The who’s who of the South African film and television industry put on their finest as they walked the red carpet with their peers. This, in preparation for the announcement of all the winners at the 11th Annual SAFTAs (South African Film and Television Awards) ceremony held at Sun City on 18 March.
Among the list of recipients of a much-treasured SAFTA statuette was a young and talented actor, who is destined for bigger and brighter things on both the big and small screen. The Young Achiever Award, sponsored this year by Ster-Kinekor Theatres, was handed over to a delighted Thapelo Mokoena by Wanda Matandela, CEO of the country’s leading cinema exhibitor. The sponsorship is a further display of Ster-Kinekor’s continued support of the local film industry, and the development of the exciting young talent therein.
“Thapelo Mokoena is a most worthy recipient of this inaugural Youth Achiever Award, and our sponsorship of this award is a very exciting development for Ster-Kinekor. The SAFTAs provides an excellent avenue for us to demonstrate our commitment to the flourishing South African film industry. But, more importantly, we are delighted to be sponsoring a new and innovative category that recognises and rewards the exciting young talent in our country who are destined to become the industry’s rising stars of tomorrow,’ says Wanda Matandela, CEO of Ster-Kinekor Theatres. “Focusing on growing the youth market is a key sector within our marketing strategy. This sponsorship opportunity further strengthens that strategy. It also gives us access to some of the exciting and developing talent within the sector, who are destined for future success.’
Thapelo Mokoena is a South African actor and television presenter best known for presenting the first season of the South African version of the reality competition, Fear Factor in 2005. He also played the role of Cedric Fatani in Wild at Heart from 2007 to 2012 and, in August 2016, he joined the star-studded cast of High Rollers on SABC3.
He made his big screen appearance as Elias Motsoaledi in the much celebrated 2013 film that celebrated Madiba’s life, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. Mokoena is now the owner of his own production company, Thapelo Mokoena Productions.
“We are looking forward to working with Thapelo, and exploring some interesting opportunities and collaborations with this creative talent going forward,’ commented Matandela. “It is important that all sectors within the industry work together to ensure our continued commitment to the growth and success of South Africa’s growing film industry. As such, our partnership with the NFVF to sponsor the SAFTAs category that focuses on youth achievement is our commitment to ensuring a healthy pipeline of talent and content into the future.’
The special Youth Achiever Award category is presented to a newcomer or young individual in the industry who has demonstrated excellence in their craft. The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), custodians of the SAFTAs, called for nominations for this category, one of three discretionary awards presented at the awards event on 18 March.
The panel of judges, comprising members of the SAFTAs committee, CCIFSA, SASFED, SABC, M-Net, eTV and StarSat, evaluated the nominees’ submissions of work, their impact on the future of, and their development, the industry as a whole. The choice of Mokoena as the worthy recipient of this award was a unanimous agreement by the panel.