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Mzansi Magic applauded for their black story telling as they celebrate a decade in the industry

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Mzansi Magic applauded for their black storytelling as they celebrate a decade in the industry. The game-changing DStv channel that has been a vessel for earnest and unflinching black storytelling launched in July, 2010. Black Lives Matter and Black Girl Magic have been at the DNA of the channel way before the movements were mirrored in hashtags.

Whether you are into Isibaya or Our Perfect Wedding or Uthando Nes’thembu, we can all agree that Mzansi Magic changed TV for good.

“We launched the channel to celebrate African culture and stories,” Nkateko Mabaso, M-Net CEO said. “The channel has brought authentic African stories to our audiences — young and old.”  The channel has never shied away from controversy and pushed boundaries on its quest to validate black voices.

In dialling up the entertainment in the past decade, the channel has been inclusive, progressive and diverse when it comes to gender, sexual identity, culture, age and in many other imbalances in television.

“We have a huge pool of talent that is loved and respected, who have grown to become the faces of the channel,” Mabaso added.

The pool of artistes he speaks of has yielded strong female roles that are not just damsels in distress — but call the shots. Harriet Khoza (Connie Ferguson) wears the pants and has all the men wrapped around her finger in the fictional drug world of The Queen. Your favourite auntie Mkabayi Zungu (Thembi Nyandeni) can handle an AK47 better than all her male counterparts in the taxi industry on Isibaya.

Prison drama Lockdown featuring Dawn Thandeka King, Lorcia Cooper, Zola Nombona and more continuously cleaned up at the South African Film and Television Awards (Saftas). Nelisiwe Sibiya’s heart-wrenching song Mama Ka Bafana that scores many scenes in the show had everyone crying all the way to digital music stores to download it.

For Thembsie Matu, her comic relief role as much-loved housekeeper Petronella was the role that she has been waiting for all her life. It came as no surprise when she was the biggest winner at the channel’s DStv Mzansi Viewers’ Choice Awards in 2018.

“It (Mzansi Magic) has given me a platform to showcase my talents and gave me the exposure that I’m grateful for,” Matu said.

Sunday nights belong to love thanks to shows such as Our Perfect Wedding and Date My Family. Thembisa Mdoda’s signing-off catchphrase “Sifike! Sabona! Satshatisa!” and her bright-hued traditional attire melted hearts as much as the weddings she covered.

“OPW reinvented family time in South Africa. No matter the age or gender, families came together to watch something that made them laugh, cry and give them a rollercoaster of emotions,” Mdoda said.

Musa Mseleku made polygamy attractive and trendy with his reality show Uthando Nesthembu. But gender politics overshadowed his spin-off show Mnakwethu.

Media personality Somizi Mhlongo changed perception with his flamboyant, fabulous and larger-than-life persona on his reality show Living the Dream with Somizi. More queer representations on the channel set Moshe Ndiki into sheer stardom.

The channel also brought us closer to the lives of favourite celebrities such as Bonang Matheba, Shauwn Mkhize (formerly Mpisane) and Penny Penny.

Let’s be honest, Papa Penny’s pineapple hairstyle deserves its own reality show. “They picked me among so much talent in SA and I delivered in making people happy. They believed in me when my name had disappeared and they brought my fame back,” Penny Penny says.

Who is your daddy? We can always count on Nimrod Nkosi to find out on Utatakho.

Whoooooo shem! Will we get a new season on Idols SA this year amid the Covid-19 pandemic? Since moving from M-Net to Mzansi Magic, the reality competition show has launched the music careers of Shekhinah, Khaya Mthethwa, Amanda Black and Luyolo Yiba.

Before breaking into Hollywood Thuso Mbedu and Nomzamo Mbatha got their big breaks on Mzansi Magic.

After playing heroine Thandeka Zungu on Isibaya for years, Mbatha was cast opposite Eddie Murphy in the sequel to Coming to America. Before her global takeover and winning a BET Award, Sho Madjozi was introduced to Mzansi in Isithembiso in 2017.

Veteran actor John Kani led the cast of telenovela Inkaba before Black Panther and Murder Mystery. “Mzansi Magic has also created opportunities for the youth to tell stories that express their dreams, aspirations and challenges,” Kani said.

As an award-winning producer and scriptwriter Phathutshedzo Makwarela sums it up perfectly — Mzansi Magic gave black creatives the freedom to tell their stories their way. Makwarela has contributed to the channel’s most memorable telenovelas and dramas in vernacular. These shows include Rockville, Gomora, The Queen, Igazi, The Throne and The Republic.

The River went on to receive International Emmy nominations. “Ten years ago, no one would have believed that a pay television platform will emerge as the dominant player in the TV landscape, creating a platform where black stories can be told with authenticity,” Makwarela said.

Source – Chronicle

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