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MultiChoice South Africa grew out as the subscriber management arm and has been quietly getting on with the business of bringing you world-class entertainment.

Three MultiChoice Talent Factory alumni travel to the USA for New York Film Academy scholarship

This year, renowned film school, the New York Film Academy opens its doors to MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF) alumni Mainala Silondwa (Zambia), Gilbert Bassey (Nigeria) and Hillary Lanogwa (Kenya). The alumni, one from each of MultiChoice Talent Factory’s three campuses in West, East and Southern Africa, were selected as top of their classes for the prestigious full-tuition award. Emerging film director Silondwa was a production manager for the film The Painting and casting assistant, production manager and offline editor for Savannah Skies; whilst cinematographer Lanogwa was the camera operator for MTF student films Ensulo and Promises; and producer, director and editor Bassey was the assistant director on MTF student film Dreamchaser, which he also composed the music for.

As part of the inaugural MTF cohort, Silondwa and Lanogwa travelled to the US on 4 January to participate in the New York Film Academy (NYFA) eight-week filmmaking workshop. Bassey will start the programme at a later date. This once in a lifetime opportunity expands on MTF’s mission to empower emerging filmmakers through training, skills and creative development. “All of us at the New York Film Academy are extremely proud to have MultiChoice Talent Factory Academy’s special award alumni Mainala Silondwa, Hillary Lanogwa and Gilbert Bassey join us for their 8-week filmmaking workshops at NYFA’s New York City Campus. These astonishingly talented filmmakers – who each have the passion and commitment to become creative professionals – will certainly excel in our programmes, which will immerse them in NYFA’s philosophy of hands-on intensive learning. On behalf of the New York Film Academy I want to welcome Mainala, Hillary and Gilbert to follow your passion and join us here at NYFA,” says Jim Miller, NYFA Vice President.

As the MultiChoice Africa’s flagship Corporate Social Value (CSV) initiative, MTF Academy’s 12-month training programme is distinctly designed to train the next generation of African film and TV creatives in partnership with stakeholders across the continent and globe. One such international partner is the New York Film Academy. “Through strategic partnerships with widely acclaimed institutions such as the New York Film Academy, Africa’s creative industries are enriched through skills sharing and exposure to global best practice. We’re excited for our Alumni and we hope that this opportunity will empower them to tell authentic African stories to a global audience,” says Reatile Tekateka, Executive Head of Corporate Affairs, MultiChoice Africa.

Divided between hands-on instruction in class and production, the eight-week filmmaking workshop at NYFA is designed for creatives who wish to study the craft of filmmaking in an intensive environment, and challenges students to produce five films over a period of two months. During the last four weeks of the programme, each student writes, directs, and edits a final film of up to ten minutes. These films will be showcased at a screening in New York, and students who successfully complete the workshop receive a NYFA certificate and a digital master copy of all their projects

A critical platform for film and TV creatives, the New York Film Academy has lent support to African content creators by hosting workshops across the continent and names African film and TV stars such as Banky Wellington, Kemi Adesoye and Natasha Thahane among its star-studded list of African alums. Continuing its efforts to fortify film development internationally, as well as its ongoing partnership with MultiChoice Africa, New York Film Academy will add these rising video entertainment creatives to their alumni network.

New chapter for MultiChoice’s video entertainment skills development initiative

MultiChoice Group (MCG) is committed to developing the skills of young, talented and ambitious African storytellers. The company recently announced exciting changes to its filmmakers academy programme. The M-Net Magic in Motion (MIM) programme will now be known as the MultiChoice Talent Factory South Africa (MTF ZA) in line with MCG’s broader MTF programme across Africa.

This new chapter will carry the same passion for film and movie making, the same devotion for excellence and will continue with the promise of enriching lives.

The naming convention allows the business to consolidate all initiatives that are critical in developing a sustainable talent pipeline for the video and entertainment industry.

The MiM Academy was established in 2014 and focuses on transforming the South African film and TV industry by upskilling students and empowering them with substantial knowledge and experience in just 12 months. MTF, which was launched in 2018 by MultiChoice Africa, does the same by upskilling the next generation of passionate young film creatives.

To date, 58 students trained through MIM are making their mark in the video entertainment industry. About 16 Mzansi Magic movies have been produced by participants of this programme and nine graduates have started their own production companies, namely A Tribe Called Story, Eccentric Circus and Beyond Black.

“We wanted to have a name that resonates with the brand of the business, but also speaks to the talent that we unearth each year within the students who participate in the programme,” said Joe Heshu, MultiChoice Group Executive Corporate Affairs. “We have world-class, quality talent in film and television production in South Africa and MultiChoice is proud to be a vehicle that sharpens and enhances that talent into unmatched content.”

The MTF ZA programme will have three pillars:

MTF ZA Academy – With veteran producer and director, Bobby Heaney, as the academy’s director, the academy is structured around the film and TV industry’s needs in South Africa to develop the local talent pipeline, build industry capacity and to contribute to the economic development of the country.

MTF ZA Scriptwriting Incubator – The newly formed scriptwriting incubator will be launched in 2020 and will focus on training and developing budding scriptwriters.

MTF ZA Bursary Programme – The bursaries will assist qualifying students in film and television who meet the academic and financial criteria.

Joburg Film Festival 2019 announces award-winners

The Joburg Film Festival, brought to you by MultiChoice Group, named Rocks (UK) as Best Film at the festival awards gala, held at The Inanda Club on 23 November. South African film Flatland took home the Best African Film award, and Our Lady of the Nile (France) received a Special Recognition Award from the festival’s prestige juror panel, comprising multi-award winning author, Zakes Mda; NCIS: New Orleans and Avatar actress, CCH Pounder; South African screen star, Florence Masebe; renowned Nigerian documentary filmmaker, screenwriter and cinematographer Femi Odugbemi; and Canadian academic and writer, Nataleah Hunter-Young.

Legendary producer Richard Green was recognised with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the festival.

In Rocks, directed by Sarah Gavron and starring Bukky Bakray and Kosar Ali, a titular teenager fears that she and her little brother will be forced apart if anyone finds out they are living alone. With the help of her friends, she evades the authorities and navigates the most defining days of her life. A film about the resilience, joy and spirit of girlhood.

Flatland is a contemporary Western, a journey of self-discovery for three different but equally trapped women. It paints a vivid and unique portrait of femininity against a hostile frontier land and questions what it means to be a woman today in South Africa and the world at large. It is directed by Jenna Bass and stars Faith Baloyi, Nicole Fortuin and Izel Bezuidenhout.

Set in 1973, Our Lady of the Nile follows a group of young Rwandan girls at a Belgian-run Catholic boarding school, taking inspiration from true events that would come to foreshadow the 1994 genocide during the Rwandan Civil War. Many of the girls belong to elite families, while others hold less privilege; further division is sown by ballooning anti-Tutsi rhetoric under existing Hutu rule.

Richard Green is one of this country’s most experienced producers with over forty years of experience in the film industry. His most recent film Tokoloshe – The Calling, which he directed, was picked up by American distributors Together Magic Film Group and is scheduled for a 2020 release. His producing credits include ground breaking SA films including: Nothing but the TruthThe Wooden Camera; The Sexy Girls; Chikin Biznis – The Whole Story and Spud.

The winner of the Joburg Film Festival’s Youth & Audience Development Programme was also recognised. The programme was designed to encourage and empower young emerging filmmakers across Gauteng. The JFF, in partnership with the MultiChoice Group and Gauteng Film Commission (GFC), embarked on a province-wide skills transfer initiative that reached more than 100 young people in a series of workshops in Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Mogale City and Sedibeng. Aspiring filmmakers between the ages of 18 and 25 were encouraged to submit a video with the theme ‘Your Kasi, Your Story’, which served as the entry to participate in the two-day workshop in each region. The workshops specifically targeted youth living in townships and involved industry professionals sharing their extensive experience and knowledge on the amazing craft of cinematic storytelling with enthusiastic audiences. The overall winner was Sedibeng’s Malefetsane Masitha.

Bongiwe Selane, festival director of the Joburg Film Festival, said that the jurors had a tough task in making a selection from the 10 films in competition at this year’s event. “The quality of both the continental and international films at this year’s festival was incredibly high. Each was recognised for their powerful message and their ability to provoke important debate on an array of issues”.

Joburg Film Festival headline sponsors MultiChoice Group also recognised some of Africa’s finest storytellers with the inaugural ‘MultiChoice Africa’s Most-Loved Storytellers Awards’. Activist, actress, storyteller, poet, playwright, director and author Gcina Mhlophe received the Legend Award for her longstanding contribution to continental storytelling and internationally-acclaimed author Deon Meyer was honoured with the Global Storyteller Award for his work in spreading stories from Africa around the globe. Creative duo Jahmil X.T. Qubheka and Layla Swart were honoured with the inaugural Emerging Storyteller Award for their status as exciting new voices in African storytelling and investigative journalist Karyn Maughan claimed the Fearless Storyteller Award.

“MultiChoice continues to invest in the local production industries wherever our channels are available, and we have an ongoing commitment to develop the next generation of African storytellers. We have screened a number of films produced by graduates of the M-Net Magic in Motion programme and the MultiChoice Talent Factory Academies in East, West and Southern Africa this week. We look forward to seeing their work taking its rightful place amongst the local and international films and documentaries at the Joburg Film Festival in future,” says MultiChoice CEO of General Entertainment Yolisa Phahle. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. We have the opportunity to do great things for our economy through film making. And if Hollywood, Nollywood and Bollywood can do it, so can we.”

A successful opening night for the 2019 Joburg Film Festival

“Egoli!” was the welcoming cry that boomed across Sandton’s Nelson Mandela Square, uttered by special guest Nomzamo Mbatha as she strode down the carpet during the powerful opening performance that kicked off the Joburg Film Festival on Tuesday, 19 November.

The opening of the six-day festival of cinematic excellence saw local celebrities and VIP’s gather under the mammoth structure erected on Sandton Square, which will be home to a series of activations and free screenings throughout the week. The festival opened with the South African premiere of local horror film, 8, starring Tshamano Sebe, Inge Beckmann, Garth Breytenbach and Chris April, telling the tale of an old man, fated to collect souls for eternity, who then seeks atonement after trading his daughter’s soul.

MultiChoice Group General Entertainment CEO, Yolisa Phahle, welcomed guests to a week dedicated to paying tribute to the art of cinematic storytelling with films from across Africa and around the world on the big screen, in the City of Gold. “As Africa’s most-loved storyteller, MultiChoice is proud to be the headline sponsor of a festival that is dedicated to celebrate, inspiring, energising and delighting audiences,” she said.

The Joburg Film Festival features a curated mix of 60 of the finest films and documentaries from across Africa and around the world, screening between 19 and 24 November – including a once-off screening of South Africa’s 2020 Academy Award contender, Knuckle City.

Films produced by graduates of the M-Net Magic in Motion (MiM) internship programme and the MultiChoice Talent Factory’s (MTF) Academies in East, West and Southern Africa will also be screened at the dedicated structure on Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton and at Kings Theatre in Alexandra, at no cost.

Joburg Film Festival’s programme director Bongiwe Selane welcomed the cast and creative teams behind many of the films on the festival programme, at the event.We’re going to be drawing on the expertise of these international experts and stars to help boost the local film industry with a series of masterclasses and panel discussions this week – and we can’t wait to see all the exciting collaborations which will be born at the 2019 Joburg Film Festival”.

For a full list of the 60 films which make up the Joburg Film Festival – and to book tickets – visit the festival website.

Keep in touch with the Joburg Film Festival on social media, @joburg_film_festival on Instagram, @joburgfilmfest on Twitter and facebook.com/joburgfilmfestival.

Youth and Audience Development Programme encourages young filmmaking talent as part of the Joburg Film Festival

The City of Gold is abuzz with film fever, but the Joburg Film Festival is about more than just a sizzling line-up of films and red-carpet style entertainment.

As part of the third Joburg Film Festival, the Youth and Audience Development Programme has also been upgraded to encourage and empower young emerging filmmakers across Gauteng. The JFF, in partnership with the MultiChoice Group and Gauteng Film Commission (GFC), embarked on a province-wide skills transfer initiative that reached more than 100 young people in a series of workshops in Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Mogale and Sedibeng.

“Our role is to make catalytic investments that will unlock the growth of the film industry as a key driver of social transformation and economic development in the province and, by extension, the country too,” shares Ms Busisiwe Mhaga, Chairperson of the Gauteng Film Commission.

Aspiring filmmakers between the ages of 18 and 25 were encouraged to submit a video with the theme ‘Your Kasi, Your Story’, which served as the entry to participate in the two-day workshop in each region.

The workshops specifically targeted youth living in townships and involved industry professionals sharing their extensive experience and knowledge on the amazing craft of cinematic storytelling with enthusiastic audiences. The workshop participants will also be invited to a special screening of one of the films that will form part of the JFF programme.

“The Youth and Audience Development Programme is a deliberate and valuable intervention by the partners – the Joburg Film Festival, Multichoice Group and the Gauteng Film Commission – to provide young filmmakers and film enthusiasts residing in townships with an opportunity to learn how to craft authentic stories that resonate across the African continent, with assistance from leading industry professionals. The programme not only helps to create a talent pipeline that is critical to the future of the industry, but also contributes to youth development,” says Joburg Film Festival Executive Director, Timothy Mangwedi.

Ntokozo Mabunda, Production Manager for the Joburg Film Festival who was part of the organising team that put the Youth and Audience Development Programme together, shares, “It might have been two days but meeting, learning and engaging with industry experts in that time was priceless for these young people.”

The young people who attended the workshop were grateful for the opportunity. Kwena Mokgokana, a participant from the Tshwane workshop says, “I found the programme to be very impactful. It challenged us to step out of our comfort zones. We took our daily experiences from our lives and turned them into very captivating stories.”

Malefetsane Maisha, a Sedibeng participant says, “Having a chance to listen to the industry professionals’ stories and life journeys was inspirational and being able to interact with them was something that we cannot put a price tag on.”

The “Your Kasi, Your Story’ short films that were submitted by each participant will be reviewed by a panel of industry judges and the creator of the winning short film will be recognised at the Joburg Film Festival’s Gala Closing Ceremony on 24 November 2019.

“One of our key ambitions as Africa’s most loved storyteller, is to ensure a sustainable talent pipeline is created for the video entertainment industry across the continent. We are excited about the undiscovered talent that was yielded by this programme,” says Joe Heshu, MultiChoice Group Executive: Corporate Affairs. 

MultiChoice Talent Factory holds inaugural graduation for its Southern African Academy

MultiChoice Africa recently announce the graduation of the first students of the MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF) Southern African Academy. The graduating students have gone through a rigorous 12-month film training programme, honing and sharpening their various skills within the film and TV industry. The graduation ceremony was held at the Zambia Institute of Mass Communication (ZAMCOM) where students received their certificates from the Zambia University accredited training programme.

Nyiko Shiburi, Director MultiChoice Southern Africa Holdings said the 20 students will be the first ever graduates of the MultiChoice Talent Factory which is aimed at supporting and encouraging excellence in filmmaking at the post school education level. Congratulations to Clarence Nyoni, Muchemwa Sinkala, Emmanuel Mwape, Jones Mvula, Mainala Silondwa, Racheal Mbewe and Joshua Kafumukache from Zambia, Sally Jason, Esther Beukes, Toivo Ashivudhi from Namibia, Chimwemwe Mkwezalamba, Jonathan Kapumba from Malawi, Serena Serene Mmifinyana, Nikita Mokgware from Botswana, Nobert Mapfoche, Rutendo Mahofa from Zimbabwe, Emanuel Gonçalves, Leandro Lima from Angola, Gerson Amaral and Ludmila Mero from Mozambique. MultiChoice Africa has fully sponsored the students’ tuition, accommodation and stipend for the duration of 12 months.

“The MTF Academy students have been provided with skillsets to develop their talent, connect with industry professionals and tell authentic African stories through a comprehensive curriculum comprising theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience in cinematography, editing, audio production and storytelling,” Shiburi added.

During the programme, MTF Academy students have produced television and film content that were premiered on the eve of their graduation at Ster-Kinekor, Manda Hill to 200 invited guests. The films will also be aired on our local M-Net channels across the continent including Africa Magic, Maisha Magic East, Maisha Magic Bongo, Pearl Magic, Zambezi Magic, M-Net and SuperSport to reach African audiences on the DStv and GOtv platforms. The films will also be available on the DStv Now app and on Showmax. The MTF students will leave the Southern Africa MultiChoice Talent Factory with the knowledge and skills to contribute professionally to Africa’s film and television industry.

The keynote address was given by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Higher Education, Mr. Mabvuto Sakala who said; “From its inception, the MultiChoice Talent Factory has been a place of inspiration not only to the learners graduating today, but to many that have walked into its doors and from different walks of life. This is the place where over 100 other film makers have gone through high level Master Classes in cinematography, sound engineering, lighting and design and storytelling to enhance their skills. The local film industry has also been empowered to network with colleagues of like mind from across the continent through the MTF portal that is allowing real-time sharing of ideas for the creatives.”

In addition to the certificate of completion, 7 awards were presented to deserving students who have excelled during the programme, the awards included the following;

  1. Mainala Silondwa from Zambia was awarded with an 8 weeks internship at the New York Film Academy in New York.
  2. Jonathan Kapumba from Malawi was awarded with a 3 weeks internship in Bollywood India sponsored by our partner, Nihilent Limited.
  3. Nikita Mokgware from Botswana was awarded with a 3-4 weeks internship on an Africa Magic Series in Nigeria sponsored by MultiChoice Africa.
  4. Emanuel Goncalves from Angola was awarded an infinite AVID Media Composer License (in perpetuity) the for the Most Promising Video Editor sponsored by our partner, Jasco Broadcast Solutions.
  5. Joshua Kafumukache from Zambia was awarded an Avid Pro Tools Licence (in perpetuity) for the Most Promising Sound Editor sponsored by our partner, Jasco Broadcast Solutions.
  6. Two students received placements on SuperSport productions, Nobert Mapfoche from Zimbabwe will be taken up as Director and Emmanuel Mwape from Zambia as Producer.  Both students will join the SuperSport crew in Zambia immediately after graduation.

Shiburi further said “as a company that is deeply rooted in Africa, we understand that many young, aspiring filmmakers have the capacity to learn and strengthen their skillset to give back to their communities but may not be financially equipped to do so. The MultiChoice Talent Factory focuses on making sure that those gems are nurtured, and their talent developed to contribute meaningfully to Africa’s creative industry.”

Over the past 12 months, MultiChoice has partnered with the governments, local film industry associations and academics and have exposed the students and hundreds of already established film professionals to well-respected subject matter experts including South African director and producer Bobby Heaney, reputable sound consultant from Dolby India, Vikram Joglekar, pan-African storytelling and creative consultant Allison Triegaardt, award-winning Kenyan film producer Appie Matere, cinematographer Jonathan Kovel and cinematic lighting technician Christian Lee Epps.

Young filmmakers shine in prime-time broadcast slot

It was a dream come true at the star-studded event in Sandton Ster-Kinekor cinema, where graduates of M-Net’s Magic in Motion Academy (MiM) had two of their films premiered on the big screen in front of a select audience.

Established in 2014, MiM is focused on transforming the South African film and TV industry by upskilling students and empowering them with substantial knowledge and experience in just 12 months. They are suitably equipped to embark on a career in their chosen field. Some have started their own production companies and produced award-winning content.  To date, 58 students have already been trained and are making their mark in the video entertainment industry.

“Like many incredible works of art, TV shows or movies, it often starts out with a dream. We dreamt of using our experience as Africa’s most-loved storyteller to empower the next generation of Africa’s storytellers, by practically developing their skills in the film and TV industry,” says Yolisa Phahle, MultiChoice CEO of General Entertainment.

During their year at the Academy, the MiM interns attend specialist classes where top industry professionals share their experience and knowledge of the profession. However, the bulk of their academic curriculum comes from hands-on training with the best-of-the-best in the industry, through interning on current professional productions and special events.  On the various sets, the interns meet the top television and film producers as well as crew, forging relationships that will stand them in good stead in their future careers.

The success of previous MiM interns has led to several MiM graduates being given the opportunity to start their own production companies. One such company is Eccentric Circus, started by Xolani Nhlapho, Neo Sibiya and Thabo Mashaila who were part of the class of 2016 MiM. “Last year, our company Eccentric Circus was kickstarted through the MultiChoice Group’s Enterprise Development Trust. Our vision as a company is to tell stories about young black people trying to navigate post-democratic South Africa’s changing landscape,” said Neo Sibiya, the writer of Themba Lam, a movie produced by Eccentric Circus.

Local actor, Ben Kgosimore says: “Working with these graduates was incredible. They were very professional. Every one of them were truly amazing.”

Perhaps the most exciting part of the MiM internship is that they get to make four films during their year, which are broadcast on Mzansi Magic in prime-time slots. The MiM movies compete on an equal footing with all the professional productions that are created for the Saturday evening movie slot and they perform remarkably well, regularly appearing in the Top Ten programmes for the channel. To date, the Academy has produced 15 movies that have been broadcast on prime-time TV.

“It is exciting for us as a business that the very thing we are passionate about can bring about a meaningful change and allow people to achieve their dreams. I take pride in seeing how we have enabled passionate young storytellers to bring to life our stated aim at MultiChoice of ‘enriching lives’,” adds Phahle.

The Academy supports MCG’s commitment to uplifting and investing in communities across South Africa and reflects the impact that its contribution makes to upskill local actors as well as film and television makers.

During the past financial year, MCG made a substantial R2.5 billion investment in local productions across the continent.

“Beyond the entertainment value, it’s rewarding to see how our investments in infrastructure, technology and skills development is empowering the next generation by harnessing the emerging talent of the youth and enabling them to achieve their goals,” concludes Phahle.


MultiChoice Talent Factory launches pan-African networking portal

MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF), MultiChoice Africa’s flagship Pan-African shared-value initiative has announced the launch of the MTF Portal. The portal is the third touchpoint of the initiative following the launch of the MTF Academies, a 12-month regional film training programme aimed at upskilling the next generation of passionate young film creatives launched in October 2018 and the MTF Masterclasses launched in January this year to upskill industry professionals.

The interactive online portal is aimed at profiling and connecting Africa’s industry creatives and bringing pan-African talent and opportunities together in one place. The digital portal will allow filmmakers across the continent to network, find talent and showcase their work. Access to the portal is through registration on the MTF website which will serve as an authoritative source of industry news, supported by MultiChoice’s long-standing position of being Africa’s leading storyteller. Users of the portal – up-and-coming talent and industry professionals – can also network with each other, connect and collaborate. The MTF Portal will also provide information on the MTF Academies and masterclasses.

The MTF Portal forms part of the investment MultiChoice has made to improving the quality and supporting the production of local content and storytelling across the continent. The MTF Portal will serve both seasoned professionals and aspiring talent in Africa’s film and TV industry.

“With increasing cross continental coverage filmmakers are looking for networks beyond their own borders. As a producer in Nigeria it is exciting to know it is possible to co-produce in Angola for example with access to local talent and production partners. The Portal is made for mobile and is therefore accessible to any filmmaker anywhere in the world,” says Cheryl Uys-Allie, director MultiChoice Talent Factory.

MultiChoice Group executive for Corporate Affairs, Joe Heshu, believes that launching an online destination to connect Africa’s creative industries is a natural progression for the Group: “As Africa’s leading storyteller, we play a significant role in bringing the local television and film production industry to life across the continent and the portal is an important extension of our commitment to igniting Africa’s creative industries to find each other and continue making great content.”

MultiChoice Group lists on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange

MultiChoice Group (MCG) listed on the JSE Main Board on 27 February with a market capitalisation of about R44-billion. Shares start at R95.

Calvo Mawela, MultiChoice Group CEO, commented: “Today’s listing is an important milestone in our exciting journey of growth.  As one of the fastest-growing pay-TV broadcast providers globally, our strong financial position at listing is backed by attractive long-term growth opportunities in both subscriber numbers and revenue. MCG has a highly cash generative core with no financial debt, and we are poised to deliver value to our shareholders over time.”

MultiChoice Group brings leading local and international entertainment and sport content to around 14-million households in 50 African markets, providing viewers with access to content from 8 out of 10 major international studios. Importantly, MCG is differentiated by its production of over 4,500 hours of local content in 10 studios across Africa. Showmax alone has 17,500 hours of content with half being local content. Furthermore, MCG offers a world of champions with over 37 sports channels providing sports fans viewership of most iconic global sport events.

Donna Nemer, director, Capital Markets and Group Strategy at the JSE, welcomed the MultiChoice Group listing, adding that: “This significant listing is a cause for celebration not only for the Company, but for the JSE as well. This is an opportunity for MultiChoice to unlock a wealth of potential and capital for its investors on one of the most trusted, stable and robust exchanges globally.  We are delighted to be part of this journey and will continue to work hard to build better markets for the MultiChoice Group and its shareholders.”

The listing and impending unbundling of MCG by Naspers reinforces the commitment of both MCG and Naspers to broad, socio-economic transformation in South Africa. Phuthuma Nathi (PN) shareholders will be allocated an additional 5% stake in MultiChoice South Africa (MCSA) for no consideration, thereby increasing their indirect interest in MCSA from 20% to 25%, and resulting in a 25% increase in PN’s share of MCSA dividend flows. Through PN, MCSA has provided long-term, far-reaching benefits to more than 90,000 individual and institutional B-BBEE shareholders.

Bob van Dijk, Naspers chief executive officer, commented: “Today is a proud day for Naspers. Listing MultiChoice Group through an unbundling unlocks value for Naspers shareholders by creating the opportunity for them to own a direct stake in MultiChoice Group, a top-40 JSE-listed African entertainment group. We are also very pleased to be able to create further value for Phuthuma Nathi shareholders, who, through MultiChoice South Africa, have already participated in one of South Africa’s most successful empowerment schemes. As MultiChoice Group embarks on its next exciting chapter I look forward to seeing the team build further on their impressive success story.”

MCG joins five companies listed in the media sector on the JSE, which prior to the MCG listing contributed 9% to the total market capitalisation of the JSE (R1.39 trillion).

Corporate social investment rarely delivers, right? These Isibaya and Isithembiso SAFTA nominees would argue otherwise

Corporate social investment programmes are often treated with a healthy dose of cynicism. It’s the kind of thing that looks good in a company’s annual report, but how often do these schemes deliver real-world benefits? The recent announcement of the SAFTA nominations shows in the entertainment industry at least, corporate social investment does indeed have a role to play.

Mbali Zulu and Charleen Ntsane are both writers on popular TV shows, and both were members of teams nominated for South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTA). They’ve also got another thing in common – both are graduates of a corporate-sponsored development programme. Mbali’s and Charleen’s stories are interesting case studies into how corporate social investment (CSI) can genuinely help individuals and at the same time pay dividends to the companies that sponsor them.

Charleen Ntsane has been a core member of the youth telenovela Isithembiso writing team since the show began in 2017. Prior to her storyliner and scriptwriting position at the film and television production company Bomb Shelter, Charleen took part in MultiChoice’s M-Net Magic in Motion Academy.

The Academy, which has been running since 2015, gives participants experience in key areas of TV and film creation including commissioning, scriptwriting, concept creation, producing, directing, cinematography, sound, art direction, editing, post-production and broadcasting.

Talking about what the Academy did for her, Charleen said: “The Magic in Motion Academy seeks out people who’ve studied in the TV and film field but haven’t yet got a full time job in the industry. They gave me exactly what I needed – actual solid working experience – to bridge the gap between studying and employment. I’m over the moon that just a year afterwards I’m part of a team nominated for a SAFTA for best achievement in scriptwriting.”

Mbali Zulu has a similar story. After leaving the Academy, she also went to work for Bomb Shelter as a storyliner and scriptwriter, in this case for Isibaya.

“In my first year writing on Isibaya, I was nominated for a SAFTA.  It was a surreal and unexpected experience.  But it let me know that I was on the right track in my career. To get this second nomination for my contributions in the writing room – I feel so grateful.  So so so grateful. So many creatives are struggling to get into the industry. If it were not for the Magic In Motion Academy, I know for certain that I wouldn’t be where I am today.

After leaving the Academy, Mbali has worked on eight films, two of which are currently in post-production. She was also part of a team which successfully pitched for a 13-part series that’s due to air soon on Mzansi Magic.

Speaking about why they decided to start the Magic in Motion Academy, MultiChoice CEO for General Entertainment Yolisa Phahle said:

“The best possible world for CSI is where doing something good for society intersects with helping your own industry – and by supporting promising TV and film students in the transition to meaningful employment we’re doing both. Africa has incredible TV and film talent and I’m a firm believer that there’s world-wide demand for well-told African stories.  There’s no question that I get a kick from seeing our graduates up for awards, but I’m probably even more excited that the pool of skilled professionals producing original African content is even larger than before thanks to the Academy.”

To date, more than 1200 episodes of Isibaya and more than 400 episodes of Isithembiso have been filmed. They are available to stream on www.showmax.com.

The SAFTA awards ceremony takes place on 2 March. MultiChoice was the most-nominated company with its productions receiving more than 150 nominations.

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