Muddled Saftas makes embarrassing blunder

2013-03-18 12:32
Thinus Ferreira
Cape Town – It was a series of unfortunate events that left egg on the faces of the hosts, producers and organisers of the 7th South African Film and Television Awards (Saftas) during the show's muddled live show on Saturday.

The Saftas made a hugely embarrassing mistake during the live broadcast on SABC3 when they announced the wrong winner and then failed to immediately correct their mistake, allowing the incorrect "winner" to accept an award.

When it was time to announce the award for Best Writing in a TV Drama Series, the recorded nominees introduction for the category was screened to the audience at the venue and those watching at home.

But the winner of the Best Supporting Actress in a TV Drama was announced instead.

Visibly embarrassed

"And the award goes to: Nazli George as Shireen in 90 Plein Street," read co-host Nik Rabinowitz from the golden envelope he opened.

When he realised the mistake, Rabinowitz looked offstage as if helplessly looking for support after announcing a winner for another category entirely.

"It seems ..." he said, dumbfounded, perplexed and visibly embarrassed. Rabonowitz then simply stopped talking as he looked sheepishly into the star-studded audience assembled at the Gallagher Estate in Johannesburg.

Music blared. Obliviously, the voice-over announcer declared the correct winner for the Best Writing for a TV Drama: "The 4Play Sex Tips for Girls writing team wins their first Safta. It's also their first nomination."

But that was not the end of the increasingly awkward incident.

Having heard his TV show announced by Rabonowitz, which was incidentally also nominated for Best Writing along with actual winner 4Play Sex Tips for Girls, Teddy Mattera, a writer from 90 Plein Street then walked onstage and took to the microphone – mistakenly under the impression that 90 Plein Street had won the writing category.

The gaffes keep coming

No-one from the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), Saftas production team or Vertical Limit Productions producing the show emerged to stop him.

Mattera then launched into his acceptance speech, making the live on-air gaffe even worse.

"It's miraculous. Khalo Matabane, our head writer couldn't be here today, but respect to Sue de Groot, Ndumiso Khovano, and myself Teddy Mattera, it's been a beautiful ride. Finally we predicted the fall and the rise of somebody in our story. You know who. Thank you," Mattera said in his speech.

The announcement error essentially also spoiled the next category - Best Supporting Actress in a TV Drama Series. The show went on, announcing the nominees for the category - but since Nazli George's name had already been erroneously announced in the writing category, her win was already public knowledge.

After the spectacle, the Saftas continued by handing out five further awards without getting the writing team of 4Play Sex Tips for Girls - the actual winners of Best Writing in a TV Drama Series - their due recognition.

4Play Sex Tips for Girls

Then 4Play Sex Tips for Girls won in the category for Best TV Drama Series. The show's production team blatantly made mention of the blunder when Harriet Gavshon, accepting the award, said: "For the wonderful writing team who I hope will still be acknowledged ..."

Only after a musical performance by Chris Chameleon did the Saftas finally rectify their mistake.

"Earlier we didn't give the writing team for 4Play Sex Tips for Girls an opportunity to make their acceptance speech," said Rabinowitz, "so please welcome the 4Play Sex Tips for Girls writing team."

The 4Play Sex Tips for Girls writing team of Minky Schlesinger, Gillian Breslin and Busisiwe Ntintili then, finally, made their way to the stage to accept their prize.

The Saftas' error caused huge embarrassment – for Born Free Media's writing team, SABC2 and 90 Plein Street, as well as and Quizzical Pictures which produce 4Play Sex Tips for Girls.

The NFVF and Saftas have yet to issue a statement explaining how their embarrassing on-air mishap came about, or to publicly apologise to any the affected parties.


  • Mally Gee - 2013-03-18 14:44

    How do we get things so wrong all the time? Are we just a bunch of blithering fools or do we think we're so clever that we don't have to check anything. This is the right occasion for an in depth investigation.

  • Antoinette Cook - 2013-03-19 08:00

    Worst live awards show ever!

  • Riana Bruyns-Lombard - 2013-03-19 08:32

    It is not even remotely funny! Stealing away the glory of the winning moment from the hard working artists... What a shame!

  • Justin Hoar - 2013-10-10 20:05

    Clearly poor planning, poor management and poor damage control. You don't see this at the Emmys, Oscars, People's Choice Awards or even the MTV movie awards (or any of the hundreds of other live awards shows around the world). Not a good advertisement for South Africa (Tho I don't think many international viewers would even watch the Saftas).

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