On 30 December last year Percy Mabandu wrote a piece on City Press titled “Urgent appeal to the SABC and e.tv” out of frustration because, he claimed, South African Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC’s) programming sucked (emphasised). Well, he’s damn right, it sucks – but don’t all SA tv programmes suck - whether whether on e.tv, DStv or TopTV?
Mabandu then suggested the public broadcasters’ viewers should not pay their tv licences, that they should only do so when SABC’s programming has improved. He said the request – in the form of a newspaper column – was addressed to both the SABC and e.tv. “The two broadcasters will need to be reliable entertainers in the following weeks as the holiday season winds down. With Christmas and New Year’s Day behind us, it means there will be little to look forward to by way of grand excitements – and hardly any more cash to spend. So we’ll all be lounging in the living room,” wrote the columnist on City Press.
Aside from warning e.tv not to repeat its WWE programmes during the festive season, Mabandu also said the channel should avoid its “that lousy tendency to repeat old movies”, adding alternative sports like basketball and any other competitive sports be considered. He claimed he’d turn off his TV set if the e.tv was to rerun movies like Anaconda or any of Chuck Norris films.
The columnist asked whether SABC could not give us South Africans a “window into the rest of the continent” and not play what he called “cheap” American films because of reports that “Ethiopia has one of the most thriving film industries in Africa”. By so doing the public broadcaster would be laying a foundation for “an opportunity to build cultural bridges there”. The success of Nollywood surely must be a telling that South Africans have an appetite for African stories, he said. He suggested to SABC to be “creative with informative documentaries” especially during the first few weeks on January.
While I agree with Mabandu, I would, however, like to add that pay channel, DStv, has not actually been any different from both SABC and e.tv. Well, I know because I was at home during the December holidays, changing DStv channels like nobody’s business but without any joy at all. I became so worried with the many movies that were repeated on its different channels that I was forced to write a tweet letter addressed to the pay-channel.
Addressing this to DStv on Twitter, coincidentally the same day that Mabandu wrote his article to the two tv channels (SABC and e.tv), on 30 Dec – I said:
“Dear @DStv. I find it strange that while SABC channels have always been accused of repeating certain programmes, some having played more than 10 years ago – I, too, find it ridiculous that you’re no different from it despite you claiming the opposite. Just within 2 weeks I spend at home, I’ve seen more than 3 different movies repeated on your different channels. It now makes sense why I chose not to have a TV set at my place to watch SABC’s repeated programmes. Even better, I am glad I also don’t have a @DStv set at my place (as they’ve got it here at home) for your repeated programmes. Akanyang”.
The pay channel responded to my tweet on 31 Dec defending and justifying this rerun of movies on its different channels. Through its @DStvCare Twitter account, the pay channel said it “does not schedule programmes but buys ready-made local and international channels. Each channel schedules new and recurring programmes according to a programme or movie’s licence specifications. MultiChoice arranges the channels into DStv packages and broadcasts the channels”.
So, Mr. Mabandu et al, I suppose this is quite clear to see that SABC and e.tv are not alone in the rerunning of these boring movies and programmes but that DStv also does the same thing. And I don’t regret not having a tv set at my place.
Correction: I had earlier stated that @DStv had since erased its response to my tweet letter addressed to it on 30 Dec. That is incorrect, the response was NEVER erased and that error is regretted. It was in fact @DStvCare that had response to my concern at the time. The same response was also repeated today following publication of this article here which was also copied on Twitter using the @DStv on the headline.