SA drama wins in LA


Hot on the heels of its 10 SAFTA (South African Film & Television) nominations, Tsha Tsha, the SABC1 drama series set in the Eastern Cape, has just won two awards at the 39th Annual US International Film and Video Festival in Los Angeles.

This year the US International Film and Video Festival had 1,250 entries from 26 countries.

Episode 45 of Tsha Tsha, directed by Rolisizwe Nikiwe won first place in the Social Issues category. Twenty-eight year old Nikiwe was involved with Tsha Tsha from its inception. In fact, many of the stories have been based on his own personal biography of growing up in a small town in the Eastern Cape.

Nikiwe began working at Curious Pictures in 2001 as an intern after studying at Boston Media Campus. Three and a half years later he took over the direction of Tsha Tsha. “Tsha Tsha is a groundbreaking series that is extremely well respected. For a new director to come in to fill those shoes and maintain these high standards was a great challenge,” he says.

The season was produced by Tracy Clayton and the head writer was Phillip Roberts.

Another episode of Tsha Tsha, directed by Catherine Stewart, won third place in the Medicine and Health Programming category. Tsha Tsha focuses on the universe of young people living in a world affected by HIV/Aids. Set in the fictional town of Lubusi, the drama explores young people’s lives as they make their way through the passage to adulthood, developing self-worth and humanity at an individual and community level.

Tsha Tsha is produced for SABC Education by CADRE (Centre for Aids, Development, Research and Evaluation) and Curious Pictures. It is funded by USAID through Johns Hopkins University Health Communications Partnership.

Johns Hopkins University Health Communications Partnership also provides funding support for research on the series. Tsha Tsha is evaluated on an ongoing basis using a panel survey, interviews and focus groups which are regularly conducted in three South African communities. The perception of 960 individuals are tracked on detail and many of their insights are fed into the series.

Tsha Tsha’s 10 SAFTA nominations included Best Television Series and Best Educational Drama. The show can be seen on SABC 1 on Friday nights at 8.30 pm


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