SABC backtracks on plan to freeze telenovela

‘Giyani: Land of Blood’ petition gathers momentum

The SABC has allegedly backed down on its plans to can Xitsonga telenovela Giyani: Land of Blood after announcing its extinction on Monday.

The decision follows a petition that was started by fans of the local telenovela on Wendesday aimed at getting the broadcaster to reconsider its decision. The petition currently sits at more than 18 000 signatures.

Giyani: Land of Blood was meant to end after 105 episodes but things changed after the petition, as the SABC’s analysis of the telenovela’s performance showed that it was doing extremely well in terms of ratings, revenue and viewership, having amassed more than 4 million viewers.

Sunday World has learnt through two senior SABC sources, a board member and a group executive, that the public broadcaster has since made a U-turn and has approached the producers, Tshedza Pictures, led by Phathu Makwarela, to consider preparing season two, which would be flighted next year.

It’s not clear if Tshedza Pictures has agreed to the SABC proposal, but a senior official revealed that the producers said they will only engage with the SABC on their return from the US.

SABC spokeswoman Mmoni Seapolelo said: “The SABC would like to state that as it is the case with all telenovelas, Giyani: Land of Blood is segmented in seasons and at this stage the programme is approaching the end of season one.

This programme, like all other SABC programmes, is subjected to internal governance processes for recommissioning prior to the decision to broadcast season two.

“The organisation has also noted the concerns raised by its audiences on various social media platforms and would like to assure the public that the corporation remains highly committed to cater for the diverse South African society by ensuring that its programming is representative of all South Africans.”

Tshedza Pictures could not be reached for comment. Its executive producers are in the US for Emmy Awards where they have been nominated for best telenovela for The River.

By Aubrey Mothombeni

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