A time of Magic

Way back when ’til now – 3 celebs look back on the past 10 years with Mzansi Magic (DStv 161)

Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) has been a life changer for South Africa’s entertainment industry. From the day of its launch on 12 July, 2010, it has not only become a home for the stars, but a star maker. And from day 1, it has been a place where fans came to learn more about the favourite celebs with its fun magazine and talkshows. Some celebs who’re now familiar faces on the channel started out on the other side of that screen – as viewers and fans themselves.

We asked Somizi Mhlongo-Motaung, Lungile Radu and Scoop Makhathini to look back on the past 10 years and their earliest Mzansi Magic obsessions…


Somizi Mhlongo-Motaung

The day that Mzansi Magic launched, Somizi (then aged 37) was taking a deep breath in and giving himself a well-earned pat on the back. He’d successfully choreographed the massive opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup, and his work had played out on screens all around the world. On his Instagram account this year, he looked back and said, “This day changed my life for the better… it resurrected my spirit, my career and my self-esteem.”

Somizi adds now, “My goodness! I was on top of the world! That was the beginning of my rise. I had just choreographed the biggest sporting event ceremony in the world, so I was just reflecting and unwinding and looking back. I was super-super on top of the world, and I knew that this would be the beginning of the greatest time and the greatest career of my entire life. Little did I know, buthi, it’s going to Mzansi Magic involved.” Somizi was in good company for a fresh start with Mzansi Magic… but he admits that it took him a while to catch on… until one show got him hooked.

  1. What kind of person were you back then? I was so liberated, so free, so full of energy, so full of life, so full of hope, but a little bit naive and careless and I didn’t know what the words branding and brand alignment and stuff like that was.
  2. What was the theme music for your life? I was definitely listening to Bongo Maffin, Mafikizolo, Usher, Whitney Houston, a whole mix masala.
  3. What were you doing on social media? I just had Facebook! That’s it.
  4. What was the first show you watched on Mzansi Magic? I watched Headline (2010, the magazine show) hosted by Trevor Gumbi. Then there was a show I watched, Rockville (2013), the one with Minnie Dlamini-Jones and Boity Thulo playing sisters (Nosipho and Mpho Bogatsu). And later I got into Isibaya (2013).
  5. Which was the first Mzansi Magic show you were hooked on and who was your crush in it? Definitely Isibaya! It was that one show that got me hooked. Funnily enough, I had a crush on Siyabonga Thwala (Mpiyakhe Zungu), who happens to be my cousin. So that was weird. And I also fell in love when I first saw Jessica Nkosi (Qondi) and Nomzamo Mbatha (Thandeka). I was like, who are beautiful women?! Where are they from?!
  6. How has Mzansi Magic changed in your eyes from then ’til now? Choms, Mzansi Magic has changed so much! Honestly, in the beginning – and I am going to be brutally honest – I thought it was going to be one of those channels that was not going to last. Maybe it was because I was seeing something new – something that was fully representative of who I am. Sometimes we get too caught up in the American way of doing things and when we see ourselves we’re taken aback. My generation was never raised to believe that we are worthy of success and abundance and anything that is positive. We always look at ourselves as the underprivileged and the disadvantaged. So when you see a channel that is striving to show the greater side of who we really are as black South Africans, sometimes it can come as a shock. So I was very doubtful. But hey, man, look at things now!
  7. What show do you most want to come back? The one show that I’d really like to come back is Headlines – and I want to be the host of that show. It was witty, it was entertaining, and it was current, and it was poking fun in a very fun way at celebrities.
  8. Which recent series has filled you with Mzansi pride? I would say The Herd (the 2018 supernatural drama) and the current one is Omen (2020, also a supernatural drama series). I think the world needs to see that.

Watch Somizi in Idols SA S16 from Sunday, 2 August on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) at 17:30. Watch Dinner At Somizi’s S1 on Fridays on 1Magic (DStv 103) at 19:00 or on Catch Up 


Lungile Radu

Today you can turn on your TV and watch Lungile Radu co-hosting sports lifestyle show Homeground along with Minnie Dlamini-Jones. But on 12 July, 2010, 35-year old Lungile was taking time out from working on the project of his life to celebrate just being South African. “I do not recall the exact location, but I was ‘here’. I know it involved friends and much excitement! The 2010 World Cup was history in the making for our country -- a once in a lifetime experience,” he says.

While Mzansi Magic was being born, Lungile was incubating his own baby – the two would grow up side by side. “At that time, I was setting up my production company, PAP. The first show we developed was a reality show titled Forever Young,” he reveals. Forever Young, a celebrity reality show that followed Lungile and his friends Siyabonga Ngwekazi (more from him below) and Thomas Gumede as they chased their dreams, eventually launched on Vuzu (DStv 116) in 2012, before moving to Mzansi Magic in 2013. In the meantime, Lungile was hosting sports entertainment show Goal Diggerz (a PAP production) that had launched on Channel O (DStv 320) in 2010. Later, PAP produced one of our favourite Mzansi Magic classic dating shows, Uyang’thanda Na? Lungile was a busy man!

  1. What kind of person were you back then? I think I have always pretty much possessed the same spirit. Back then, I was much younger, with a little less life experience, but I was still as ambitious, and goal-driven as I am now. Perhaps my jeans were a bit too baggy back then. LOL.
  2. What music were you listening to? Hip-hop and kwaito.
  3. What were you doing on social media? I wasn’t that active on social media back then. I had a Facebook account that I didn’t really pay attention to. I had probably just started my Twitter account (let the record show that Mr Radu posted his first Tweet on 19 July, 2010). Social media has become an integral part of my work, and to keep up with what’s happening these days.
  4. What was the first show you watched on Mzansi Magic? The telenovela Zabalaza (2013).
  5. Which was the first Mzansi Magic show you were hooked on? Abomama (2018, the drama about 4 church ladies who become criminals) had me hooked. The story was refreshing, and unlike anything else on TV at the time. (Lungile was an executive producer on the show, which was created and produced by PAP)
  6. How has Mzansi Magic changed in your eyes from then ’til now? Mzansi Magic has consistently produced good quality local programming. The new kid on the block back then, it’s now a beacon of South African talent and excellence. The programming on the channel is also a beautiful reflection of the lives of ordinary South Africans.
  7. What show do you most want to come back? Abomama S2 would be great! (there’s nothing wrong with a dad loving his baby)
  8. Which recent series has filled you with Mzansi pride? The amazing talent unearthed on shows like Idols SA has always made me feel that we can compete on any international stage. Kudos to Mzansi Magic for investing in South African talent!

Watch Homeground S4 on Mondays on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) at 21:30 and SuperSport 4 (DStv 204) at 17:30 or watch on Catch Up


Siyabonga Ngwekazi AKA Scoop Makhathini

On 12 July, 2010, 28-year-old Scoop Makhathini was catching his breath. ”I was at home recovering from the night before. I was in Johannesburg during the World Cup and was hosting match viewings and parties for the number 1 sports brand in the world,” he says. He and Lungile were working on Forever Young together – although Scoop was about to land the series that would make him a household name, hosting V Entertainment on Vuzu (DStv 116). It didn’t take him long to become a Mzansi fan…

  1. What kind of person were you back then? I was fearless. I was free. I was naive and young. Easy going, adventurous, energetic and wild. I have always been smart and stylish, and I was that then, too.
  2. What music were you listening to? Hip-hop. International and South African hip-hop. I have always loved RnB music and was listening to that, too. I also started listening to a lot of reggae during 2010, don’t know why. The vibes were so oriented in that year.
  3. What were you doing on social media? I joined Twitter in July 2010. (A newly hatched egg back then, Scoop is now a major social media influencer with over half a million followers on Twitter and a YouTube channel that he’s raising hell on, just ask AKA!)
  4. What was the first show you watched on Mzansi Magic? Clash of The Choirs (2013, the reality talent show). What an amazing show!
  5. Which was the first Mzansi Magic show you were hooked on? The show that hooked me on Mzansi Magic was Clash of The Choirs, and I wouldn’t call it a crush or anything like that, but I was, and am, still astonished by JR’s musical mind and genius (JR Bogopa came on as a choir master whose choir won in S3 in 2016), so to watch it unfold in front of my eyes through the show was amazing.
  6. How has Mzansi Magic changed in your eyes from then ’til now? It was like a “teenager” trying to find its voice in the past, now it’s a full-grown person with their own identity and voice. That is the best way I can explain it.
  7. What show do you most want to come back? Clash of The Choirs! It’s everything and it’s what South Africans love. Gospel music, dancing and singing, and people. A winning formula.
  8. Which recent series has filled you with Mzansi pride? Isibaya. (yes, full stop, nothing more needs to be said).

For a trip down memory lane, birthday wishes and more celebrity shoutouts, head over to Mzansi Magic’s official 10th birthday page

Want to binge classic Mzansi?

Throughout July and early August, classic Mzansi Magic content will be available on Catch Up. Sign up for DStv Now – it’s an online streaming service for all DStv subscribers. Watch the channels you watch on your decoder at home, but on the Internet! Go to now.dstv.com on your laptop and Catch Up on the episodes you missed.

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