What's Happening?

16.3.15

Should you watch @MNet's new show, #TheSlapSA? Well, YES! Tune in at 8.30pm

Hank Stuever



TV shows are getting better at the modern ways of trolling, which, after all, is an ancient and perhaps fundamental feature of drama — the ability to stir emotions, get goats and raise hackles. Provocative characters make terrible decisions to draw us into their moral quandaries. How flattering that we each get a reserved seat in the judge’s chair.

But “The Slap,” NBC’s heavy-hearted (and heavy-handed) drama based on an Australian series (which itself was based on a novel by Christos Tsiolkas), trolls a little too hard, knowing that our culture today is quite easily baited on matters of parenthood, coupling and modern manners. The result is a depressing — if engrossing — rehash of arguments found every day online.

Read More Here

About The Show


The miniseries revolves around the aftermath of a birthday party of a middle-aged city employee when an adult male slaps someone else's misbehaving child Hugo (after Hugo kicks him in the leg). Each episode tells the story from the perspective of a different character.

Now Meet The Cast

Uma Thurman, from left, Thomas Sadoski, Peter Sarsgaard, Melissa George, Thandie Newton, NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke and Zachary Quinto attend NBC's "The Slap" miniseries premiere party at the New Museum on Monday, Feb. 9, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP)

The Slap boasts an impressive all star cast, from Uma Thurman, Thandie Newton, to Peter Sarsgaard, Penn Badgely and the protagonist, Zachary Quinto. 

Peter Sarsgaard as Hector Apostolou, a 40-year-old assistant deputy commissioner
Thandie Newton as Aisha Apostolou, Hector's wife and the director of a clinic
Ashley Aufderheide as Melissa Apostolou, daughter of Hector and Aisha
Khalid Alzouma as Adam Apostolou, older brother of Melissa
Uma Thurman as Anouk Latham, Hector's childhood friend and executive producer of a TV series

Melissa George as Rosie Weshler, mother of Hugo
Thomas Sadoski as Gary Weshler, father of Hugo
Dylan Schombing as Hugo Weshler, the kid whom Harry slaps
Zachary Quinto as Harry Apostolou, Hector's cousin, a rare-auto dealer, and the titular slapper.


Marin Ireland as Sandi Apostolou, Harry's wife
Owen Tanzer as Rocco Apostolou, Harry's pre-teen son.
Sofia Regan as Melody, works for Harry
Brian Cox as Manolis, Hector's father
Michael Nouri as Thanasis Korkoulis, Harry's attorney

Makenzie Leigh as Connie, Hector's teenager babysitter
Lucas Hedges as Richie, Connie's best friend
Penn Badgley as Jamie, Anouk's much younger actor boyfriend
Victor Garber as Narrator (voice)

Tune in, Mondays on M-Net at 8.30pm 

12.3.15

The 9th @SAFTA1's to be screened on @SABC_2

*** PRESS RELEASE***


THE 9TH ANNUAL SAFTA AWARDS TO BE AIRED
ON SABC 2

The SABC in partnership with the National Film and Video Foundation proudly recognizes South African talent as we once again broadcast the South African Film And Television Awards. This year the awards will be carried live on SABC2. The award ceremony taking place at Gallagher Estate on the 22nd March 2015 will be broadcast from 19:30-22:30 and will be a continuation of the non-broadcast technical awards taking place on Friday 20th March 2015.

The objective of the SAFTA awards is to celebrate, promote and encourage creativity, quality and excellence of the South African Film and Television industry as well as entrepreneurship and the development of new talent. 

The winner in each category will be presented with the official Golden Horn SAFTA trophy.
This year the SAFTA committee added a new Best Presenter Award where the winner of the award will be voted for by the public. This is the only award category in the SAFTAs that is voted for by the public.

Don’t miss the live broadcast of the 9th Annual SAFTA awards on 22nd March 2015 at 19:30 on SABC2

11.3.15

@Vulture created an #EmpireFox Opening sequence and we love it! #EmpireWednesdays


Hello. You love #Empire, right? So do we. We just can't get over it. 

But there's been one thing missing- an opening sequence. So the guys at Vulture have gone ahead and created one. And we love it!

Check it out, below


10.3.15

BREAKING: Game of Thrones V will be screened simultaneously in the US and SA


BREAKING NEWS!!!

M-Net Edge revolutionises TV viewing with HBO series:
Game of Thrones V will be screened simultaneously in the US and SA
For the first time in South Africa, television viewers will be able to watch an international drama series at exactly the same time as their American counterparts.
M-Net Edge (channel 102 on DStv) will simulcast the new, much-anticipated Season 5 of HBO’s Game of Thrones when it launches in the US on Sunday, 12 April at 21:00. 
So, if you turn on the telly in South Africa at 03:00 on the morning of Monday 13 April, you can contribute to the deluge of comments and mini reviews on social media straight away. No unwanted spoilers, no need to play the waiting game.
Last year M-Net introduced ‘Express from the US’ to fast-track top-notch international series to our shores within 24 hours. Many of these shows reached our screens an hour after their American premiere, but now M-Net Edge is taking the time lapse to an unbelievable zero seconds.
“We have been able to screen awards ceremonies and other one-off events live, but this is a first for scripted international series.  It is further testament to our commitment to ensuring our audiences get the best viewing experience possible” says M-Net’s CEO for South Africa, Yolisa Phahle.
“It is important for M-Net to remain at the forefront of the latest broadcast and technology trends and we’re very proud of this new turbo-charged ‘Express from the US’. In the fast-paced digital age, our viewers have become global citizens who want instant access to the best programming. With simulcasts like these we can bring their favourite shows to them in high-quality HD. We are delighted that HBO sees us as a partner in their endeavour to use technology to serve audiences better.  Our state of the art broadcast facility will allow us to screen this fantastic show in real time and we look forward to similar arrangements in the future.”
Viewers who still prefer a good night’s sleep to being ahead of the office chatter about new story developments can watch the same episodes on Thursdays at 21:00, with the first scheduled for Thursday, 16 April. Another option is to set the PVR or to catch the Game of Thrones Season V simulcast on the DStv Explora.
Before all the plotting, scheming, lust and revenge in the mythical kingdom of Westeros resume, M-Net Edge will screen the extraordinary half-hour Game of Thrones special titled A Day in the Life. Key people working on the show share enlightening insights into a single day of filming across three countries – Croatia, Ireland and Spain. A Day in the Life will air on Thursday, 9 April at 21:00. 
As you would expect from this Golden Globe winning series, Season 5 ofGame of Thrones is bound to packed with interesting new plot developments as all the kings and queens, knights and renegades continue to jostle for control of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros  - and possession of the Iron Throne. What will happen next? For once, you’ll be able to find out as the story unfolds on American screens!

#GameOfThronesSeason5: Tyrion, Dragons, Daeny, Sand Snakes, Arya...

It's coming!!!

4.3.15

‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ ‘TFIOS’ and ‘Bad Neighburs’ Lead MTV Movie Awards Nominations

MTV announced nominees for the fan-voted 2015 MTV Movie Awards, with youth-skewing pics “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “The Fault in Our Stars” and “Neighbors” tying for most nods with seven apiece.

The kudocast will be hosted by comedian Amy Schumer. 



Movie of the Year
“American Sniper” (Warner Bros.)
“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1″ (Lionsgate)
“Guardians of the Galaxy” (Disney)
“Gone Girl” (20th Century Fox)
“The Fault in Our Stars” (20th Century Fox)
“Boyhood” (IFC Films)
“Whiplash” (Sony Pictures Classics)
“Selma” (Paramount Pictures)


Best Female Performance
Jennifer Lawrence – “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1″
Emma Stone – “Birdman”
Shailene Woodley – “Fault in Our Stars”
Reese Witherspoon – “Wild”
Scarlett Johansson – “Lucy”


Best Male Performance
Bradley Cooper – “American Sniper”
Chris Pratt – “Guardians of the Galaxy”
Ansel Elgort – “Fault in Our Stars”
Miles Teller – “Whiplash”
Channing Tatum – “Foxcatcher”


Best Scared-as-S*** Performance
Rosamund Pike – “Gone Girl”
Annabelle Wallis – “Annabelle”
Jennifer Lopez – “The Boy Next Door”
Dylan O’Brien – “The Maze Runner”
Zach Gilford – “The Purge: Anarchy”



Breakthrough Performance
Ansel Elgort – “The Fault in Our Stars”
Rosamund Pike – “Gone Girl”
David Oyelowo – “Selma”
Dylan O’Brien – “The Maze Runner”
Ellar Coltrane – “Boyhood”


Best Shirtless Performance
Zac Efron – “Neighbors”
Chris Pratt – “Guardians of the Galaxy
Channing Tatum – “Foxcatcher”
Ansel Elgort – “Fault in Our Stars”
Kate Upton – “The Other Woman”


Best Duo
Channing Tatum & Jonah Hill – “22 Jump Street”
Zac Efron & Dave Franco – “Neighbors”
Shailene Woodley & Ansel Elgort – “The Fault in Our Stars”
Bradley Cooper & Vin Diesel – “Guardians of the Galaxy”
James Franco & Seth Rogen – “The Interview”


Best Fight
Jonah Hill vs. Jillian Bell – “22 Jump Street”
Chris Evans vs. Sebastian Stan – “Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Dylan O’Brien vs. Will Poulter – “The Maze Runner”
Seth Rogen vs. Zac Efron – “Neighbors”
Edward Norton vs. Michael Keaton – “Birdman”


Best Kiss
Ansel Elgort & Shailene Woodley – “Fault in Our Stars”
James Franco & Seth Rogen – “The Interview”
Andrew Garfield & Emma Stone – “The Amazing Spider-Man 2″
Scarlett Johansson & Chris Evans – “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”
Rose Byrne & Halston Sage – “Neighbors”


Best WTF Moment 
Seth Rogen & Rose Byrne – “Neighbors”
Jonah Hill – “22 Jump Street”
Jason Sudeikis & Charlie Day – “Horrible Bosses 2″
Miles Teller – “Whiplash”
Rosario Dawson & Anders Holm – “Top Five”


Best Villain
Rosamund Pike – “Gone Girl”
J.K. Simmons – “Whiplash”
Jillian Bell – “22 Jump Street”
Meryl Streep – “Into the Woods”
Peter Dinklage – “X-Men: Days of Future Past”


Best Musical Moment
Jennifer Lawrence – “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1″
Chris Pratt – “Guardians of the Galaxy”
Seth Rogen & Zac Efron – “Neighbors”
Bill Hader & Kristen Wiig – “The Skeleton Twins”
Miles Teller – “Whiplash”


The Sing Off is coming to South Africa on @Official_SABC1 soon! Audition details here

*** Press Release ***



The Sing Off is South Africa’s very first talent show entirely dedicated to the art of a capella singing. Are you an a capella group with voices that are as powerful as any musical instrument?

Have you been craving a chance to be on stage and sing to a crowd with great melodies and harmonies? This is your chance. The NO INSTRUMENTS, VOICES ONLY international hit show, the sing off is looking for you and you can stand a chance to win a fantastic cash prize and a Sony recording contract!

Johannesburg: 14 and 15 MARCH
Venue: The Bass Line. 10 Henry Nxumalo Street Newtown Johannesburg
Times: Saturday 14 March: 09h00 to 19h00 ; Sunday 15 March: 09h00 to 17h00

Polokwane: 16 and 17 March
Venue: The Library Gardens Auditorium. 71 Hans van Rensburg street C/O  Grobler Street, Polokwane
Times: Monday 16 March: 14h00 – 19h00; Tuesday 17 March: 09h00 to 19h00

Cape Town : 21 and 22 March
Venue: City Hall, Darling Street, Cape Town
Times: Saturday 21 March: 09h00 to 19h00 , Sunday 22 March: 09h00 to 19h00

Port Elizabeth: 25 and 26 March
Venue: The Savoy Theatre and Conference Centre. cnr Diaz Road and Stirk Road, Port Elizabeth.
Times: Wednesday 25 March: 14h00 to 19h00; Thursday 26 March: 09h00 to 19h00

Durban: 28 and 29 March
Venue: The Play House: 29 Anton Lembede Street, Durban
Times: Saturday 28 March: 09h00 to 19h00; Sunday 29 March: 09h00 to 19h00

What you need to do: 

Complete the on-line application form: Click here 
To read the rules of the competition: Click here

@FOXAFRICA's #EmpireFox: A Review.

A hip-hop mogul prepares to drop his final track


Hank Stuever
At least a decade overdue but welcome to try its luck, Fox’s stylish if overly sudsy midseason drama “Empire” (created by Lee Daniels) is set in a deadly serious world of hip-hop and R&B record-label management — and all the high-carat nonsense that comes with it.
Terrence Howard (“Crash,” “Hustle & Flow”) stars as Lucious Lyon, a rapper who built his early-1990s recording success into a “Mo Money, Mo Problems” lifestyle as a platinum-selling producer and impresario. Now head of the Empire Entertainment media company, Lucious is battling mortality on two fronts: His doctors say he has a neurodegenerative disease that will kill him; similarly, his accountants have shown him the unpleasant math wrought upon the music industry by the Internet.
Empire’s board of directors votes to save the company by taking it public on the stock market (which hardly makes sense, but this ain’t the Jim Cramer show) while Lucious announces to his three sons that he is seeking a successor — which could be one of them, if they prove worthy. (“Is this ‘King Lear?’” asks the smart one, who is also the gay one.)

Each of Lucious’s sons represents a different trope to be dealt with: The eldest, Andre (Trai Byers), inherited none of his father’s musical talents and instead overcompensates as an intense, suit-wearing businessman who happened to marry a white woman. The middle son, Jamal (Jussie Smollett), is the most artistically gifted of the three but is also gay, a fact the homophobic Lucious abhors, keeping Jamal in a suspended state of quasi-estrangement. Finally, there’s baby bro Hakeem (Bryshere Gray), who lives a pampered, faux-gangsta life and is preparing to cut his first rap album.
It’s here where “Empire’s” most interesting and most tornadic force blows in: Taraji P. Henson (“Person of Interest,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”) as Lucious’s ex-wife, Cookie, who has just been released from prison after serving 17 years of a 30-year sentence for drug trafficking.
As we learn in a series of flashbacks, Cookie made the ultimate sacrifice for Lucious, taking the fall for the drug running that helped finance the launch of his career. Lucious ignored (and divorced) her while she was behind bars; now she’s demanding half of his fortune.
Wednesday’s premiere episode (the only one made available for review) ably sets up “Empire’s” central power struggles and the various degrees of opportunism and deceit lurking within the Lyon family. They aren’t a pleasant bunch, but I doubt anyone interested in the show was hoping for uncomplicated hugs and sentimental cooperation. Timbaland produces the original songs that give “Empire” its real oomph, while the actors try to figure out what kind of characters they’ve agreed to play.
“Empire” has wisely audited a few classes in the Shonda Rhimes school of high-low ambition, in which the drama of it all can successfully commingle with a little ridiculous swagger. The trick is to introduce characters that a viewer can ally with and enjoy yelling at and then have them do things that cause the viewer to yell even more. Catharsis can be great fun, unless it starts to feel like work.
The doctors have given Lucious three years to live, but I think it will take only another two or three episodes for viewers to figure out whether the Lyon family’s problems are worth all the fuss — by which I mean: Is this a show that would be fun to tweet about each week for an hour?
“Empire” better hope so. – Washington Post


3.3.15

The #MMA14- a celebration of music, legends and great fashion, writes @Buhlebonga


Thebe and HHP performing at the 14th Metro FM Music Awards
South Africa’s music stars were honoured at the annual Metro FM Music Awards at the Durban ICC on Saturday evening. 

Minnie Dlamini and Tbo Touch
The event was staged in Durban for the third year in a row and co-hosted by media personalities Tbo Touch and Durban’s own Minnie Dlamini. It was a night to remember for those who had made a significant contribution to the industry over the past year.

North West rapper Cassper Nyovest walked away with four of the biggest awards – best hip hop, male singer, song of the year and hit single – which underpinned his reign as the prince of hip hop in the country. Popular rapper AKA won two – for best collaboration with All Eyes On Me and best remix with Durban rapper Duncan’s hit Tsiki Tsiki Remix.
Those victories proved last year was a big one for hip hop, which had finally become a force to be reckoned. 

A cappella group The Soil won two awards for their latest album, Nostalgic Moments. KZN’s Naima Kay won the best female category, while former Idols winner Lloyd Cele won for the award for best rhythm and blues. 

Performers last night included KO, Cassper Nyovest, AKA, DJ Clock, Beatenberg, HHP, DJ Merlon and Busiswa, who all set the stage alight, bringing the audience to their feet. 
World-famous Mahotella Queens received a lifetime achievement award and took to the stage to perform. Tsepo Tsola also got a lifetime achievement award.

There was an emotional moment when the late Metro FM presenter Eddie Zondi was honoured by his colleagues last night. His widow, Phakamile, and their children received the special remembrance award. 

Fashion at the Metro FM Music Awards black carpet impressed.  Bonang Matheba proved her style icon status with a stunning  Gert Johan Coetzee creation and Cartier jewels. 
Dlamini also delivered in the style stakes, wearing Michael Costello, who dressed Beyoncé at the Grammy Awards last year, amongst other designers, including Durban's Zarth Designs. 

Kelly Khumalo (TACKY), Pearl Thusi (AMAZING), Bonang Matheba (SHUT DOWN), Pearl Modiadie (CHEEKY/SEXY), Khanyi Mbau (CLASSY)
Others who impressed were Isidingo actress Michaella Russell in a JJ Schoeman outfit, Pearl Modiadie, who wore a cheeky number by Inga. Pearl Thusi wore a Gert Johan Coetzee creation, while Khanyi Mbau opted for Pallu. 

Many of the men appeared in suits, though with an edge, the best styled artist winner Donald wore Palse Homme.  Cassper Nyovest wore his own creation, an elaborate Eastern-inspired coat and pants.


Newcomer Kay Sibiya, wore CSquared, while  Tbo Touch wore black and white ombré Dashiki and matching pants and was heard telling everybody he was the best dressed.

The after-party took place at the Moses Mabhida Stadium People’s Park, where those who hadn’t secured tickets to the event at the ICC watched on the big screens and were able to get into the after-party, where many DJs, including Durban’s DJ Tira, performed for the crowds until the early hours.

The Winners List
Man of the Moment, Cassper Nyovest

Best African Pop: Afrotraction (For The Lovers)
Best Remix: Duncan ft. AKA, Professor, Mampinstha (Tsiki Tsiki Remix)
Best Collaboration: AKA ft. Burna Boy, Da Les and JR (All Eyes On Me)
Best Compilation: House Afrika (Sessions 5)
Best Dance: Nastee Nev (0808 Sweetsoul)
Best Duo/Group: The Soil (Nostalgic Moments)
Best Female: Naima Kay (Ngiyavuma)
Best Hip Hop: Cassper Nyovest (Tsholofelo)
Best Hit Single: Cassper Nyovest (Doc Shebeleza)
Best Kwaito: Lvovo Derrango (The Boss)
Best Male: Cassper Nyovest (Tsholofelo)
Best Music Video: DJ Fisherman (Call Out)
Best New Artist: Chymamusique (Gift of Sound)
Best RnB: Lloyd Cele (Ngiyakudinga Mtakwethu)
Best Urban Gospel: Sfiso Ncwane (Bayede Baba)
Best Urban Jazz: Wanda Baloyi (Love and Life)
Best Styled Artist: Donald (Black & White)
Song of the Year: Cassper Nyovest (Doc Shebeleza)
Listeners Choice Award: Cassper Nyovest 
Downloads: Zahara



All pictures: Bongani Mbatha 

2.3.15

#Uzalo is a ratings hit. We interview the stars, Kay Sibiya and Naymaps Maphalala.

Packed with new faces and an interesting story-line, SABC1’s Uzalo is a ratings hit. Buhle Mbonambi spoke to the two leads, Kay Sibiya and Naymaps Maphalala

Switched at Birth: Kay Sibiya and Naymaps Maphalala on SABC 1's hit drama series, Uzalo. 
Imagine being switched at birth and not knowing you've grown up in the wrong family. Imagine if your real father was a priest and you were raised by a thug, while the thug raised the priest’s son.

That’s the basic premise of SABC1 telenovella Uzalo, created by Muvhango’s Duma Ndlovu, with Gugu Zuma Ncube and Pepsi Pokane executive producers. Phathu Makwarela is the head writer. In its ninth episode, the show airs Mondays to Wednesdays at 8.30pm. 

Sibiya and Maphalala are relative newcomers. Sibiya previously hosted SABC1’s love music show on Sundays. This is  their big break in the industry.
“It’s weird that we had to leave Joburg to have a breakthrough in the industry,” says Maphalala. He plays Mxolisi Xulu, the do-good son of a gangster. Of course his real father is actually a priest.

Describing his character, he says Mxo is a clean cut guy. “He is proper. He is his real father’s son. Everything must always be proper, with nothing out of place. He’s also ambitious, but a bit of a snob. Very entitled.
“He believes he is man enough to take over the family business, even though he doesn’t know what that business is. When he finds out his dad runs a hijacking ring, he can’t cope with the news.” 

Sibiya plays Ayanda, the gangster’s real son who was raised by a priest. His dream is to be a DJ. His parents want him to pursue a “real career”.
“Ayanda is as complex as Mxo, but he craves approval and needs to feel assured at all times. He’s at odds with his family, which worries him. He is under pressure to be what he doesn’t want to be; so he acts out, being rude and embarrassing his family.” 

There is no denying the two actors have a lot of responsibility to the show as protagonists, which is sometimes hard to handle as newcomers.
“I was nervous at first. This role could make or break me, so the pressure was there from the start,” says Sibiya. “But as the story developed and more characters shared screen time, it got easier. There is more confidence on set with all of us and that’s a good feeling.” 

Maphalala says working with respected actors like Bheki Mkhwane, Don Mlangeni and Leleti Khumalo was stressful at first. “It was so scary that at times I felt like I needed to pull up my socks with every scene. But they were so welcoming and encouraged us to give truthful, genuine performances. Their reassurance made it so much easier.” 

Both characters feel like they should be allowed to follow their dreams, says Sibiya. “Ayanda wants to be a DJ. His dad wants him to inherit the church. He’s not about that life. Viewers saw it in last week’s episode where the choir was twerking the service. And that’s the main beef he has with his parents.”
“I agree with Kay, but there’s also that feeling and questioning why our parents never understand us. I think Ayanda would get on well with Mxo’s dad and Mxo with Ayanda’s dad. It’s a complex thing.” 

Sibiya adds: “When you are young and you think you know best and your parents have a different view, you rebel. You even start feeling like they don’t love you, like you are not their child. So, in a sense, it’s just reflecting what happens in society.” 
The show picked up more than 5 million viewers in its second week, which even Generations: The Legacy is struggling to achieve. This makes Uzalo the most watched show in the country.

It’s a coup for the producers, who risked everything with a cast of mainly new faces. That belief is what drives Sibiya and Maphalala. “They could have gone with any established actor with a young face. But they didn’t and it’s a great thing,” says Sibiya.
“Our industry might be small, but there is room for everyone and I think all young actors appreciate the producers searching for a new crop,” says Maphalala. “There have been some great performances on the show, with some of the characters translating well on TV and getting great feedback. It’s great for us young actors and in the long run it will be great for the industry.”

And their thoughts on the plot? 
“Love it! Bab Duma knows what he is doing and Sis Gugu and Pepsi are great producers,” says Sibiya. 
“Phathu is a great writer. The twists he and the writing team have come up with shocked even us. It’s a fun ride and we are lucky to be going along,” says Maphalala.

As they are called away to shoot more episodes, and as I leave, I bump into Bheki Mkhwane, who smiles and tells me how awesome these boys are. “They are good, no?” He asks.  If that’s not affirmation of your talent from a noted thespian, I don’t know what is. 


*This article first appeared in the 01 March 2015 issue of the Sunday Tribune SM Magazine*

Patrick Shai is back with @etv's #AshetoAshes, tonight at 8pm. He spoke to @Buhlebonga

Nothing keeps a good actor down
Nyaniso Dzedze, Zenande Mfenyana, Patrick Shai, Nambitha Mpulwana and Chumani Pan on e.tv's Ashes to Ashes
Patrick Shai is back on on our screens with e.tv’s Ashes to Ashes, tomorrow at 8pm. He spoke to Buhle Mbonambi

Ashes to Ashes star Patrick Shai, a legendary actor with roles in some of the country’s best shows, plays patriarch Selo Namane who owns a funeral home business. This is his first role after being fired from Generations last year, with the rest of the cast of the show. We spoke about industry politics, the state of local TV and Ashes to Ashes, which may be South Africa’s response to hit HBO series, Six Feet Under. 

It’s been a hectic few months for you  – from the drama at Generations, where you staged a strike about your salaries and residual fees and getting this role. What has kept you going?
What happened is not new. It happens a lot behind the scenes. All the time. It just received traction because it was a group of people. There were so many factors with our strike. And even though it wasn’t resolved, we believed that we opened up the eyes of other actors and soon they can ask for what they deserve. 
The support you got from many – including industry professionals – was great. What is the way forward for actors now? Are you banding together to make sure your rights are respected?
We are not there yet. But I think it is time for actors to wake up. Many are blinded by celebrity and bright lights. They need to rise up on the things that matter and speak up. I don’t know when the industry will band together and make sure we have each others’ backs. 
With Ashes to Ashes, were you as artists, able to commit the channel and Clive Morris Productions for residuals, in case it gets shown in other territories?
Contracts are personal and I can’t reveal matters about salaries. It’s confidential. But I’m happy. 
Let’s talk about your character, Selogilwe Namane. What’s he like?
He is the chief executive of a funeral home. A very ambitious man. He’s from a poor background and his ambition drives him to never be poor again. He met his wonderful wife (fellow Generations cast mate, Nambitha Mpulwana) and they inherited the business from her family. They have built it to be what it is now. But he has his vices, which are his Achilles heel. 
As a self made man, what is the most important thing for him?
I think it's his family. The support he gets from them, even with his issues and problems, he keeps them close. His wife protects him and hides all his nonsense from the children. Image is important to him, so as much as he’s messed up, he always tries to hide it so as to not mess up the family name. 
What do you think of the character and the way he has been written?
I loved the story, otherwise I wouldn’t have signed up. I sat and spoke with the producers and the creative team and they fleshed out the character and the storyline for me. It has so much depth and flesh, I couldn’t say no. And to play a character so conflicted and complex, a very unpredictable man, is a blessing. The narrative of the storyline got me hooked. 
What attracted you to Selo?
He’s real. He is not perfect, though he thinks he is. He trusts himself too much, which is why he is a bit messed up. Yet even though his world may sometimes be crumbling, he’’ll find a way to make it work. 
We have seen you on comedy, drama and soaps. The telenovella has a different feel. Which format do you prefer?
I fit in well in all of them. The telenovella is like a longer made-for-TV movie. The writing has to be edgier, the production crisper and the story and acting has to be better than a soap. The telenovella is the current popular format for storytelling in South Africa. Will it replace the soap?
I don’t think so. I think channels will have to make those decisions. There are some soapies who are moving towards a more dramatic feel, so there is a feeling that our soapies must be more dramatic and with substance. I think that’s the way to go. 
Any similarities to Six Feet Under? 
(Laughs) Both are good?
The 8pm time slot has been historically a difficult one to compete with SABC 1’s Generations. Will Ashes to Ashes finally be the show to give it some needed competition?
It’s healthy for the industry. Competition is always good, instead of a monopoly. At the end of the day, the viewers win. They get to make a choice on which show they want to watch. Commercially, it allows more product placement which increases revenue and gives production companies the money to make quality TV. But the most important thing is that the content needs to be better and we need to keep viewers happy.

*This article first appeared in the 01 March 2015 issue of the Sunday Tribune SM Magazine*

5 + 1 Reasons why you MUST watch @etv's #Umlilo tonight

Hamilton Dhlamini is the man at the centre of the new drama 'Umlilo' starring the three ladies Gcina Mkhize (L), Nomzamo Mbatha (back) and Nokuthula Ledwaba(R) Picture: Antoine de Ras
The previous posts were about all the facts about e.tv's new show, Umlilo and an interview with actress, Nomzamo Mbatha. Now we give you the six reason why you MUST watch the show tonight at 9pm. 

It's a good story
We have always complained about how South African stories were not being told. We have so many great and unique stories and have highly capable writers, that every time we switched on the TV, we were disappointed with some of our dramas. Well that stops now. Umlilo is a damn good story, told in a riveting way that not only draws you in, but leaves you wanting more. '
High Production Values and Good Direction
It's a quality show. You can see very clearly that no cost was spared for this show to be produced and the viewers win. The location shoots, the house they are shooting in and the set itself- impressive. There is no substandard camera work and editing. It flows and the direction is great. There is a scene during the pilot, where Hamilton's character, Mnqobi, is talking about his wives and both are standing behind him. Nomzamo's character, Khwezi, slowly makes her way to join the wives, in a move that not only signifies her interest in being part of the family, but that she IS part of the family and one of his 'wives'. Clever. 
Also, it's produced by Quizzical pictures who produce some of the best shows in the country, including Intersexions, The Lab, 4Play: Sex Tips for Girls and Swartwater. If that's not a great track record, we don't know what it. 
They keep us guessing
Who is taking those pictures and why? Why is Mnqobi and his family being watched/stalked? Even though they  do reveal WHO it is at the end, but we don't know why and who hired him. Now THAT is great story telling. 
Polygamy
Polygamy is an accepted practice in the country. The President is a polygamist, so seeing a drama that fleshes that out, is very progressive. The dynamics between the wives, Cebisile and Dumile, are already very interesting. The main wife, Cebisile, is very controlling and likes Dumile to toe the line and not do whatever she wants without consultation, which of course plays them off against each other. Now with Khwezi getting into the picture, how is their relationship going to be like? Also, how do Mnqobi's children handle a polygamous father? 
A Great Cast
One of the best things about the show is that it has an amazing cast. Gcina and Hamilton are revered performers, while Daniel Hadebe has proven his talent while on Scandal! Former Generations character, Thato Molamu is his fine Lothario self in this show and the relatively new faces, Nomzamo Mbatha and Omuhle Gela, also hold their own, especially Nomzamo. We are looking forward to see how the show will go on and we hope the storyline and the character development is on point. 
Product Placement
We saw two Chevrolet vehicles on the show and that's a great move because it means it's so good, that a major vehicle company wants to get involved. We rarely see that in South African dramas, so it's a step in the right direction. Let this be the start of corporate SA getting behind local productions!
Interest piqued? Then tune into @etv at 9pm tonight. 

#Umlilo: @Liam_JV interviews #Umlilo actress, @NomzamoMbatha

Here, there, everywhere

Umlilo and Isibaya actress and Holiday Swop presenter, Nomzamo Mbatha

Liam Joyce caught up with Umlilo and Isibiya actress and Holiday Swop presenter, Nomzamo Mbatha, in between her busy schedule.

Nomzamo shot to fame with a role on Isibaya in 2013, playing Thandeka Zungu. She then took a break from the show last year and after shooting a film, now she is back with two new shows: Holiday Swop on SABC 1 and Umlilo on e.TV.  She has also re-prised her role on Isibaya

So how busy are you these days? 
Its crazy, I wish I could give my life to someone else right now just so they can handle everything that's going on, hahah. I am buy with a lot but I am making it all work and I am grateful that I am busy with so much. 
You are straddling three shows on three different channels, which isn't always easy. Have the channels relaxed a bit about their talent being seen n other channels?
You know its my case I really just think its blessing from God. Channels are very territorial but I let my work speak for itself and I am very humbled that three different channels think I am good enough for all of them. 
We predicted earlier this year that you are one of the people to watch in the industry this year and we were proven right. Has your success surprised you?
Yes I saw that piece and I loved it thank you so much for that. It absolutely has because it all happened so fast and I didn't have time to take it all in. I would have liked it to take off gradually but hey I am not complaining.
The first time we spoke to you was when you were vying for an MTV VJ job. You didn't win. But did that in a way, set the chain in motion of what your career is like now? Multidimensional?
Oh yes! Tim Horwood (Creative Director of Viacom International Media Networks Africa) saw something in me and although I did not win I really feel that that is where I was discovered. It was my moment and it definitely set everything in motion. 
You've just been nominated for your second award at the Royalty Soapie Awards. Does it affirm you as an actress?
It always feels good to get a nomination and I am very happy about being nominated again this year and that in itself is good for me because it tells me that I am doing a good job and I am among the best. It also does validate me as an actress but I always say that the only validation you need is from yourself.
Okay so you've got a major role in e.tv's Umlilo- tell us about your character
She is spicy! Hahaha….she's a great character to play because she is a double edged sword. She is a good person and very caring but she is very manipulative and will do anything to get what she wants and does not let anyone stand in her way. 
Is she a gold digger or not?
Not at all, she does not need any man for money 
Is she the side chick who wants to be the main chick?
You know she is about to become the third wife of a man who already has two wives but she isn't fighting for his attention or for the main spot. 
You've been lucky that you have worked with some of the countires greats in all your shows- has it improved your acting skills?
Absolutely! The people I have worked with and currently work with are amazing, I really have learnt a lot. I like being intimidated on set because it burns the fire within me to always do my best. 
Biggest thing you have learnt? And advice?
I have learnt not to take myself too seriously, when you because too mindful of things and even the character you are planning you forget to have fun. I think its important for everyone to just enjoy their ride, whatever it is.
Returning to Isibaya after leaving last year- why now?
I got a call from the producers and they asked me to return. I then asked myself if I had had enough growth since leaving them a year ago and I have had a few projects since Isibaya so I yes. I also felt a little guilty for leaving, especially towards the viewers because the storyline was left in the air. 
So we last saw Thandeka leaving with Sbu. Where does the story pick up?
Thandeka returns home and she is still married to Sbu but he does not return with her until later. She is very confused by what is happening in her home and she tries to figure out why it resembles a war zone
Will there always be a loyalty to Isibaya, after all it was where you got your big break from?
Oh yes always because it was my big break.
Holiday Swop- Is it a fun show?
It's incredible! I mean I could have shot the show for five more months if I had to because it was a lot of fun. I learnt so much about KZN and I think the viewers are also going to learn a thing or two. 
KZN is beautiful and I'm sure you saw some really great places. What's the most amazing place you went to that you hadn't been. And why?
There were many places that stood out but I really loved Oribi Gorge and Nkandla, not the presidents home though. (Laughs) Nkandla is beautiful, the scenery is amazing and its natural beauty really is one of a kind, I would like to film a move there one day. 
What's the funniest thing that happened to you while shooting the show?
Oh my goodness there was a challenge where the contestants had to handle bull frogs and snakes and I am so afraid of both, my director kept asking me to stand next to the snake and frogs while recording and I just could not. 
What are your thoughts on South African TV at the moment?
I think its doing really well, there are new shows and new content which is really important. There's lots of new talent and I think we are pushing the envelop with unique story-lines and of course there is job creation.

Catch Nomzamo Mbatha as Khwezi on e.tv's Umlilo tonight at 9pm.

*This article originally appeared on the 01 March 2015 issue of the Sunday Tribune SM Magazine* 

All about @etv's new drama, #Umlilo- A MUST WATCH at 9pm tonight

Gcina Mkhize, Hamilton Dhlamini, Nokuthula Ledwaba and Nomzamo Mbatha, the cast of Umlilo
It's not often that we get really excited about a TV show, especially a local show, but when it happens man do we get super excited. e.tv and Quizzical Picture's Umlilo is that show. Having seen the screener, expect a show that will not only make you proud of the direction of local TV, but also the high production quality and storytelling. But more on that in the next post here. 

Premise
A story of revenge set against the backdrop of a polygamous family. 

The Main Cast
Hamilton Dhlamini: The award winning actor plays Mnqobi, the patriarch of an affluent Johannesburg family. In his 40s, Mnqobi is a successful, self-made businessman and global player on the brink of landing a lucrative business deal that would make him and his partner happy. He is a polygamist. 

Gcina Mkhize: Gcina plays Cebisile, the first wife. She is the love of his life and he trusts her more than life itself. The childhood sweetheart, they have been married for close to 20 years. Cebisile is a staunch traditionalist who misses her rural surroundings. Although not very happy as a matriarch of the family, she is the glue that keeps the family together.

Nokuthula Ledwaba: Nokuthula plays the feisty go-getter and Mnqobi's second wife, Dumile. A proper big city girl, she is very different from Cebisile. She was abused as a child and  grew into a funky party animal. She has a very loosely-based modern outlook to the marriage.

Nomzamo Mbatha: Nomzamo plays the flirty Khwezi, who owns a catering company and restaurant and is Mnqobi's girlfriend. She has no qualms about dating a married man and actually wants to be Mnqobi's wife. She was adopted by her uncle as a teenager. She is very private and nobody knows who she really is or where she comes from. She has become a master at deflecting or avoiding questions about her background. All of her ideas about womanhood have come from television and other media. 

Other cast members include Thato Molamu, Daniel Hadebe and Omuhle Gela.

The Producers
Bianca Isaac of Quizzical Pictures. 

Do yourself a favour and tune in. Trust us. It's THAT good.