Television has kept us entertained for decades and we have watched African television evolve to match up the leading international standards of broadcasting. Not only do we have privately and public owned stations but we now have community television.
Soweto TV is a volunteer community television initiative – made by Sowetans for Sowetans – which is a fully commercial enterprise over the years and has captivated many South Africans.
The channel has surpassed the ratings of SABC 3, Vuzu and Mzansi Magic channels. Known for their church and music shows, Soweto TV certainly caters to a huge market which for a long time was neglected, so much so that now giant television stations are now trying to cater for the soweto tv market as they see competition is here to stay.
The self funded channel is powerful because it has television innovator extraordinaire people like Dani Fourie supporting their every move and guiding them where he should, as a founder of Urban Brew Studios, we all know he is definitely the kind of guy you want on your corner in this industry.
They have very simple TV studios at Tloreng Primary School, Vilakazi Street, Orlando West, the same street where Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu lived along many other struggle heroes. The street is now the busiest tourist attraction in Gauteng.
The station is positioned as an interactive, engaging and informative “talk radio on television” concept, where both presenters and producers of all shows engage with Soweto viewers about relevant issues. Capturing at least 10% of the population, the channel has hosted a number of celebrities from Bonang Matheba to having the president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma host a youth show from the beginning to end, we are told he only read the script once and he ran the show like a pro.
I had the pleasure of meeting some of the staff members of Soweto TV and their energy shows why the channel is doing so well. One of the producers Mandla has produced some of thee most successful shows on the station and the three leading shows currently are produced by him. He explains how the channel has made room for another informal language in SA known as Kasi taal, meaning township language, which really is a mixture of all South African languages.
He says as a producer one needs to be flex enough to be the sound, camera or driver when circumstances happen in order to have a show that runs smoothly and he wears any of those hats well.
Soweto TV provides a training platform for all volunteer producers, directors, technical and production staff who would like to help keep this station on air. Auditions have brought forward a number of known and unknown candidates. The channel proves that this is the season of the Davids, who make giants fall and rise above victorious.
They were the first community channel and now almost every province has their own channel, Soweto tv are champion pioneers. We look forward to what more the channel has in store for South Africans. Keep up the great job.