After meeting with the vhaVenda king Toni Mphephu Ramabulana at the royal palace last month, SABC boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng has ordered the SABC’s Venda soap Muvhango, filmed on sets in Johannesburg, to move its production to Thohoyandou in Limpopo.
According to News 24, the decision is part of his macro edict of 90% local content on the SABC’s radio stations and TV channels under which new local SABC TV content will have to be produced in various different provinces by new and emerging TV producers.
Muvhango boss Duma Ndlovu was ordered to move his production to Limpopo, although it is not clear when they will start shooting from Limpopo. The move from Auckland Park will affect the cast and crew as well as their extended families who are living in Gauteng.
There is also no certainty of where the production will shoot as there are no film and TV studios in Thohoyandou equipped to produce the soap, nor the underlying film industry services needed to support a TV production like this, for instance equipment rental.
Muvhango is the most watched programme and most watched soap on SABC2 with 5.8 million viewers per episode.
SABC’s existing contract with production company Word of Mouth ends in August but is expected to renew for another three years.
Even though the move means increasing costs for the production and the SABC, Motsoeneng deems it necessary.
“We have buildings there. We need to build studios so that when production houses come and you produce content, you don’t go to Auckland Park, you are able to shoot here in Thohoyandou,” said Motsoeneng.
He is also having PhalaPhala FM move toThohoyandou. It will broadcast from there from 1 September, at a larger building that was previously used by Radio Thohoyandou. The SABC said it will be upgrading the building as well as the radio studios.