SABC 1 Is Not The Only Culprit


The Sabc has been getting a lot of beating recently. One might be inclined to adhere to tune of the chorus and brand the national broadcaster as the the monster we all see it to be, rightly so given the total disregard that the parastatal has shown lately. 


I know I am starting to sound like a broken record here but I love this industry. It pains me to see what is happening right now and sadly, deserving or not, the SABC is being blamed for something we should all be accountable for.

Sometimes when somebody does something wrong our acts to condemn them end up distorting the heinousness of this person's deed. In turn the perpetrator ends up looking like the victim. Eventually he/she becomes the victim. 

Not the victim of any crime more sinister than that he has commited but a he will be a victim of the unfairness of public opinion. This person may have erred but is berating him in a manner that takes all responsibility away from other parties in the problem and puts it solely on his head really the way to solve that problem?

During a conversation with some friends in the industry recently the general consensus was that the SABC, actually SABC 1 to be exact, is killing our industry. I too for a while shared the same sentiments. 

I still believe that some of the things that are happening in the channel are detrimental to the growth of this industry. However, while in my solitude thinking about the articles, comments on blogs and the views from my 'friends' it dawned on me that somehow, in an effort to find blame in someone, SABC 1 is being used as an scapegoat for a fault that lies within all facets of this industry. 

Ok, my “sympathy” might have had something to do with the good work they have done with Intersexions.

One thing that stood out for me is that none of us are willing to accept some responsibility for the way things are going in this industry. The performers, the media and the viewers do not want to take any ownership for their contribution to this problem of stagnancy and mediocre. 

There are people at the SABC who are doing a great job. With that I want to point out few contributions some of the other people in their capacity have made to the degradation of respect and proficiency of this industry. Myself included in some way of course.

The Performers

It's a known fact that our artists are the most spoiled in this business. Majority of them do not respect the craft nor do they care about anything but to serve their own over inflated egos. How often do you hear stories of actors not showing up for work?

How often to you hear that shoots had to held back for hours because a certain performer had to 'found' because they did not show up on set and their phone is off? Some of you may have never these stories but they do happen, a lot.


We all know that some performers will never ever support anyone on set for speaking out about the politics that happen during shoots. Quiet often you find that people have a lot to say when they are sitting with their peers but when it comes to the crunch they hide behind the notion that if they speak out they will never get work again. 

The biggest issue in this business is money. Some people make a lot of it while some do not. It's an unfair practice that's been going on for years and very few are prepared to address it on the right platform. Now how good is it for you to complain while sitting in a bar with fellow performers when you do not say anything on set when another performer complains?

Contempt has a nasty habit of being malignant. Jaded performers will complain that the SABC is destroying the industry but as soon as they get a job at the broadcaster they become blind, deaf and mute. Can one then conclude that they too do not care about the industry as long as they are getting the piece of the pie at the SABC? 

To the few that are able to stand up to this travesty regardless of the thread such a audacious move puts on their livelihood, I say kudos. You are the true artists in this business. You understand that getting yourself fat now on the fruits of a corrupt industry will not benefit you nor anybody in the future when the industry is dead.


The Media

The green-eyed monster that feeds on egos and this industry is a Mecca for it. Our reporters (and bloggers) do a good job of informing us of what is going on in the industry but even with them there is a nasty side that we never acknowledge. 

I am only addressing the entertainment reporting media here so let's be clear on that. We totally ignore people, events and shows that will not give our stories a buzz. Why write about someone like Mothusi Magano? He is boring and doesn't have babies all over Mzansi. 

Forget about the fact that he is one of the most talented young actors in this country. Forget that he is one of the most consistently working actors of our generation. We will ignore him because he will not be of interest to our readers; that's the excuse. BUT who is of interest to our readers? 

We influence public perceptions. Aren't we as writers the ones who introduce these people to the country? Aren't we responsible for the fame that has befallen the Khanyi Mbaus of this world?

I remember during the Jub-Jub media circus. I refused to write anything about him because I realised that the attention that he was getting, negative or not, would take away the focus from the crime he had committed. 

I remember commenting in one of the articles about the drama that if one were to go to Soweto and ask some of those students who were in a frenzy outside the courtroom some of them would not even be able to tell you the names of the students who died or give you clear reason as to what has motivated their actions outside that courtroom. 

Better yet, ask any of the celebs who donated goods to the families and posed for pictures that the splashed on Facebook if they have bothered since then to call and find out what is going on with the case or how the families are doing. 

Much of what was happening was stirred up by the media's attention on the case. As soon as the cameramen packed up their cameras and left the whole thing distant memory and an old story. Sadly the families of those kids still have to live with the fact that they lost their beloved children. 

Yes, some people may have genuinely cared about justice but there is no denying that there was a lot of acting for the cameras involved there too.


The Viewers

Performers perform for audiences, that is why we have shows. The flip side of that is that the audience/viewers need the performers to perform for them. It's the supply and demand equilibrium of life. If the audience/viewer does not support the performers we have how then are we going to have shows with these performers performing on them. 

How often do you find yourself in a room with an actor that you like but never go to them and tell them that you like their work? Of course this lies more on the issue of pride than anything else BUT when an american actor is in your midst you will do it regardless of the pride thing.

SABC 1 has made some huge blunders this year and if they care about the future of the channel they will wake up and recognise the error of their way, then FIX it. However in our call for the blood of those we deem responsible for this anarchy can we take a moment to recognize our part in all of this.

SABC 1 is not just the number one channel in this country because it brands itself as one but it is because our support make it that. If we continue to sit idley by and only complain in the comfort of anonymity with fear of being called 'haters' we do not deserve the right to accuse the channel of anything. 

If you tune in every day to watch the channel and do not do anything practical to let the channel know that they are not keeping their promises then you can not fault them for continuing to feed you garbage.


Do not get me wrong, I still say we should lambast SABC for its failure to deliver. Do so with the acknowledgement that they can not do it alone and they are not the only broadcaster in this country that is making mistakes. If the tide is to change we all have to work together. 

I do not support the call for South Africans to boycott the channel completely as there some positive things that the channel does. We have to support good productions and our artists, praise good deeds just as loudly as we shun bad ones, but above all we need to use the power we have to make things happen. 

Your remote would be a good start. Use it to support the shows that make an effort to deliver good quality entertainment and change the channel when the ones that 'do not care' come on. Trust me when the advertisers start pulling out then the channel will have to take action.

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