Preceding the 2018 Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCAs), MultiChoice Africa hosted a panel discussion to outline its efforts to create shared value through its contribution towards igniting Africa’s creative industries through initiatives such as the MultiChoice Talent Factory, the AMVCAs and the development and showcasing of original African programming.
Facilitated by Jenkins Alumona, various MultiChoice representatives offered their respective insights into the role of the entertainment industry in playing a positive role in Africa. The panelists included Yolisa Phahle, Video Entertainment CEO of MultiChoice General Entertainment; John Ugbe, Managing Director of MultiChoice Nigeria; Nkateko Mabaso, Acting CEO of M-Net Sub-Saharan Africa; Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu, M-Net Director for West Africa; Njoki Muhoho, MTF Regional Academy Director – East; Berry Lwando, MTF Regional Academy Director – South and Femi Odugbemi, MTF Regional Academy Director – West.
THE PANELITS’ KEY INSIGHTS INCLUDE:
Cheryl Uys-Allie, MTF Director:
MTF is preparing our industry for tomorrow – not just for linear broadcast, but across all platforms.
This is just the start with 60 students. If you multiply that in five years, it adds up to a multiplier effect in the respective markets. MTF is developing entrepreneurs to get out there and make the business happen for themselves.
Alongside the MTF Academy, MultiChoice is running masterclasses to upskill the industry as a whole in order to make a broader impact across the Continent.
Njoki Muhoho, MTF Regional Academy Director – East:
MultiChoice is a pathfinder in the development of original African programming. This unique partnership between public private and entertainment industry is taking us to unchartered territory.
Even though we started from a neutral position with no assumptions – simply looking for talent, passion and opportunity – we ended up close to 50/50 representation between male and female students.
The MTF collaboration across the three regions allows for a great African feel, bringing our young people together to tell the African stories in their own way. The genesis of MTF is to create a platform for sharing – built on similar principles from the south of the Kalahari to the north of the Sahara.
MTF is not about just delivering a certificate – the actual result of the MTF Academy will be to deliver a content that enables us to share African stories.
In response to being questioned about the reason for only selecting 60 students in the first year: Change does not start with a large group. It starts with a small group. It needs to be managed. Only then can you create a ripple effect.
Our approach to the MTF Academy includes research and development by way of a digital laboratory. The students will be challenged to think ahead, i.e. as are thinking of the story you want to tell, you need to think about the channels where it will be featured and what will happen to the content in next 10 years. We want our students to learn more about the trends and future in industry. Sustainability is critical to the MTF curriculum – students will need to understand the role of audience research, copyright issues, intellectual copyright, companies that manage taxes and the components of an income-generating business.
We have set up Advisory Boards to give advice on policies to make the environment conducive for young students to flourish in their respective countries.
Femi Odugbemi, MTF Regional Academy Director – West:
What makes MTF unique is the opportunity for young African filmmakers to start of their career already networking, exchanging stories, with distribution handshakes that extends across borders. MTF expands the economy of storytelling across Africa and provides and opportunity to focus on excellence instead of numbers. The best film that comes out of Africa – will be a great African story.
MTF is investing in the storytelling as the Future of Africa – something that MultiChoice have always wanted to do and always done.
Previous initiatives such as New Direction provided opportunities to emerging young filmmakers in Nigeria, Kenya and Southern Africa to create works that launched their careers. MTF is even bigger, it reaches farther and has a sustainable plan behind it so that it becomes guaranteed due to the fact that students get to create the company/business that will keep them making films.
Berry Lwando, MTF Regional Academy Director – South:
About the adjudication process: For none of us, not those of us from MultiChoice, nor the industry experts from the various countries, had ever encountered anything like this before. Who were these youngsters? Where had they come from? Where had they been hiding these stories? These young adults changed my idea of storytelling. They have seen the real Africa. They have touched it, tasted it, and now they want to tell that story.
I am so grateful that the MTF is here, ready to help them tell our stories, because these are the stories that will change filmmaking in Africa. The MTF initiative promises significant benefits for both participants and the greater TV and film sector on the continent.
The interview process to me was a story in itself. These youth have not had a platform for their voices to be heard. But now, the 20 youngsters selected to attend the MTF in the Southern Region will not only be heard, but empowered with the skills they need to document Africa’s stories and share them with the world.
Berry shared an anecdote to explain the impact of storytelling when he spoke about one of the candidates who introduced herself as: “I am from Kanyama”. Her declaration was met with silence, the panel not grasping the significance of this statement. ‘Kanyama is a place you people only talk about in terms of cholera and theft. But this is a place I live in. Where I have grown up. Nobody is telling my story. That place – I exist there. But who is telling my story?
In some cases different languages like Portuguese – because of the design of what we have put together – these youths will be able to tell the stories and handle the challenges.
The MTF curriculum will provide an end-to-end solution for entire industry covering all aspects of the value chain of filmmaking.
Using the power of entertainment to enrich lives and to tell Africa’s stories are among the founding objectives of MultiChoice Africa. Now, MTF brings these two aspirations together in one powerful initiative that promises to enrich the lives of the continent’s filmmakers while telling their stories and those of the world around them. Linking the MTF initiative to AMVCAs, Nkateko Mabaso, Acting CEO of M-Net Sub-Saharan Africa, concluded: “We hope to see our class of MTF 2018 winning awards at the AMVCAs next year!”
Note to Editors:
For more information, please visit www.multichoiceafrica.com and follow the social media conversation on the hashtag #MultiChoiceTalentFactory.
Images of the speakers and the event will be available on request.
Entertainment is a powerful way to tell stories that open our minds, bring people together around shared passions, and connect us to new realities. It makes us laugh and cry. It informs, it educates and it inspires. MultiChoice is a video entertainment company, and our role is to enrich lives. Our mission is to deliver value to our customers by making great entertainment more accessible. We find and develop the right mix of content and deliver it to millions of people across Africa – anytime, anywhere. Whether it’s local telenovelas, the excitement of world class sport or the latest global blockbusters, our investment in leading-edge content and technology systems deliver the shows that people love into their hands and their living rooms. We listen to our customers to understand their changing lives, the pressures they face and what matters most to them. We are committed to using these insights to put customers at the heart of all the decisions that each of us make every day. We’re reshaping our business to improve our customers’ experience, whenever and wherever they engage with us. Born and bred in Africa, MultiChoice is a team of more than 2750 full time and over 14 thousand contractors and independent agencies and accredited installers who to collectively deliver the greatest entertainment in the world to more than 49 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa. We are managed and run by local people, and strive to provide all our employees with new opportunities. We’re proud of the contribution we make to our communities, and our business has grown hand-in-hand with local economies by forging long-term partnerships with governments, national broadcasters and entrepreneurs. As the continent’s leading funder of sport and local production, we’ve built skills and capacity to become the backbone of content that matters to our customers. As Africa continues to change rapidly, the entertainment industry is ever more relevant. We want to use our influence and resources to play a positive role in Africa, helping to grow Africa’s people and creative industries into vibrant, economic powerhouses. It’s by creating value for our customers, our employees and society that we’ll build a successful business for the future.
About the MTF:
The African continent is steeped in a rich and diverse history of living passionately through language, art, music and colourful storytelling. As the continent continues to change rapidly, the entertainment industry has become ever more relevant. MultiChoice Africa has identified an opportunity in this fast-changing environment – one that will leave a lasting impact on the creative industry. In 2018, the company established the MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF), a social investment initiative aimed at igniting Africa’s creative industries and growing them into vibrant, economic powerhouses. As a business born and bred in Africa, we have a long-term commitment to making a socio-economic difference and creating shared value in the countries in which we operate. As such, we launched the MTF to positively impacting the technical and professional value chain in the film and television industry across the continent. Established in partnership with stakeholders across the continent, MTF aims at providing the creative industries with a platform to learn and develop their talent, engage and connect with each other through their shared passions across three touchpoints with include the MTF Academy. The MTF Academy is a tailored 12-month training programme facilitated at regional academies based in Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia, headed by industry experts as Academy Directors. Working together with local creative organisations, regulatory and government partners across the continent, MultiChoice uses its people, facilities and network to provide young emerging filmmakers with the skills, knowledge, experience and qualifications to help the MTF graduates launch a successful career within the creative industry. Through the MTF, MultiChoice Africa will cement its commitment to enriching lives by developing the art of inspired local storytelling and story making while simultaneously growing local content on our DStv and GOtv platforms and ultimately continue showcasing Africa’s rich cultural heritage and diversity across our local channels including SuperSport, M-Net, Africa Magic, Maisha Magic East, Maisha Magic Bongo and Zambezi Magic. Find more information about how the MTF initiative is igniting Africa’s creative industries at www.multichoicetalentfactory.com.