DStv Zimbabwe hosted a hot launch for DStv’s latest offering, Zambezi Magic on the 1st of July at the Venue Avondale in Harare. The exciting new channel is tailor made for audiences in Zimbabwe and the rest of Southern Africa. To celebrate this brand new channel which marks a significant step of inclusiveness of Southern African content. DStv Zimbabwe had to bring out the red carpet for a special night at the Venue Avondale for a warm and cosy night.
Welcomed by percussionists jamming African drums, DStv Zimbabwe’s Zambezi Magic launch was attended by local Zimbabwean producers, filmmakers, entertainment movers and shakers as well as local media. The cocktail event allowed for industry players to share and discuss content and the future of Zimbabwean TV and film.
After some mingling. The launch kicked off with a special performance by the talented Josh Meck. Followed by a speech from renowned Zimbabwean producer, Ben Mahaka. Mahaka’s speech allowed for guest’s to reflect on the Zimbabwean television and film industry which has been limited in quality in recent years. The producers, reminisced about the golden days of the local industry which at one point was thriving however began declining 12 years ago. Mahaka’s honest reflection of the industry highlighted the need for Zimbabweans to be united and inclusive to ensure the industry develops. He encouraged Zimbabwean TV and film professionals to network and support one another to ensure the industry develops. Furthermore this new opportunity with DStv for local content is undeniably encouraging for local productions. In fact, I had a conversation with a guest who emphasized the need for workshops with local industry experts but also for an exchange with industry players from around the African continent particularly South Africa and Nigeria.
Zimbabwean producer, Ben Mahaka gives a speech on the local Zimbabwean industry
After some strong and powerful words from Mahaka, the night moved onto a lighter note with the ridiculously funny Chigubu who performed a 10 minute stand up piece accompanied with some humorous audio effects which ended with a Roman Catholic priest joke and Beyonce’s Drunk in Love which certainly left audiences in stitches.
The countdown to the new channel was led by a speech by DStv Zimbabwe’s Head of Pr, Liz Dziva. The beautiful Liz pointed out while the current content is mainly South African at the moment. Multichoice is currently selecting regional content and intends to have more local content from neighbouring countries. Liz added, “One of MultiChoice’s main objectives is to invest in and support local production companies so we’re confident that as the channel grows, so will the number of local content from each Southern African country. We look forward to introducing new and exciting talent from Zimbabwe to the rest of Southern Africa.” Currently the only non South African show on Zambezi Magic is a Zambian lifestyle show, “The Kool RocShow “(which I will definitely be checking out).
As the new channel went live, Zimbabwean creative’s were certainly excited for the new opportunity this channel represents for local productions hoping to have a regional reach. Local producer’s joy and smiles were definitely evident as several local productions are hopeful their shows will make the cut. The night definitely marked a promising development for the local productions. The Zambezi Magic launch event left me with 2 key thoughts:
1. Multichoice is Finally Taking Steps to Support Southern African Content
Last year I had the fantastic opportunity to participate on the Mzansi Magic content Tour where media from several Southern African countries such as Malawi, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe participated. We had the rare opportunity to visit production sets, engage with producers, hosts, directors and actors. One of the key issues several of the visiting media brought up was the lack of Southern African content on DStv. This issue came up everyday and throughout all our activities. One memorable moment was when media had the opportunity to engage with Mnet and Multichoice management. As journalists hurled questions at Mnet’s local interest Director, Nkateko Mabaso the popular question, “What is Multichoice doing to include more Southern African content?” was a media favourite. Multichoice management ensured visiting media they were looking into it. Less than a year later in fact 6 months later, Zambezi Magic is here now. Which means Multichoice is listening to viewers and stakeholder feedback and demands. While the brand new channel is not perfect programme wise, it is certainly a big step for Multichoice. Southern Africa has felt neglected and excluded by Multichoice. This brand new channel symbolizes Multichoice’s dedication to the continent and its desire to connect with their viewers across the continent. Zambezi Magic is definitely an opportunity to showcase southern African talent and content often produced in our very own backyards. I am excited for the future of this new channel.
2014 Mzanzi Magic Content Tour Q & A with Mnet Management
2. Multichoice Should have included more NEW content before going live
So yes, it is exciting that we have new channel dedicated to Southern African. However once, again viewers are consuming primarily South African shows and a majority of which are old or have featured previously on the other DStv channels. Shows like Generations, Isidingo, Muvhango etc. Unfortunately these shows are just old classics. While I am sure there are some die hard Generation fans who may be excited about the return of SABC productions on DStv. I definitely feel the management of Zambezi Magic could have at least offered viewers a few more NEW shows especially from outside South Africa before launching. Zambezi Magic only has one new Zambian lifestyle show. I certainly feel the show’s launch could have been delayed until producers found enough new content to kick off the channel. With the excitement surrounding the brand new show for Southern African viewers, it was slightly disappointing to read the line up only to discover most shows were old South African classics. A fresh line up should have included: some classics and some new content. The future of this channel is definitely dependent on the ability of management to select and commission exciting Southern African shows and movies. There definitely are some authentic productions that would be great for the channel which we want to see more off.
As a Zimbabwean viewer, blogger and producer the launch of Zambezi Magic is definitely a big step for DStv. It shows the brand acknowledges its markets across the continent. However I definitely can’t wait to see more content from neighbouring countries. I look forward to DStv’s investment in local productions and the future of Zambezi Magic. I’m ready for a ride!