Zulu TV to be unveiled at end of September
Rebecca Hawkes | 27-09-2013
Director and musician Mbongeni Ngema is to launch Zulu TV, a new satellite channel for sub-Saharan Africa, at an event in Durban on 30 September.
"Due to the reach of the channel, we will be broadcasting predominantly in English, but will carry a healthy contingent of Zulu programmes as well," says Ngema, whose company Committed Artists Records and Films is behind the project.
"We plan to devote much of our broadcast material to local content, with a strong focus on material relating to KwaZulu-Natal. Demographically the province has a rich cultural mix, given its population of Zulu-speakers, Indian communities and whites. To ensure a degree of international coverage, we will also be linking up with Voice of America and other networks."
The channel's content will include music, talk shows, news and current affairs, arts and culture, television drama, and sitcoms – focusing largely on the work of local artists – to be broadcast in high definition.
"Our core target market will be primarily language and geographically based - that is the whole of South Africa. We are also targeting the entire Southern African region, where many Nguni and non-Nguni-based languages are spoken," said Ngema.
"The founders of the channel have knowledge of and experience in diverse cultures such as Zulu, Francophone, Swahili, Swazi, Xhosa, Ndebele and Sotho, so it will have a sub-Saharan and regional appeal. English subtitling will be used where necessary to make programmes accessible to all language groups and open up opportunities for international licensing," he added.
The channel aims to employ between 500 and 100 people in its first year. Although a commercial project, Committed Artists are also in discussion with the KwaZulu-Natal provincial Government about carrying some its programmes and advertisements.
"Our objectives underpinning the launch will include seeking to reflect the way of life of the people of the sub-Saharan region and Africa in general. We aim to create an omnipotent brand, available to the market at its choice plug points," said Ngema.