All posts by Gary

Khanyi Mbau set for Comedy Central roast

South African actress Khanyi Mbau is set to become the first African woman ‘roasted’ on Comedy Central Africa and on streaming platform Showmax.

Khanyi Mbau

She will be subjected to thought-provoking jokes and comments by the Roastmaster, comedian Mpho Popps, and other African personalities.

“So this year, I am switching up the roast. I need a room the size of a football field, they can change under a tree, the carpet must have their names so I can step on them. You can’t master a queen so we do not have a master this year,” stated Mbau.

Popps said: “This is just one of those career milestones that I couldn’t have imagined happening. Khanyi Mbau is a legend and an entertainment icon. For me to be the chosen one to throw her on to the flames to be roasted is not only historical but legendary as well. As the Roastmaster I say, may the thickest skin win!”

Dillon Khan, VP of Comedy Central Africa, said: “Mpho Popps is no stranger to our channel. He was first introduced to our audiences on Comedy Central Live at Parkers and we, at Comedy Central Africa, have enjoyed collaborating with him on various other projects.

“He did the opening set for the Roast of Somizi and had a very amazing performance. So being the Roastmaster is a natural fit – a bit like the chemistry between him and Khanyi that is guaranteed to be electrifying.”

“We’re huge fans of Mpho Popps from Strictly Come Dancing and his work on classics on Showmax like Ayeye, Thina Sobalili and the Roast of Somizi, so we can’t wait to watch him dance circles around anyone who steps out of line,” added Candice Fangueiro, Showmax’s head of content.

The Comedy Central Roast of Khanyi Mbau will debut on Comedy Central (DStv 122) and Showmax on August 8 at 21.00.

The Comedy Central Roast is a South African version of the international format of one-off specials that originated on US cable network Comedy Central, in which a celeb is subjected to jokes at their expense.

Comedy Central Africa has so far roasted celebs including singer Steve Hofmeyr in 2012, businessman Kenny Kunene in 2014, actor Somizi Mhlongo in 2018 and rapper AKA in 2019.

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Uti Nwachukwu to host RHOL reunion

Uti Nwachukwu

Nigerian media personality Uti Nwachukwu will host a reunion show featuring the stars of reality series The Real Housewives of Lagos, to be carried by African streamer Showmax.

The reunion show will be made available on Showmax on July 1 and 8, shortly after the conclusion of the The Real Housewives’ first season.

The series follows the opulent lives of six of the most glamorous women in Lagos: Carolyna Hutchings, Laura Ikeji-Kanu, Chioma Ikokwu, Toyin Lawani-Adebayo, Iyabo Ojo and Mariam Timmer.

The reunion will see the women sit down with the Big Brother Africa 5 winner to discuss issues raised by the series and situations that happened off-camera.

Nwachukwu said: “The Real Housewives of Lagos has been a huge part of my Fridays since it premiered and I’m so excited to be able to sit down with the amazing cast to talk about the show.

“Being a lover of reality TV and also an ex-participant of a reality show myself, this feels like home and I will definitely be having a good time speaking to the ladies at this reunion.”

“The first season of The Real Housewives of Lagos has been really exciting. The decision to have Uti host the reunion was just perfect as he is a product and lover of reality TV and has the right energy to anchor the show,” said Candice Fangueiro, head of content at Showmax Africa.

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Story Lab backs LaVida Studios with $50m

Lagos-based production company LaVida Studios has received US$50m investment from Dentsu-owned US prodco The Story Lab.

Chioma Ude

The three-year partnership will see the production of a 10-project slate including scripted and unscripted film and TV projects that focus on bringing African stories to the global stage.

The funding is being accessed from PAC Capital’s PanAfrican CCI Fund 1, a US$100m fund dedicated to financing film production and distribution in Africa.

The partnership was initiated by Geneva Wasserman, executive VP and head of scripted content at The Story Lab and will see all Africa-based production serviced exclusively by LaVida Studios.

In addition, LaVida and Dentsu will collaborate with the African International Film Festival (AFRIFF) to create a joint initiative aimed at recruiting and supporting top African writing talent in creating original stories that appeal to a global audience.

Chioma Ude, founder of AFRIFF and managing partner in LaVida Studios, said: “We are thrilled to be working together with Dentsu and The Story Lab team in the US to bring authentic and compelling African stories to the world.”

“The combination of LaVida’s partnerships with top Nigerian creators and Dentsu’s global network and presence will serve as a bridge between these top content creators and the global market through this collaboration. We are honoured to bring these stories to the world,” added Wasserman.

Mike Ferry, head of The Story Lab US, said: “It is partnerships like this one which really help move the dial when it comes to discovering and elevating emerging talent. I’m so pleased we can be part of amplifying the diverse voices of Africa alongside our friends at LaVida and AFRIFF.”

LaVida Studios and Ude are represented by Creative Artists Agency and The Story Lab US is represented by United Talent Agency.

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African talent trio to voice Disney toon

L-R: Kehinde Bankole, Florence Kasumba and Nasty C

Nigerian actor Kehinde Bankole, Ugandan-born German actor Florence Kasumba and South African rapper Nasty C will lend their voices to Disney animated series Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire.

The 10-episode series is executive produced by Peter Ramsey and produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and South Africa-based Triggerfish Animation Studios.

Kizazi Moto is derived from the Swahili phrase ‘kizazi cha moto,’ which means ‘fire generation,’ capturing the passion, innovation and excitement of this new cohort of African filmmakers.

Bankole has starred in movies including Blood Sisters, the upcoming Sista, Dear Affy and Love Castle. Kasumba has starred in Marvel Studios films Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Endgame and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

The series will premiere in late 2022.

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Moses Babatope joins Int’l Emmys jury

Moses Babatope

Moses Babatope, co-founder and MD of Nigerian production and distribution company FilmOne Entertainment, has been selected as a juror for this year’s 50th International Emmy Awards.

The company said on Instagram: “We congratulate our managing director, Moses Babatope, on his selection to participate as a juror of the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences at the 50th International Emmy Awards competition. Way to go.”

The Emmys will be presented on November 21 in New York City to honour the best television programmes initially produced and aired outside the US.

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Isong’s Radio Sunrise adapted into film

Nigerian-British author Anietie Isong is about to have his novel Radio Sunrise adapted into a film.

Anietie Isong

Radio Sunrise is a satirical story centring on a Nigerian journalist living and working in Lagos at a government-owned radio station, Radio Sunrise.

The novel explores the many realities of being Nigerian and living in Nigeria, touching on themes such as corruption, militancy, bribery, oppression, bad governance, infidelity and a value system that worships money more than anything else.

It further paints a satirical portrait of post-colonial Nigeria that builds on the legacy of the great African satirist tradition of Ngugi Wa Thiong’o and Ayi Kwei Armah.

The film will be produced by Nigerian filmmaker Emem Isong and directed by Uduak Isong via Lagos-based Closer Pictures. It will star Pere Egbi, Akin Lewis, Maurice Sam, Bimbo Ademoye and Mr Macaroni.

“Happy to announce that we’ll be adapting Anietie Isong’s Radio Sunrise into film. A coproduction between Royal Arts Academy and Closer Pictures. The book is adapted for the screen by Yinka Ogun, Kehinde Joseph and Uduak,” announced Uduak Isong on Instagram.

The premiere date has yet to be announced.

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AAA gets $3.8m funding from Afreximbank

Representatives from AAA and Afreximbank meet to sign the development deal

African distribution company AAA Entertainment has received a US$3.8m film finance development facility from multilateral trade finance institution African Export–Import Bank (aka Afreximbank).

The facility will support the development and production of 11 greenlit film projects, in collaboration with production companies from Kenya, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and South Africa.

Afreximbank said the projects will employ the services of cast, crew and small to medium-sized enterprises of different African nationalities for all productions.

“We believe the facility will allow for more intra-African coproduction agreements, fostering a more integrated film value chain for the continent,” said the bank.

Johannesburg- and Lagos-based AAA Entertainment is one of the few all-round African sales and distribution companies. It both exports African content to the world market and distributes content within Africa to all linear and non-linear platforms and theatrical outlets.

The company is also one of the few Netflix content partners in Africa that works with several global aggregators and distributors for the biggest digital content platforms, like Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Hulu, Sony, X Box and Vudu.

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The Real Housewives arrive in Cape Town

The Real Housewives of Cape Town

NBCUniversal format The Real Housewives is set to launch its fourth local African adaptation, The Real Housewives of Cape Town, on the Mzansi Magic channel next month.

The news comes after the successful debuts of previous iterations The Real Housewives of Johannesburg, The Real Housewives of Durban and The Real Housewives of Lagos on the MultiChoice-owned network.

The Real Housewives of Cape Town, which will debut on July 10 at 19.00, features a group of powerful and affluent women who are beloved, enigmatic and often misunderstood.

They represent diverse social backgrounds and are an eccentric mix of new and old money, connected by one common thread: their desire to run the Mother City.

The shows features Beverley Steyn, a property owner and investor with a love of planes, yachts, fast cars and a luxury lifestyle; Rushda Moosajee, a qualified trainer and mother of three with a fitness empire and an impressive social media presence; Loveline Abinokhauno, a proud wife of 14 years, blogger, momfluencer and entrepreneur; and Thato Montse, a wine connoisseur.

Other participants are Camilla McDowell, also known as the Queen of Constantia; Kutazwa ‘Rooksy’ Gqirana, a proud Capetonian and self-described hustler; and Lulwando ‘Lue’ Tukwayo, a free-spirited property entrepreneur, digital creator, chartered accountant and mother of three.

Ana Langenberg, senior VP of format sales and production at NBCUniversal Formats, said: “We are elated to continue to build on the monumental success of The Real Housewives franchise in Africa with this latest instalment. The spirit of Cape Town and the unique energy this series will bring will deliver an addictive and unmissable experience and we can’t wait for audiences around the world to experience it.”

“We look forward to premiering this exciting new addition on Mzansi Magic, which will no doubt keep our audience hooked and will undoubtedly be of the premium quality our viewers have grown accustomed to,” added Shirley Adonisi, director of local entertainment channels at MultiChoice’s M-Net.

“This may be a global franchise, but our spin on it is very much South African. The story lines explored on the show and the cast’s lives are as authentic as they come. As a channel, keeping up with our viewers’ tastes and preferences is important, and this is evidence of that.”

Produced by Trace Studios, The Real Housewives of Cape Town marks the 17th international version of the franchise, the fourth to be adapted in Africa and the third South African instalment.

The Real Housewives format began life in the US on NBCUniversal-owned cable channel Bravo in 2006 as The Real Housewives of Orange County. The format is shopped internationally by NBCUniversal Formats, a division of Universal Studio Group.

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The Next Titan S9 seeks entrepreneurs

The ninth season of Nigerian entrepreneurial reality show The Next Titan has opened for registrations.

Producers are inviting applications from ambitious Nigerian entrepreneurs aged between 21 and 40 seeking to “demonstrate their entrepreneurial acumen with unbeatable business ideas, commercial insight and business savvy,” according to producers.

Click here to apply.

This year’s show is themed The Game Changer and will give an opportunity to young talented Nigerians who have great and innovative business ideas to compete in real-life entrepreneurial challenges. Up for grabs is a grand prize to start their new business or to support their existing one.

The 10-week series will have 16 finalists live together in the same house while facing 10 tough business tasks. They will be divided into teams and judged by members of the boardroom before being gradually eliminated until a winner emerges.

The Next Titan S9 is sponsored by cryptocurrency company Luno and is aimed at engineering entrepreneurship among Nigerian young people through identifying the best business minds and supporting their entrepreneurial acumen.

The Next Titan premiered in 2013 and is developed and produced by Lagos-based Bravopoints International. The company is also behind busines-themed TV series The Mavericks, The Proteges and Conversation with the Colossus.

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Young, Famous & African award nomination

Young, Famous & African

Netflix African reality television series Young, Famous & African, created by Nigerian TV producer Peace Hyde, has been nominated in the 11th edition of the UK’s National Reality TV Awards.

The series was nominated in the Best International Show category alongside other reality shows.

Young, Famous & African focuses on building careers, looking for love and rekindling old flames of famous media personalities from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Uganda and Tanzania. It features local stars including Khanyi Mbau, Annie Macaulay-Idibia, Zari Hassan, Diamond Platnumz and Andile Ncube.

“Incredible moment for our Young, Famous & African family! I can’t thank you enough for the mind-blowing support! The National Reality Television Awards is pleased to announce that Young, Famous & African is nominated for this year’s prestigious 11th annual National Reality TV Awards 2022 (UK). Thank you Netflix and the entire team in front of and behind the cameras that made our dream possible,” said Hyde on Instagram.

The awards will be presented on July 28 at the Porchester Hall in London.

The National Reality Television Academy was formed in June 2003 to provide support, guidance and representation to aspiring and established producers, talent, and independent production companies within the reality television industry in Europe, North America, South America and Africa.

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Red TV wins Online TV of the Year

Lagos-based lifestyle channel Red TV, launched as a streaming service in 2015 by United Bank for Africa, has won the Gage Awards for Online TV of the Year.

Red TV, which supports young movie makers and empowers creative talent, is behind drama series including Unintentional, Our Best Friend’s Wedding, Boutique Hotel, The Men’s Club and Public Figure.

“Congratulations to the winner of the Online TV of the Year category,” said the London-based events management company Gage on Instagram.

The Gage Awards celebrate the best and the most exceptional individuals and brands who have blazed a trail in the digital space.

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MTN, DStv in Brand Africa’s top 100 list

Thebe Ikalafeng

Telecoms company MTN Group and pay TV operator DStv have won places in marketing body Brand Africa’s list of the top 100 most admired brands on the continent.

The list for 2022, which looked at Nigeria, West Africa and Africa as a whole, was compiled by Johannesburg-based company Brand Africa and was revealed at a ceremony held in Lagos, Nigeria.

MTN ranked as the most admired African brand, while MultiChoice-owned DStv was named top media name, followed by the BBC and CNN in that category. Broadcaster Channels TV was the most admired Nigerian media brand.

Overall, taking into account both African and non-African brands, US footwear maker Nike took the top spot once again as most admired brand in Africa, as it did in 2021 and 2020. Overall, only 17 of the top 100 brands originated in Africa, including MTN (10th place), Globacom (32nd) and DStv (37th).

Thebe Ikalafeng, founder of Brand Africa, said: “No one can do Africa better than Africans.” But he acknowledged that Africans often undervalue the continent’s brands, which is why he launched Brand Africa in 2010, to drive collaboration promoting African places, products and people.

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Survivor South Africa returns for S9

Survivor South Africa

South African reality competition show Survivor South Africa, based on the international Survivor format owned by France-based Banijay, is returning to broadcaster M-Net for a ninth season.

The new season is titled Survivor South Africa: Return of the Outcasts and will see 20 players return from past seasons of the show.

Previous seasons featured group of strangers marooned in an isolated location and left to find food, water, fire and shelter.

The new show’s players are a mix of strategists, schemers, risk takers and record breakers who do anything to avoid having their torches snuffed out for a second time.

Creative producer Leroux Botha said: “This isn’t an ‘All Stars’ season – in fact, it’s a totally unique concept. All of the castaways returning to the game this season have demons to lay to rest, with the added challenge of everyone knowing exactly how everyone else played their game, before.”

Shireez Latief, MultiChoice-owned M-Net’s senior manager of marketing and PR, highlighted the network’s plan to air four episodes of the show per week.

“Having four hours a week to explore the full intricacy of the game is going to lay bare every machination. It’s also a great way for newcomers to the magic of Survivor South Africa to get to know these returning castaways and appreciate why they are such masters of the game,” she added.

Survivor South Africa: Return of the Outcasts debuts on M-Net on July 18.

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AMAA, StarTimes reveal short-film winners

The Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) and pay TV company StarTimes have unveiled the winners in The Shorts film festival, organised to motivate young and promising filmmakers on the continent.

Peace Anyiam-Osigwe

Enobong Nkanta from Nigeria emerged as winner for his short film titled Mama’s Song and was awarded US$3,000 and a laptop.

Frank Dzikonu from Ghana was first runner-up for his animated movie Sad Story of Kojo and received US$2,000 and a mobile phone.

Frank Abasiekong from Nigeria became second runner-up for his short film Room 10 and took home US$1,000.

Edmond Tawale from Uganda was named winner in the best documentary category for his movie Ateker and also received US$1,000.

Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, founder of AMAA, said: “I’m delighted with this initiative to reward our young filmmaker and happy with the synergy StarTimes is having with the movie industry. Filmmakers need to understand the process of filmmaking. We approached StarTimes for partnership and StarTimes is willing to help us nurture these resourceful people.

“Over 500 entries were submitted while about 220 short films were selected for the screening. This shows the number of young people making their mark across Africa. We have to clear the stage for young and upcoming filmmakers. If we catch them young and structure them properly, it will help the growth of having better films being made along the way.

“The shortlisted films are still airing on ST Nollywood Plus on StarTimes and StarTimesON mobile app. If you have the opportunity, please watch them, so you will know what the young people are doing. There are a lot of topics that resonate with our daily lives. There are also little animations embedded too. So I was quite impressed with what I saw.”

Alex Jian, CEO of StarTimes, said the company’s goal was to provide a bigger platform for talented young people to succeed.

“StarTimes has been deeply engaged with Nollywood since last year, starting with the production of Ile Alayo season one, a great work directed by our friend and ambassador Femi Adebayo. During the process, we noticed the great potential of the whole industry, and we are surprised by many young content creators. They are passionate, hardworking and full of inspiration,” Jian said.

“As a pay TV platform rooted in Africa, StarTimes aims at providing the best content to its audience. And we are very willing to support content creators in all kinds of ways because when they grow, the industry grows. If they succeed, we succeed.

“AMAA is devoted to encouraging movie industry development, and now we are joining hands to support new faces. We are honored to work with AMAA on this beautiful cause, while we keep bringing fresh new content to the StarTimes audience.”

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Lupin’s Omar Sy signs HBO Max deal

French-Senegalese actor and Lupin star Omar Sy has entered into a television deal with US subscription video-on-demand service HBO Max.

Omar Sy

Sy will develop international series with the service, which is part of the newly merged Warner Bros Discovery group.

Announcing the news on Instagram, Sy said: “I am very happy to be partnering with HBO Max who share my dreams of developing globally appealing TV content for audiences around the world, including French-speaking Africa, France and the United States.”

Sy recently signed a multi-year deal with Netflix to develop original feature films. He is also set to co-star in Lionsgate action-thriller Shadow Force and has starred in comedy-drama film The Intouchables, as well as Inferno, Transformers: The Last Knight and The Takedown.

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Accelerate TV welcomes Just Friends

Just Friends

African digital lifestyle and entertainment platform Accelerate TV has launched a romantic comedy series called Just Friends.

The show tells the story of two lovebirds in Lagos, Nigeria. It was created by Victor Aghahowa, produced by Nne Nlemadim with associate producer Betty Nicholas. It stars Chy Nwakanma, Charles Etubiebi, Martha Ehinome, Toluwa Wumi and Lucy Ameh.

“Just Friends is a romance-comedy sitcom for everyone who likes a good laugh. One week from now, Accelerate Plus will premiere the first episode of Just Friends,” said the platform on Instagram.

Just Friends is exclusive to the recently launched Accelerate Plus app and debuted on the streaming platform this week.

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Canal Panda brings MeteoHeroes to Africa

MeteoHeroes

Iberian broadcaster Canal Panda has picked up Mondo TV children’s series MeteoHeroes for its OTT streaming platform and pay TV channel in Lusophone Africa and Portugal.

Coproduced by Mondo TV and Meteo Expert, MeteoHeroes is an environment-focused show centred on a group of six pint-sized superheroes. Season one (52×7’) of the series premiered in Chile and Mexico in March on Televisión Nacional de Chile and Canal Once respectively. It also recently debuted on public broadcaster Ser TV in Panama and on TVJ in Jamaica.

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MTN appoints Chamayou as group executive

South Africa-based telecoms company MTN Group has appointed Tumi Chamayou as group executive for its Enterprise Business Unit.

Tumi Chamayou

Chamayou joined the unit in 2018 as general manager for large enterprise sales and has been acting executive for that function since July 2020.

She has extensive experience in technology, telecommunications and management consulting and before joining MTN held various senior leadership roles at Ericsson, Egon Zehnder, Accenture and Decipher.

Jens Schulte-Bockum, MTN Group CEO, said: “Tumi has the expertise and track record to assist in bolstering the leadership capability of MTN Group. Critical to the realisation of our strategic imperatives is an integrated, synergistic and collaborative leadership team whose core values and mindset are aligned with the company’s strategy. We look forward to working with Tumi in her new role.”

Takalani Sesame kicks off new season

Takalani Sesame

Takalani Sesame, the South African version of classic children’s TV show Sesame Street, began its 13th season on SABC2 this week.

The 130-episode series is packed with fun and learning and follows the adventures of Elmo and Zuzu, two best friends exploring their world.

Each episode meets Takalani Sesame’s old friends and some new ones, including South African musician Sho Madjozi. The show engages children and their parents and promotes basic school readiness, literacy, numeracy, health and hygiene.

“Guess who’s going to be on Takalani Sesame season 13! ME with a big, big announcement for the little ones, so stay tuned to Takalani Sesame on SABC2 15.30 from June 6,” said Madjozi on Instagram.

The new season of Takalani Sesame airs weekdays at 15.30. It is coproduced by US-based Sesame Workshop and South African partners SABC Education and South African financial services group Sanlam.

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Zee World launches dance reality series

Hosts, judges and execs for Dance Naija Dance

English-language Bollywood TV broadcaster Zee World is set to debut new dance reality show Dance Naija Dance.

The show has begun production and will feature the top 16 finalists selected from more than 350 entries across Nigeria who will compete for a chance to win cash and non-cash prizes worth over N5m.

The first winning group will receive prizes worth N2.5m, the second group will taken home prizes worth N1.5m and the remaining N1m will be awarded to the best individual dancer.

The hosts will be Hero Daniels and Pelumi Buari and the judges will be Kunle Remi and Uraysha Ramrachia.

Somnath Malakar, CEO for sub-Saharan Africa and Indian Ocean islands at ZEE Africa, said: “Knowing full well how Zee World is important to the family entertainment needs in Nigeria, we have taken steps to ensure that we would always deliver. There is a deep love for Zee World among Nigerians and Zee World has become part of lifestyles. Introducing this show is one of our ways to thank Nigerians for all the love they have shown to us over the years. Nigerians are notable for their incredible dancing talents.

“We know that the economy is harsh and everyone is feeling it. Entertainment is one of the ways to lessen worries, provide an escape and make people happy. Zee World being an enabler of family happiness saw it fit to create something unique and electrifying.”

Remi said: “I am proud to be part of this show to mentor young talents, helping them tell stories with their bodies and ensuring that whatever is finally presented on stage is of high quality. These two cultures are known for using dance for storytelling. The highlight for me will be to see how the contestants will use their dance steps to tell entertaining stories that tickle both the judges and viewers at home.”

Dance Naija Dance will premiere in August in 52 countries in Africa and the Indian Ocean islands. It will air on Zee World on DStv channel 166 and Gotv channel 125.

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