Image supplied by MultiChoice.

Late actress Menzi Ngubane received

2021 SAFTAs Winners, Snubs and Surprises of the Night

The River lead Sindi Dlathu, once again, scooped the 'Best Actress' nod, while Menzi Ngubane was honoured with a posthumous 'Best Actor' award at the 15th South African Film and Television awards (SAFTAs).

This year's 15th South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs), which took place this past weekend, were absolutely riveting. The annual award show has grown since the inclusion of shows from streaming platforms such as Showmax and Netflix, which are pitted against traditional silver screen shows. However, the fierce competition has proven that local productions still have a loyal audience, and that South Africa's international audience is lapping up all the juicy plots. Netflix's How to Ruin Christmas: The Wedding was the biggest winner of the night after bagging six awards. Previous all-round winner The River followed closely with its lead actress and co-executive producer Sindi Dlathu scoring her second "Best Actress" award for her Lindiwe Dikana role.

Netflix's popular teen drama series Blood & Water, whose second season is in the pipeline, reigned in the "Best TV Drama" category. The "Best Actress for a TV comedy" award deservedly went to Busisiwe Lurayi, for her portrayal of the lead character Tumi in How To Ruin Christmas: The Wedding. The Oscar-winning environmental documentary My Octopus Teacher took the "Best Natural History And Environmental Programme" award.

The late Menzi Ngubane received the "Best Actor" nod for his final on-screen performance as nemesis Judas Ngwenya in the soapie Isibaya, which took a bow after eight seasons earlier this year. The first season of Gomora received the "Best Achievement in Directing" award under the telenovela category through public votes. However, some fans expressed their disappointment that Gomora cast members had not been recognised with SAFTA nominations for their roles, which they believed had contributed to the success of show. Veteran theatre and television actor James Ngcobo took home the "Best Supporting Actor in a TV Drama" award for Queen Sono. DStv's new telenovela Legacy cleaned out the "Best Telenovela" category. Acclaimed actress Michelle Botes added to Legacy's multiple wins by taking home the "Best Supporting Actress in a Telenovela" award.

Last but not least, storytelling legend Dr. Gcina Mhlophe was conferred with the biggest title of the night — the "Lifetime Achievement Award". The award was a long-overdue acknowledgement of her on and off-screen contributions to South Africa's oral tradition of storytelling which has entertained and educated the nation for decades.

Read: The Top 2021 South African Film And Television Awards (SAFTAs) Nominees

MultiChoice (DSTV) scored a tremendous 47 awards, while first time entrant Netflix gathered an impressive 19 nods out of its total 45 nominations. The awards took on a virtual setting and were hosted by the vibrant LaSizwe Dambuza alongside radio personality Lerato Kganyakgo.

Here are some Twitter reactions to the SAFTAs which ran from Friday to Saturday night.

Below is the complete list of the 2021 SAFTAs winners:

Best Short Film

Address Unknown (Green Leaf Films Pty) Ltd)

Best Student Film

Fowl Goblin from The Animation School


Best Achievement in Directing — Telenovela

Gomora Season 1 (Mzansi Magic)

Practitioners: Thabang Moleya, Nthabiseng Mokoena, Nozipho Nkelemba and Lefuno Nekhabambe

Best Achievement in Directing — TV Soap

Binnelanders (kykNET)

Practitioners: Danie Joubert, Roché Knoesen, Riaan Meij, Charl van Biljon, Gerrit Schoonhoven & Jaco Vermeulen

Best Achievement in Scriptwriting – Telenovela

The River (1Magic)

Practitioners: Gwydion Beynon & Phathutshedzo Makwarela

Best Achievement in Scriptwriting – TV Soap

Scandal! (E.tv)

Practitioners: Ameera Patel, Grace Mahlaba, Daryn Katz, Kelly Robinson, Mark Wilson, Nontlantla Simelane, Omphile Molusi, Rosalind Butler, Stephen Simm, Tereska Muishond, Themba Mahlangu, Myolisi Sikupela and Thomas Hall

Best Achievement in Original Music/Score – Telenovela

The River (1Magic)

Practitioner: Brendan Jury

Best Achievement in Editing – Telenovela

The River (1Magic)

Practitioners: Bongi Malefo, Edgar Sibaya, Sphiwe Nhlumayo and Ula Oelsen

Best Achievement in Sound — TV Soap/Telenovela

The River (1Magic)

Practitioners: Ben Oelsen and Tladi Mabuya

Best Achievement in Cinematography – Telenovela

Legacy (M-Net)

Practitioner: Trevor Brown

Best Achievement in Wardrobe — TV Soap/Telenovela

Legacy (M-Net)

Practitioner: Zandile Mncwango

Best Achievement in Make-Up and Hairstyling — TV Soap/Telenovela

Legacy (M-Net)

Practitioner: Jenny Sprawson

Best Achievement in Art Direction — TV Soap/Telenovela

Legacy (M-Net)

Practitioner: Amanda Scholtz

Best Actress – Telenovela

Sindi Dlathu, The River (1Magic)

Character: Lindiwe Dikana

Best Actor – Telenovela

Menzi Ngubane, Isibaya (Mzansi Magic)

Character: Judas Nqwenya

Best Supporting Actress – Telenovela

Michelle Botes, Legacy (M-Net)

Character: Angelique Price

Best Supporting Actor – Telenovela

Meshack Mavuso Magabane, The River (1Magic)

Character: Nsizwa

Best Actress – TV Soap

Petronella Tshuma, Rhythm City (etv)

Character: Pearl Genaro

Best Actor – TV Soap

Clint Brink, Binnelanders (kykNET)

Character: Steve Abrahams

Best Supporting Actress – TV Soap

Masasa Mbangeni, Scandal (etv)

Character: Thembeka Shezi Nyathi

Best Supporting Actor – TV Soap

Mothusi Magano, Skeem Saam (SABC 1)

Character: Tumishang

Best TV Soap

Rhythm City (etv)

Production House: Quizzical Pictures

Best Telenovela

Legacy (M-Net)

Production House: Tshedza Pictures


Best Achievement in Directing – TV Drama

Tydelik Terminaal (kykNET)

Practitioners: Etienne Fourie and Elanie Rupping

Best Achievement in Scriptwriting – TV Drama

Housekeepers Season 2 (Mzansi Magic)

Practitioners: Portia Gumede, Duduzile Mabaso, Lufuno Nemungadi and Lidudu Malingani

Best Achievement in Editing — TV Drama

Still Breathing (M-Net)

Practitioners: Miriam Arndt and Alistair Thomas

Best Achievement in Sound – TV Drama

Blood and Water Season 1 (Netflix)

Practitioners: Sound & Motion Studios Sound Team

Best Achievement in Original Music/Score – TV Drama

Lockdown Season 5 (Mzansi Magic)

Practitioners: Kurt Slabbert, Jamela Vuma & Mandla Ngcongwane

Best Achievement in Art Direction – TV Drama

Agent (Netflix)

Practitioner: Carlu Portwig

Best Achievement in Wardrobe – TV Drama

Queen Sono Season 1 (Netflix)

Practitioners: Lehasa Molloyi

Best Achievement in Make-Up and Hairstyling – TV Drama

Trackers (Mzansi Magic)

Practitioner: Babalwa Mtshiselwa

Best Achievement in Cinematography – TV Drama

Blood and Water Season 1 (Netflix)

Practitioner: Zenn van Zyl

Best Actress – TV Drama

Kate Liquorish, Still Breathing (M-Net)

Character: Abi

Best Actor – TV Drama

Brandon Auret, Still Breathing (M-Net)

Character: Danny

Best Supporting Actress – TV Drama

June van Merch, Sara se Geheim Season 3 (kykNET)

Character: Sara

Best Supporting Actor – TV Drama

James Ngcobo, Queen Sono Season 1 (Netflix)

Character: President Malunga

Best TV Drama

Blood and Water Season 1 (Netflix)

Production House: Gambit Films


Best Achievement in Directing – TV Comedy

The Riviera (SABC 2)

Practitioners: Lucilla Blankenberg & Lederle Bosch

Best Achievement in Scriptwriting – TV Comedy

Black Tax (BET Africa)

Practitioners: Byron Abrahams, Lwazi Mvusi, Joshua Rous & Meren Reddy

Best Achievement in Editing – TV Comedy

How to Ruin Christmas: The Wedding (Netflix)

Practitioners: Tessa Verfuss, Gugulethu Sibandze & Melanie Jankes

Best Achievement in Sound – TV Comedy

How to Ruin Christmas: The Wedding (Netflix)

Practitioners: Janno Muller, Thapelo Makhubo, Jeanre Greyling and Jonty Everton

Best Achievement in Art Direction – TV Comedy

How to Ruin Christmas: The Wedding (Netflix)

Practitioners: Martha Sibanyoni, Thabiso Senne & Savannah Geldenhuys

Best Achievement in Wardrobe – TV Comedy

How to Ruin Christmas: The Wedding (Netflix)

Practitioner: Sheli Masondo

Best Achievement in Make-Up and Hairstyling – TV Comedy

How to Ruin Christmas: The Wedding (Netflix)

Practitioner: Babalwa Mtshiselwa

Best Achievement in Cinematography – TV Comedy

How to Ruin Christmas: The Wedding (Netflix)

Practitioner: Lance Gewer

Best Actress – TV Comedy

Busisiwe Lurayi, How to Ruin Christmas: The Wedding (Netflix)

Character: Tumi

Best Actor – TV Comedy

James Borthwick, Hotel (kykNET)

Character: Ferdie

Best Supporting Actress – TV Comedy

Martelize Kolver, Hotel (kykNET)

Character: Brenda

Best Supporting Actor – TV Comedy

Desmond Dube, How to Ruin Christmas: The Wedding (Netflix)

Character: Shadrack

Best TV Comedy

The Riviera (SABC 2)

Production House: Community Media Trust


Best Achievement in Directing – Documentary

How to Steal a Country

Practitioners: Rehad Desai and Mark Kaplan

Best Achievement in Cinematography – Documentary

Chasing the Sun

Practitioner: Devin Carter

Best Achievement in Editing – Documentary

How to Steal a Country

Practitioner: Megan Gill

Best Achievement in Sound – Documentary Feature

Documentary Feature – How to Steal a Country

Practitioner: Charlotte Buys

Best Documentary Feature

How to Steal a Country

Production House: Uhuru Productions

Best Documentary Short

Lindela Under Lockdown

Production House: Passion Seed Communications

Best Made for TV Documentary

Chasing the Sun

Production House: SuperSport, SA Rugby and T+W

Best Natural History and Environmental Programme

My Octopus Teacher

Production House: Sea Change Project

Best Children's Programme

Takalani Sesame Season 11 (SABC 2)

Production House: Ochre Media and Pulp Films

Best Competition Reality Show

Celebrity Mystery Box (Mzansi Magic)

Production House: Brightfire Pictures

Best Structured or Docu-reality Show

Pale Ya Koša (SABC 2)

Production House: Full Circle Productions

Best Structured Soapie Reality Show

Life with Kelly Khumalo (Showmax)

Production House: Barleader TV

Best International Format Show

Hoor my, sien my, soen my (kykNET)

Production House: Afrokaans Film & Television

Best Educational Programme

Made In SA Season 6 (S3)

Production House: Ochre Media

Best Factual Programme

The Devi Show (etv)

Production House: etv

Best Current Affairs Programme

CARTE BLANCHE: Women's Month Special (M-Net)

Production House: Combined Artists

Best Variety Show

Republiek van Zoid Afrika (kykNET)

Production House: Brainwave Productions

Best Youth Programme

Africa's Biggest Brags (MTV Base)

Production House: VIS

Best Entertainment Programme

Maak My Famous – Showcase (kykNET)

Production House: All Star Entertainment

Best Lifestyle Programme

Come Again (SABC 1)

Production House: Tshedza Media

Best Made for TV Movie

Loving Thokoza (Mzansi Magic)

Production House: Black Brain Pictures

Best Online Content

The Adventures of Noko Mashaba - Lockdown Shandis (YouTube)

Production House: Rams Comics

Best Achievement in Directing – Feature Film

Griekwastad (kykNET)

Practitioner: Jozua Malherbe

Best Achievement in Scriptwriting – Feature Film

Toorbos (kykNET)

Practitioner: René van Rooyen

Best Achievement in Cinematography – Feature Film

Riding with Sugar (Netflix)

Practitioner: Rory O'Grady

Best Achievement in Sound Design – Feature Film

Riding with Sugar (Netflix)

Practitioner: Sound & Motion Studios Sound Team

Best Achievement in Original Music/Score – Feature Film

Toorbos (kykNET)

Practitioner: Andries Smit

Best Achievement in Editing – Feature Film

Griekwastad (kykNET)

Practitioner: Lucian Barnard

Best Achievement in Production Design – Feature Film

Riding with Sugar (Netflix)

Practitioner: Kate van der Merwe

Best Achievement in Costume Design – Feature Film

Riding with Sugar (Netflix)

Practitioner: Annie Seegers

Best Achievement in Make-Up and Hairstyling – Feature Film

Triggered (Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, Google Play)

Practitioners: Menio Kalymnios, Stella Kalymnios and Hannes Oosthuizen

Best Actress – Feature Film

Tinarie Van Wyk Loots, Gat In Die Muur (Hole In The Wall) (Netflix)

Character: Ava

Best Actor – Feature Film

Tshamano Sebe, 8 (Netflix)

Character: Lazarus

Best Supporting Actress – Feature Film

Tarryn Wyngaard, Stam (DSTV Box office)

Character: Samiah

Best Supporting Actor – Feature Film

Hakeem Kae Kazim, Riding with Sugar (Netflix)

Character: Mambo

Best Feature Film


SCENE23 (kykNET)

Best TV Presenter (Public Vote Category)

Entle Bizana, Hectic on 3 (SABC 3)

Most Popular TV Soap/Telenovela (Public Vote Category)

Gomora, Seriti Films (Mzansi Magic)

Photo Credit: Screengrab from Chief Daddy 2: Going for Broke

How This Netflix Film Sparked A Fierc​e Conversation About Nollywood

Since its release on Netflix, Chief Daddy 2: Going for Broke has received a scathing reaction from critics and users on social media. The movie sparked all kinds of conversation about the future of Nollywood films.

On the first day of January, Netflix released Chief Daddy 2: Going for Broke, the sequel to the 2018 dramedy about the gilded household of Chief Beecroft (whose death leaves members of his family scrambling over his wealth.) Even with its many flaws, the original was a major hit, making N385.7 million at the Nigerian box office. So it wasn't surprising Netflix acquired the second installment.

However, reviews have been overwhelmingly negative. The tone was even more unforgivingly scathing on social media, where criticism was rampant. On Twitter, fans savaged the editing, acting, and thin plot. One of the viewers who shared their disappointment with the film was Joyce Alao, who expressed her sentiments on Twitter from a burner account.

“It was a pointless film and I couldn’t believe what I was watching,” Alao told OkayAfrica. “ I was speechless from scene to scene, looking for something or anything redeemable but couldn’t find it. My main issue is why this film is on Netflix?"

Alao said the online outrage was nothing like she had seen before. Nigerians were uniting to not just criticize a film but to demand better from the Nollywood industry. And the pushback became so fierce it dominated coverage around the film. “It was an interesting moment and I hope this trend continues," Alao said. "We can’t continue to accept everything from these filmmakers.”

The criticisms of Chief Daddy 2 was a Nollywood viral moment. Oba Kosi Nwoba, a producer-director known for projects like Umoja and Iko Ndu: The Palmwine Story, hosted a room on Twitter Spaces titled Nollywood: Enough is Enough! #WeWantNewNollywood.

“A lot of people on social media who I believe represent a significant percentage of Netflix users have come out to complain they didn’t like the story. That is something to take home,” Nwoba said. “People make films for different purposes, there’s always that arm aimed at commercial viability. Is it commercial success? We can’t tell yet. If it was released in the cinema, the numbers would say. I share a little sentiment with the audience with regards to the cohesiveness of the story. Let us call it a failed experiment.”

Nwoba has a vantage position as a filmmaker, but he holds himself to the unspoken cardinal rule of not critiquing another filmmaker’s work. At the same time, he feels these conversations are vital to have. The problems with Chief Daddy 2 aren’t new, even for a production from EbonyLife Films, a huge studio. The problems aren’t isolated, either. So why did it take this film to see that the industry was in crisis?

“First, I don’t think it took Chief Daddy for people to come to the realization,” Precious Nwogu, a film journalist for Pulse, said. “Its timing, however, played a crucial role in the collective backlash it received. Prior to the call out, there have been pockets of negative reviews of titles released on the streamer but this time, the holidays plus maybe high expectations from EbonyLife following the countless announcements of international deals fueled the collective criticism.”

One glaring issue with mainstream Nollywood movies is how they look the same, a formulaic recipe involving many popular actors, affluent suburbs, and drone footage of landmarks. It’s a production of empty calories. And since officially entering the Nigerian market, Netflix hasn’t left any tangible impact on filmmaking appetites. The desire to be “marketable” is strong as ever, and the streamer has only strengthened the impulse.

“Yes and no,” Nwogu said, on whether Netflix can be held accountable. “These guys are just business owners that ultimately seek to make profit. Their initial hosts sold them the narrative that box office figures reflected what the Nigerian audience wanted.”

“Where I can fault Netflix is not in licensing but in commissioning. It makes no sense recycling filmmakers and commissioning multi-year deals... Why not commission one or two, see how that goes then do the work of seeking out other talent heads in the industry?"

In a video, Mo Abudu, the CEO of EbonyLife Group, publicly acknowledged the backlash the film received. Furthermore, she promised corrections will be made in the future. (The film’s director, Niyi Akinmolayan hasn’t made any public statement.) While there’s some sincerity in Abudu’s apology, she diplomatically positioned the idea that Chief Daddy 2 had mixed reviews. She didn’t state the actual flaws of the film, which honestly would have been a self-flagellating exercise on her part. But the implication of stating the flaws would have been profound, an indictment of how other Nollywood pictures have been made.

In addition, actionable steps weren’t indicated, which suggests things will be done on her studio’s terms and shouldn’t warrant public pressure or micromanagement. In this state of affairs, what’s stopping the next random Nollywood film on Netflix from being like Chief Daddy 2?

“Nollywood needs a lot of money,” Nwoba said. “I don’t mean the survival money — the type you don’t count, you only weigh. Nollywood, since inception, has been a self-sustaining industry. Between 2011-2017, the federal government brought a meager sum... to support the industry. We can tell that it barely did anything, if not we most likely won’t be talking about the industry being this poor.”

Nwoba sees the industry as moving parts that need to function properly, from production to distribution and management. All these require financial support. Film funding is intentional business. Funding through film journalism, film schools, festivals, community cinemas, actual brick and mortar structures, and strengthening guilds could have serious impact on Nollywood. This doesn’t mean bad movies would disappear.

“It simply means that we won’t keep making a specific genre of movie because of its commercial viability,” Nwoba said. “Filmmakers will be more willing to take risks and explore the taste of the audience.”

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