Ferreira

IMPACT with Gal Gadot is a short-form documentary series from National Geographic about young women with 6 inspiring stories that are bundled together into a 120-minute documentary feature that will be broadcast on the channel on Sunday 27 June at 21:00.

With Gal Gadot, known for her film role of Women Woman, and Vanessa Roth as two of the executive producers, the 6 shorts now comprising one composite film, it follows the stories of young women making a big impact in their various communities in which they face a range of things like gang violence, water contamination, environmental issues, discrimination, and homelessness.

The young women live in Brazil, Puerto Rico, in the United States in Michigan, California, Louisiana and Tennessee.

"There are endless stories to tell, but among the endless stories that we can tell, there are the stories that are, you know, more extraordinary," said Gal Gadot when she spoke with journalists in February during a National Geographic (DStv 181 / StarSat 220) press conference at this year's Television Critics' Association (TCA) press tour.

"I think that with all these women, what we can see, is that all of them come from difficult circumstances - whether it’s violence, poverty, trauma, discrimination or natural disasters - and yet, it fuels them."

"It gives them more power to dare, to dream, to change, to speak up and to really make a change in their communities. I don't know - to be honest - many women with this extent of an impact by the actions that they do, are selflessness and are not about themselves, but purely about the community. I have to say that I myself am so inspired by them," said Gal Gadot.

"I'm so inspired by the fact that by the actions that they have, it is such a ripple effect that it’s just, you know, it’s huge.  It’s incredible."

Vanessa Roth said "we really trusted the women to tell us what's important to them".

"One of the criteria in choosing the women that we chose was how really actually relatable all the women are and to really show how impactful something can be that any of us can do if we actually reach for it and try for it.

Gal Gadot said that for IMPACT "a key thing for us was to make sure that all of these women had a true impact in their community - it is something that is changing the lives of others."

"And, I know about myself, growing up thinking: How can I change the world? How can I do such a thing?  I’m just one person.  And when you see all these women together, and in each of the stories on their own, you realize that you can make a change."

"After I’ve done Wonder Woman I felt like I had such a big reach to people, and I just wanted to do something good, and I want to use my reach and my platforms to get to as many people and shed light on these amazing, incredible women’s stories."

"So maybe ignite something in them and create a movement of people that just want to do good to the world.  But I’m very, very lucky and grateful for being able to have this opportunity to do this."

Vanessa Roth said that "one of the things also about the series is that the idea of obstacles or challenges really come in various forms, and we really look into different themes like home and representation."

"In the episode that we have in California it’s about a young woman who lost her sister, her twin sister to Covid, and it’s about healing, and it’s about how she turned her own grief, where she could have gone and isolated herself, instead, she turned her own grief to reaching out to help others through surf therapy and through healing."

"I think that the thing that’s really, to me, special about the whole series and all the women that we have in it, is that whatever their obstacle or challenge has been, what the commonality of all of it is, is that the women chose to do something in that moment."

Women of wonder
Gal Gadot said the various young women are her "women of wonder".

"All of these women are just incredible, and they are the real heroes.  I keep on calling them my Women of Wonder, because they are the true heroes"

"I go to set and I get dressed and I get my costume and sword and everything, and I fight but it's make-believe. They are actually there on the ground, you know, sweating and doing all they can to really make the world a better place."

"I feel like we live in such, especially, this past year, has been so dark and difficult and challenging everywhere to all of us. No matter what you watch over the news - it’s just so hard and heavy and we wanted to balance it and bring something good to the world."

"I think that it’s so important that as much as we talk about facts and news and politics and all of this stuff, it’s so important to talk about the people, the community, what they do together, how they bring people together to make a difference, to really make a change."

"My dream and my vision are really to create this amazing movement of people that can say, 'Hey, I can do it, too. If she can do it, I can do it, too.' I want to make this thing something that would bring such a positive energy and change to the world because the power - and it sounds like cliché, but I’m talking from the bottom of my heart - we all have the power. We’re the people."

"We’re all one. We’re all dealing with different problems and we’re the ones that can immediately help each other."

Friday, June 25, 2021

Skyworth unveils its new 86-inch SUC9500 Android TV in South Africa as 'the biggest Android TV set that South Africa has ever seen'.

by Thinus Ferreira

Skyworth has unveiled its new 86-inch SUC9500 Android TV in South Africa that the company says is the biggest Android TV boundless screen set that South Africa has ever seen.

The 86-inch Skyworth SUC9500 has a recommended retail price of R34 999 and has hands-free voice control. 

It comes with unlimited Google Play Store access, the latest Android 10 operating system, super hardware configuration, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, Two-Way Bluetooth Transmission and Cast Play, with picture quality provided by a AIPQ engine.

The Skyworth 86-inch SUC9500 has 2GB RAM and 32GB flash memory, a quad-core processor, 3 HDMI ports, a LAN port, a DVB-T2 receiver and 2 USB ports.

"Over the last year and a half it’s become clear that home is not only where the heart is but where the entertainment is," says Jaco Joubert, Skyworth brand manager.

"We’re not just living at home, we’re working from home, exercising at home and connecting to the outside world from our homes. It was the logical next step for the brand to launch a product that could rival any entertainment centre out there, a product to make you feel as if you’re part of something bigger and something ground-breaking."

Bridget Meyer, Skyworth senior marketing manager, says "Our new 86-inch Skyworth SUC9500 comes with a narrow body, a metal stand, and a minimal surrounding bezel, making it the biggest infinity-screen Android TV in South Africa".

"The latest Android 10 operating system comes with over a 1 000 content streaming providers like YouTube, Netflix, Showmax, DStv Now, Amazon Prime Video and more, as well as over 5 000 Android TV apps available on the Google Play store."

Bridget Meyer says that the hands-free voice control allows a customer to communicate with the TV even when it's on standby mode from up to 5 metres away