Tjovitjo’s dance to fame

2017-09-03 09:28

Johannesburg - The gripping drama series Tjovitjo has topped viewership charts with its story of a pantsula dance group’s struggle against poverty.

Four years ago, Vincent Moloi and Lodi Matsetela pitched it to every broadcaster in the country, including the SABC. They were all reluctant.

Eventually, they funded it themselves and created it with their production company, Puo Pha Productions. They sold it to the SABC, retaining 100% of their copyright.


Normally producers have to sign away all their ownership rights when the SABC picks up their project.

“We made history and this didn’t come easy,” Moloi said.

They were still completing post-production work and dealing with other “unforeseen matters”.

As a result, they have not had the time to enjoy their success.

It was a big financial risk, which they took after the department of trade and industry’s (the dti’s) rebate scheme rejected them about four times. The scheme is meant to help black film companies.

“The dti team failed us greatly. I suspect that there’s still an inferiority complex by some of our public servants that anything that does not have white people in it is viewed in a different way.

“We were basically swimming against the tide.”

Moloi said most TV dramas were using similar kinds of content and story lines, and doing well with viewers.

“We wanted to introduce a new universe and without the traditional narrative, but more vignettes of different characters.”

They hoped their audience would not be impatient with the way they structured their stories.

Moloi was hesitant to say exactly how much it costs to make the show. He was only prepared to say it was millions of rands.

They hoped to recover their costs by selling to other broadcasters and streaming services.

“We are already negotiating a theatre musical. And we have a first draft of the feature film, which we are intending to go into production with next year. We have big plans,” he said.

(Photo: Supplied/City Press)

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