Mzansi’s favourite productions have returned to set!


Safety measures remain top priority as cameras start rolling again on local productions

The cast and crew of Mzansi’s favorite shows are happy to be #BackOnSet, following the revision of the nationwide lockdown to Level Four.

Government has published regulations that have seen several sectors, including the film and television industry, being allowed to return to work under strict health guidelines.

image

Shooting of new episodes has resumed for Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) hit telenovelas such as The River, Isibaya, The Queen and Gomora. In addition, production on the three kykNET soaps - Binnelanders, Getroud Met Rugby and Suidooster – as well as the telenovela Arendsvlei - resumed between Friday 1 May and Monday 4 May.


image

Level Four lockdown regulations mean that no superfluous people will be allowed on set, access to the studio is monitored and there are medical staff on call – with the now-commonplace rules of social distancing observed on all sets. The producers, writers, directors and cast of all productions will continue go out of their way to maintain the high standards these series have set, despite the limitations of these new regulations.

For Multichoice Group’s Local Entertainment Channels and the respective production companies, the health and safety of each and every person involved in the production is their number one priority. They also understand the immense importance of job creation in this vital sector of the economy.


A welcomed return

The video entertainment industry, like all other entertainment industries, came to a halt when Stage Five Lockdown was announced. MultiChoice Group released funds of R80 million in order to help relieve the pressure on the local content industry.


image

“This relief fund has helped a lot of our people during a very difficult time,” says Christelle Parrot, producer of Megaboere. “We’ve received a thank you message from every one of our crew after their salaries were paid into their accounts – and, in turn, we shared our thanks with the MultiChoice Group - we appreciate their support for an industry that is so desperately in need.”


image

“The generous relief fund made available by MultiChoice for the cast and crew on the telenovela Arendsvlei was deeply appreciated as a gesture to assist industry practitioners under contract over this very difficult time!” says Roberta Durrant, Creative Producer at Paw Paw Films.


“While the R80 million fund MultiChoice Group established has ensured that the cast and crew continued to receive their salaries throughout the start of the lockdown period in March and April, we are thrilled that they have been able to return to work this week,” says M-Net CEO Nkateko Mabaso. “At this stage, the safety of crew and cast remains a priority and we are in constant communication with production houses, as per the government’s directive, to ensure that stringent health guidelines are in place and are being adhered to.”


Adjusting to the new normal

Here’s how the stars of these shows have responded to the new ways of working on set:

Gomora

Award-winning Gomora actor Zolisa Xaluva plays Melusi – a hardworking, dedicated teacher. Melusi, a respected member of society, is a strict father to a son who has mixed with the wrong crowd. Gomora’s return to the small screen will have viewers on the edge of their seats to see what comes next following a revelation about Melusi’s love child.

Xaluva says being back at work is a privilege, “I feel extremely privileged to be working at a time when most people find themselves deeply despondent because they are still unable to. My heart goes out to every family that is struggling under the circumstances. I look forward to going back to work to help provide entertainment that will hopefully help raise the spirits of those who are at home, and hopefully heighten their consciousness. I feel like we are capably led and appreciated. We didn’t work in April but received our remuneration as per our contractual agreement”.


The Queen

The Queen’s executive producers, Connie and Shona Ferguson, say that the health of the cast and crew at Ferguson Films remains their main priority. “It feels really good to be back on set. It’s been a tough time worldwide with the pandemic and we are grateful to still have an opportunity to do what we love,” says Connie Ferguson. “Our priority is the team’s health and safety on set. We would not be able to make swift decisions without the support of the broadcaster. The team at Mzansi Magic has always been there to respond promptly to our questions and concerns and, together, we are working really hard to give The Queen’s audience a great season finale.”


Isibaya

Asavela Mngqithi, who plays Ntwenhle Ndlovu on the award-winning telenovela, is among those who returned to work this week - wearing masks and being required to practice social distancing. “They have very strict rules on set and it’s weird working with masks and social distancing, but it feels good to be back at work. We all have to learn to work safely and to protect each other, during this time. I am grateful to MultiChoice that we are able to work, and for their continued support during lockdown,” she says.


How to watch DStv online

Sign up for DStv Now, a free service for all DStv subscribers. With DStv Now the same channels you watch on your decoder at home are available for you to stream online, or using the DStv Now app on your phone.