All posts by Gary

Namaste Wahala set for Netflix debut

Namaste Wahala was both produced and directed by Hamisha Daryani Ahuja

Indian-Nigerian movie Namaste Wahala, which should have launched in cinemas last April but was delayed due to the pandemic, will now be released on Valentine’s Day on streaming service Netflix.

The romantic comedy is produced by Indian-born businesswoman-turned-filmmaker Hamisha Daryani Ahuja and revolves around a cross-cultural love story between an Indian and a Nigerian.

Shot entirely in Lagos, Nigeria, the classic love story features a Nigerian woman, played by Ini Dima Okojie, and her Indian love interest, portrayed by Ruslaan Mumtaz. They fall in love despite the differences in their cultural backgrounds.

Ahuja, producer and director of the movie, took to Instagram to reveal the news. “I am very excited about my movie Namaste Wahala going to the whole world through Netflix,” she posted.

“The movie showcases the beauty of Nigeria and the wealth of talent in Nollywood. The cast and crew were absolutely fantastic to work with. The Indian and Nigerian cultures seem very different but are essentially the same. They both value family, tradition and respect. Both cultures also have beautiful colours, fashion, music and food.

“It was amazing to see how beautifully the two cultures, which I hold very close to my heart, came together in this fusion movie. I can’t wait for all of you to watch it.”

It features actors from both countries, including veteran Nollywood star Joke Silva plus Richard Mofe Damijo, Ini-Dima Okojie, Ruslaan Mumtaz, MI Abaga, Broda Shaggi, Segal Sujata, Adaora Lumina, Ibrahim Suleiman and Big Brother Naija’s Frodd.

Namaste Wahala is the maiden production of Nigeria-based production company Forever 7 Entertainment, founded by Ahuja.

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DStv to offer taste of Honey

MultiChoice-owned pay TV operator DStv will carry a pan-African lifestyle channel named Honey from February 12.

John Ugbe

The launch of the new TV channel is part of MultiChoice’s efforts to offer content that celebrates and explores African lives by focusing on lifestyle, fashion, food, weddings, dating and reality.

The channel will be broadcast in all key African markets including Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Namibia, Botswana, Malawi, Zambia, Angola, Mozambique, Tanzania, DRC, Cameroon and South Africa.

The channel is operated by South African print media company Media24’s television unit, which is also responsible for Afrikaans lifestyle channel VIA. Like MultiChoice, Media24 is backed by South African internet group Naspers. Honey will air on DStv channel 173.

MultiChoice Nigeria’s CEO John Ugbe said: “DStv is thrilled to launch Honey. The channel is part of our commitment to keep bringing fresh, authentic, and local content to our Nigerian subscribers. For many years, we’ve seen lifestyle is a popular genre in the country; and now our subscribers will see their own talent, food, celebrations and their families as the well-deserved hero.”

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DJ Khaled to host MTV awards

Grammy-winning DJ and record executive DJ Khaled is set to be the international host of the 14th edition of the MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMAs) taking place in Kampala.

DJ Khaled

The virtual awards ceremony will showcase African culture, music and creativity and is due to air globally for the first time in 180 countries on February 20 at 2.00 CAT/18.00 GMT/13.00 EST.

The event will celebrate African talent across 20 award categories, including Best Male, Best Female, Best Song and Best Collaboration.

The contribution of artists from Portuguese- and French-speaking Africa will also be recognised in the Best Lusophone and Best Francophone categories. Additional new categories included are the MAMA Generation Change Award, Best Fan Base, Alone Together Best Lockdown Performance and Personality of the Year.

Khaled, who has long been a major force in the music industry, said: “MTV has always been a great partner so I jumped at the opportunity to host this year’s MAMAs. I can’t wait to celebrate the incredible music that comes out of Africa, which has inspired me throughout my career.”

Bruce Gillmer, president of music, music talent, programming and events for ViacomCBS Media Networks, stated: “Africa is home to some of the world’s most dynamic talent and we’re excited to spotlight these artists as the MAMAs broadcast in 180 countries for the first time in MTV history. With Grammy-winning powerhouse DJ Khaled at the helm, we’re certain this will be an incredible, must-see global event.”

Monde Twala, senior VP and general manager at ViacomCBS Networks Africa, added: “We are thrilled to have DJ Khaled as our international host for MAMA Kampala 2021. With his global success achievement and over 22 million followers on social media, he will inspire youth across the continent and attract an even bigger international audience to the virtual event.”

The awards ceremony will be broadcast on MTV Base (DStv Channel 322) and MTV Africa (DStv Channel 130).

The MAMA was established in 2008 by MTV Networks Africa (now Viacom International Media Networks Africa) to celebrate the most popular contemporary music in Africa.

It has since recognised the talent of musicians and personalities from across Africa, including 2Face Idibia, AKA, Anselmo Ralph, Big Nuz, Cassper Nyovest, Clarence Peters, Cabo Snoop, Davido, D’Banj, Diamond Platnumz, Flavour, Lira, Lupita Nyong’o, Mafikizolo Nameless, P-Square, Sarkodie, Tiwa Savage, Toofan, Trevor Noah, Uhuru, Wahu, Wizkid, Yemi Alade and others.

To vote in any of the categories, click here. Voting closes on January 31.

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Soap Tinsel hits 3,000 episodes

The cast of Tinsel

Nigerian drama series Tinsel, which began airing in August 2008, reached its 3,000th episode on January 21 on AM Showcase (DStv channel 151).

The show, which has provided both a launchpad for many of Africa’s best-known faces on television and a rebirth for some veterans, will feature a guest appearance by prominent Nigerian comedian Ayo Makun.

It has also reimagined African soap opera, drawing audiences in with its intriguing storyline, which speaks to love, influence and scandal set against the backdrop of the Nigerian film industry.

M-Net West Africa channel director Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu said: “Our local content story cannot be complete without a mention of our flagship soap opera, Tinsel.

“We are indeed happy to hit the 3,000th episode mark of this stellar series. At MultiChoice, we remain committed to growing and promoting local content and talent as we continue to expand the boundaries of African film and television production.

“Tinsel owes its longevity to its amazing cast, stellar directing, multifaceted storyline and high production values.”

Over the years, Tinsel has featured actors including Gideon Okeke, Gbenro Ajibade, Damilola Adegbite, Chris Attoh, Linda Ejiofor-Suleiman, Iretiola Doyle, Victor Olaotan, Funlola Aofiyebi-Raimi and Yul Edochie.

The drama series won an Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Award for the best M-Net original drama series in 2017.

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TV show Adam & Eve seeks contestants

Adam & Eve

Nigerian reality show Adam & Eve, in which 24 male and female contestants embark on a 100-day adventure, is holding contestant auditions.

The entrants will be selected from across Africa and referred to as ‘tribe members’ who will live as one big family in the jungle. “They will embark on missions in order to discover the hidden treasures in the jungle and restore the rich cultural heritage of the black man,” according to producers.

The winner will receive a grand prize of N30,000,000 (US$76,000) plus a brand new SUV car.

The reality show is being produced by Adam & Eve Tourism Company, based in Lagos, Nigeria. It is designed to serve as an entertainment platform that will promote gender equality, instill a spirit of patriotism and boldness in Africans and to communicate the rich cultural heritage of Africa to a global audience.

Auditions for the 13-week show will take place in Nigeria, Zambia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Uganda. The show will air on DStv Urban, GoTV Urban, TVC, Wazobia TV, Silver Bird TV and AIT in Nigeria as well as on partner television stations in other countries.

Entry is open to those aged between 18 and 36 who have attained a minimum secondary/high school qualification. Registration costs N2,000 or its equivalent in the other participating countries. To register, click here.

Audition take place between February 7 and 21, while the show will air from March.

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StarTimes, CAF in Total CHAN deal

Digital television operator StarTimes has signed a deal with the Confederation of African Football (CAF)  to broadcast the ongoing Total African Nations Championship (CHAN) from this week until February 7.

Constant Omari

The deal gives StarTimes the right to broadcast all 32 matches of the competition in sub-Saharan Africa with the operating licence issued by CAF.

The collaboration between CAF and StarTimes is the first of its kind between the two, with the ambition of offering African football fans wider access to one of CAF’s most important competitions.

CAF interim president Constant Omari said: “We are delighted with this alliance with StarTimes, an internationally recognised group in the field of football broadcasting, which enhances one of our most beautiful events and brings together more and more of the public. Through this new partnership with a key player, we are expanding the audience of Total CHAN to make it an essential destination for football fans in Africa.”

Lily Meng, general manager of StarTimes media division, added: “StarTimes is committed to promoting African football. This partnership with CAF marks a milestone for us. Working together with CAF to broadcast Total CHAN, StarTimes is now able to bring football fans throughout the continent closer to their favourite teams and players.”

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Indian-Nigerian movie set for release

Namaste Wahala was both produced and directed by Hamisha Daryani Ahuja

Indian-Nigerian movie Namaste Wahala, which should have launched in cinemas last April but was delayed due to the pandemic, will now be released this April.

Details of the streaming platforms that will carry the movie have yet to be announced.

The romantic comedy is produced by Indian-born businesswoman-turned-filmmaker Hamisha Daryani Ahuja and revolves around a cross-cultural love story between an Indian and a Nigerian.

Ahuja, producer and director of the movie, took to Instagram to drop the big news. “A lot of you have been asking where Namaste Wahala, a Bollywood/Nollywood love story, is. A movie produced and directed by yours truly,” she wrote.

“The experience has been magical and I am happy to say that this baby is getting a chance to see the world, or more accurately be seen by the world. Can’t wait to share this magic with you.”

Namaste Wahala features actors from both countries, including veteran Nollywood star Joke Silva plus Richard Mofe Damijo, Ini-Dima Okojie, Ruslaan Mumtaz, MI Abaga, Broda Shaggi, Segal Sujata, Adaora Lumina, Ibrahim Suleiman and Big Brother Naija’s Frodd.

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Showmax, Canal+ coproduce crime drama

Alfred Munyua and Sarah Hassan

MultiChoice VoD service Showmax and France-based pay TV operator Canal+ have begun production on a gritty police procedural and legal show titled Crime & Justice.

The show is being directed and produced by Adam Neutzsky-Wulff (All The Little Things We Kill) and is set in Nairobi. It follows criminal cases through to the courtroom verdict and stars Sarah Hassan (How to Find a Husband) and Alfred Munyua (The First Grader, Sense8) playing detectives.

The show marks Showmax’s first original Kenyan series.

Munyua said the delivery and realness of his character attracted him to the show. “It’s not exaggerated and he’s no Rambo hero, he just tackles his cases the normal way. I found a very real edge with this script,” he added.

Hassan will play a detective for the first time and said: “This is a very different character; I’ve never played anything like it before. It’s very exciting to get a character that makes me grow as an actor.”

Other stars include Maqbul Mohammed, Paul Ogola and Brian Ogola. Muhugu Theuri, Brian Abajah, Martin Githinji and Justin Mirichii will guest star.

The production team consists of Neutzsky-Wulff and a Kenyan crew, including coproducer Maureen Wanjiku (Subira, East Africa’s Got Talent) as well as stage and screen icon John Sibi-Okumu.

Yolisa Phahle, CEO of general entertainment and connected video at MultiChoice, said: “We believe in African talent and look forward to shining the international spotlight on not only Kenyan stars but the Kenyan technical industry’s capabilities. We believe that streaming video is a powerful way to deliver these shared stories. This is one of many more Showmax originals we have in the pipeline across Africa.

“We are fundamentally an African business and are invested in telling African stories that reflect the lives, languages and cultures of the continent.”

Canal+ will distribute Crime & Justice to its French-speaking territories and is also committed to entertainment in Africa.

Fabrice Faux, chief content officer of Canal+ International, said: “As part of our strategy of providing our subscribers with the best original content from the continent, we are proud to partner with Showmax.”

Crime & Justice is set to come to Showmax and Canal+ in 2021 and is MultiChoice’s second copro with the French company after Blood Psalms, due to air this year.

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Africa on course for 51m TV subscribers

Pay TV subscriptions in Africa will rise to 51 million in the next five years, according to a report by UK-based analysis firm Digital TV Research.

The report, titled Africa Pay TV Forecasts, predicts that nearly 17 million pay TV subscribers will be added in Africa between 2020 and 2026.

Of the total, Nigeria will account for close to 11 million, with South Africa bringing in nine million.

South Africa-based MultiChoice, which operates sub-Saharan African satellite TV service DStv and smaller pay TV service GOtv, had 15.5 million subscribers across both platforms at the end of 2020.

Simon Murray, Digital TV Research’s principal analyst, expects this figure to rise to 19.7 million by 2026 “with a marked slowdown of satellite TV growth.”

China-based StarTimes and StarSat will experience the most impressive growth, with combined subscriptions in Africa increasing from 10.1 million at the year end to 16.9 million by 2026.

France’s Vivendi, which had 5.4 million subscribers to its Canal + satellite TV platform and EasyTV in Africa by the year end, will see this figure rise to 7.9 million by 2026.

Meanwhile, other pay TV providers in Africa combined will go from three million subscribers at the end of 2020 to 6.3 million by 2026.

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AMC debuts on UK’s Freeview

Africa- and UK-based broadcaster African Movie Channel (AMC) has debuted its flagship channel on the UK’s Freeview television platform.

This launch is via OTT tech company Channelbox on Freeview channel 271 and makes AMC the first Nollywood channel ever to be distributed on the UK’s Freeview platform, according to AMC.

AMC showcases Nollywood movies, along with films from elsewhere in Africa. They include AMC’s own movies from its own production division, AMC Original Productions (AMCOP), and cinema blockbusters for the family.

AMC and sister channel AMC Series are distributed all over sub-Saharan Africa on platforms including StarTimes, StarSat, TopStar, Azam TV, Zuku and Airtel TV. They offer a selection of Africa’s most successful and critically acclaimed movies, TV series, reality productions, talkshows, magazine shows and other shortform content.

Yinka Mayungbo, AMC’s founding director, said: “We launched the first ever Nollywood channel in Europe in 2006. 14 years later, we are back – in time for Lockdown 3! Here’s wishing our audience in Blighty good cheer and a brilliant time watching their favourite Nollywood stars on AMC.”

Tanya Kronfli, business development director at Channelbox, added: “Channelbox has established itself as a unique and innovative OTT platform delivering TV channels from all over the world to UK TV screens using OTT technology. We are beyond excited to be the first TV platform in the UK to host African Movie Channel and deliver premium Nollywood content to UK audiences.”

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M-Net, MultiChoice add to Real Housewives

Real Housewives of Durban

Pay TV operator MultiChoice and its flagship channel M-Net have collaborated to create a new version of US reality franchise Real Housewives set in Durban.

The Real Housewives of Durban, based on the NBCUniversal format which originally airing on US cable channel Bravo, is set to debut on 1Magic DStv channel 103 on January 29.

The 14-episode series is produced by Let It Rain Films and will show viewers a glimpse into the glamorous lives of some of Durban’s wealthy ladies who engage in lavish consumption, extravagant lifestyles and dramatic relationships.

Nomsa Philiso, director of local entertainment channels at M-Net, said: “Reality TV has become our most followed genre, not only because it gives viewers authenticity and entertainment, but resonates with their lived experiences as it gives them a glance into a world in which they aspire to live one day.”

The Real Housewives of Durban is coming on the heels of The Real Housewives of Johannesburg, which ran on MultiChoice channels for two seasons from August 2018.

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ASVG takes on Africa Empire Warrior

US-based Africa Sports Ventures Group (ASVG) has announced a new TV sports entertainment show called Africa Empire Warrior and will begin auditioning contestants in March.

Tiah Knox

The 12-stage competition is a test of strength, agility, power, endurance and fitness and sees four contestants from each of the 54 African countries compete over a series of obstacles.

Each stage will represent 12 ancient African empires, such as the Benin, Ghanaian, Malian, Songhai and Carthaginian empires, and will determine what it took for an individual to qualify to be a warrior in those times.

Fitness instructors, athletes or anyone into sports who has what it takes to become the Ultimate Africa Empire Warrior in any of Africa’s ancient empires can click here for details on how to enter.

Tiah Knox, ASVG’s head of production, based in New Jersey, said: “This is a show that will showcase the past glory of Africa and help people develop a new perspective of Africa and its rich history.”

The first season will be shot on location in Liberia while the series will be shown through local broadcast partners as well as streaming platforms, which are yet to be disclosed.

The show is in partnership with the ministry of culture of Liberia, Canadian digital music company Hitlab, which will supply the soundtrack of the show, and Slovenia-based Sky Scout, which will provide its AI-operated cameras for the production.

The launch date of the show has yet to be announced.

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Wasifi banned for breaking broadcast rules

Tanzanian TV station Wasafi TV has been handed a six-month ban by the Tanzanian Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) for violating the country’s broadcasting regulations .

TCRA interim director Johannes Kalunge said the privately owned station contravened broadcast rules by showing live singer and socialite Gigy Money dancing almost nude on January 1 during the Tumewasha festival.

This comes after the station, run by pop singer Nasseb Abdul Juma (alias Diamond Platnumz), was given a seven-day ban three months ago for airing offensive language.

The station has therefore been ordered to go off-air and also issue a public apology while the TCRA has said failure to do so will lead to further legal action. The TCRA also fined Gigy US$22 for removing her gown while on stage.

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Cynthia Erivo tells Yoruba princess’s story

Award-winning Nigerian-British actor Cynthia Erivo is producing and starring in a film based on the life of Sarah Forbes Bonetta, a 19th-century Yoruba princess orphaned and enslaved by a West African king.

Cynthia Erivo

Omoba Aina, the Egbado princess of the Yoruba land, was later gifted to Queen Victoria in 1850, taken to England and renamed Sarah Forbes Bonetta. The Queen’s patronship put Forbes Bonetta at the centre of the British aristocracy but did not shield her from public scrutiny and personal suffering.

The film is coproduced with Solome Williams, alongside Leah Clarke, Adam Ackland and Rienkje Attoh from So & So Productions, and executive produced by Hollywood star Benedict Cumberbatch. Development is being financed by BBC Film.

According to Erivo and the filmmakers, it is a celebration of Forbes Bonetta as a strategic, determined heroine who forged a path for herself that honoured both her heritage and her upbringing.

“I am excited to embark on this journey. It has taken a long time to get to a point where we can even begin to realise this dream,” said Erivo, winner of Emmy, Tony and Grammy awards as well as a double Oscar nominee.

“As a Nigerian-British woman, to get the opportunity to tell the story of another Nigerian-British woman who until now has been erased from the history books is an honour,” she added.

“Miss Sarah Forbes Bonetta, Omoba Aina, is truly a passion of mine and I’m so pleased to have been able to find partners in the incredible women Leah Clarke and Rienkje Attoh to tell the story and finally give her a voice. I cannot wait to dive into her story. She is indeed the forgotten princess, forgotten no more.”

Erivo currently stars in HBO series The Outsider and will play US singer Aretha Franklin in National Geographic’s upcoming drama Genius: Aretha. She will also star in Universal’s musical movie Talent Show.

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Ndani TV to debut web series Game On

Game On

African online media platform Ndani TV will debut a new web series titled Game On this month, as part of its mission to carry more original African entertainment.

The series is directed by Nollywood film producer and actress Abimbola Craig and written by Jaiye Gesinde and Lani Aisida. The cast includes Omowumi Dada, Ebenezer Eno, Taye Arimoro, Eso Dike, Ian Wordi and Eve Bankong.

The show follows a woman who realises that her live-in boyfriend of three years is not motivated to propose anytime soon. With the help of her best friend, she breaks up with him and carries out a series of moves to get her ex-boyfriend to change his mind.

The show’s launch date has yet to be announced. Ndani TV launched in 2012, sponsored by Nigeria’s Guaranty Trust Bank (GT Bank).

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Basketmouth preps comedy Papa Benji

Papa Benji

Popular Nigerian comedian Basketmouth, also known as Bright Okpocha, has released a teaser for his latest comedy, Papa Benji.

Directed by music video director Adasa Cookey, Papa Benji is a web series that follows an industrious Igbo man who owns a pepper soup joint. The show revolves around him and the many other interesting characters that visit.

It is based on Okpocha’s life experiences and encounters, as well as the real-life Papa Benji pepper soup joint in Kirikiri, where the comedian used to live.

Set to debut on December 12 on YouTube, the teaser is from the first episode entitled The Cork and features Nollywood personalities including Basketmouth, Sound Sultan, Real Warri Pikin, Bethel Njoku, Onyebuchi Ojieh and Nedu Wazobia.

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Nancy Isime Show set for season two

The Nancy Isime Show, the talkshow owned and hosted by award-winning Nigerian TV personality and actress Nancy Isime, is gearing up to return to screens next year.

Nancy Isime

The show premiered in November 2019 and rounded off its first season in January 2020. There was intended to be a new season earlier this year but it had to be put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The fun, educative and revealing show features segments including celebrity interviews, games and vox pops and has starred guests such as Funny Bone, Victor AD, Toyin Lawani, Skales and Lilian Esoro in its first season.

Sharing the news on Instagram, Isime said: “On behalf of the whole team at The Nancy Isime Show, I’d like to inform you that TNIS will be back on your screens in 2021! I know, I know, the plan really was definitely 2020 but then a pandemic came to teach us that there’s only so much we can control. Sometimes, just surrender.

“But trust me, it is soooo worth the wait! It’s delicious! I can’t wait to return to entertaining you. God willing, with all things being equal, this will be the longest break we’ll ever take off your screens.”

Season one aired on Africa Magic Urban, AIT and HipTV. The launch date for S2 has yet to be announced.

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Wakaati TV launches on StarTimes

A new digital television station called Wakaati TV has debuted on pan-African pay TV operator StarTimes.

Olurotimi Akingbogun, MD of the channel’s parent company Wakaati Network, said the move is a bid to reposition video entertainment, online streaming and TV production in Nigeria.

During the launch ceremony for the channel in Lagos, Akingbogun said Wakaati TV will showcase Nollywood blockbuster movies across its platforms.

“I have, over the years, monitored the entertainment industry and e-commerce in Nigeria and I have noticed some relapses. And the best way to correct these shortcomings, to me, is just to establish a firm in that direction. Wakaati TV will leverage on the relapses to forge ahead and make unimaginable impacts in the system. We are going to effect positive changes that will soothe people’s minds and reposition the industry in the right perspective,” said Akingbogun.

“We have good content that we will be showcasing on our digital station. I mean unique and remarkable content that will differentiate us totally from the rest,” Akingbogun said.

Wakaati’s public relations head Henry Awachuo said that audiences were often dismayed at the high number of repeats of movies on the cable stations.

“The company is working at developing cutting-edge television programmes, with imaginative and creative ingenuity and innovation, bearing in mind customers’ satisfaction as a measurement of our performance,” Awachuo added.

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Netflix cancels Queen Sono due to Covid

African original Queen Sono was cancelled due to Covid-19

Global streaming platform Netflix has cancelled African original series Queen Sono, reversing its initial decision to renew the show due to “trying times” under Covid-19.

The six-episode first season of the South African crime drama series was filmed across multiple countries including South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Tanzania and was released on February 28 this year.

The show was created by director and screenwriter Kagiso Lediga and produced by Diprente Films. It followed the story of intelligence agency field operative Queen Sono (played by Quantico star Pearl Thusi) who sets out to uncover the mystery behind her mother’s death.

In April, the show – Netflix’s first African series – was renewed for a second season but the streamer has now reversed that decision.

Lediga explained: “We wrote a beautiful story that spanned the continent but unfortunately could not be executed in these current trying times.”

In a statement, Netflix said: “We’ve made the difficult decision not to move forward with season 2 of Queen Sono. We are incredibly proud of the Diprente team for sharing their audacious vision and bringing it to life with Netflix.

“A huge thank-you to our fans across the world for the love shared for our first African original series. Netflix is also grateful to the amazing efforts shown by the cast and crew for their stellar efforts in creating this show for our members around the world.”

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M-Net, Fremantle shoot SA drama Reyka

Crime drama Reyka si being filmed in South Africa

Pay TV channel M-Net and global producer and distributor Fremantle have begun production on eight-part contemporary crime drama Reyka, which will debut on M-Net (DStv channel 101) in July 2021.

The international coproduction is being filmed in South Africa and will be distributed globally by Fremantle.

Reyka is the story of a flawed but brilliant criminal profiler, played by Kim Engelbrecht (The Flash), who is haunted by an incident from her past when she was abducted by a farmer, played by Iain Glen. She investigates a string of brutal murders committed by a serial killer in the sugar cane fields of KwaZulu-Natal.

The show continues M-Net’s moves into international coproduction, after its 2019 drama Trackers, coproduced with HBO’s sister channel Cinemax and German public broadcaster ZDF.

Nkateko Mabaso, CEO of M-Net, said: “MultiChoice continues to lead the continuous productions of high-quality African television content that goes beyond our borders.

“This partnership with Fremantle is a brilliant way to showcase our prowess as DStv is Africa’s most-loved storyteller, and we particularly relish pairing our local talent with international stars.”

Julie Hodge, editorial director of global drama at Fremantle, added: “As production commences on our first ever South African drama, this is a proud moment for Fremantle and M-Net. The series has been in development for many years and we hope it will be the first of many successful projects in the region.

“Reyka is a rich and compelling story and we couldn’t be happier to have Kim and Iain onboard to bring these complex characters to life. We are confident it will be one of our stand-out international dramas for 2021.”

The series also stars Anna-Mart van der Merwe, Hamilton Dhlamini, Kenneth Nkosi, Nokuthula Ledwaba, Desmond Dube, Gerald Stein, Ian Roberts, Fiona Ramsey, David Butler and Jessica Hayes.

Reyka was created and written by award-winning screenwriter Rohan Dickson (Husk, Welcome to Hawaii), who has worked with South Africa’s major broadcasters and been a showrunner on highly successful dramas including Scandal, Zone 14, Jacob’s Cross, and High Rollers.

He was also the executive producer and showrunner on Isidingo, a long-running multi-award-winning drama series with a huge fan base across Africa.

The series is directed by Zee Ntuli (Hard to Get) and Catharine Cooke (The Girl from St Agnes). It is jointly produced by Serena Cullen for Serena Cullen Productions (Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Cold Feet) in the UK and Harriet Gavshon for Emmy-nominated Quizzical Pictures in South Africa.

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