East African Film makers finally get a home at Maisha Magic

04:13 by Kaggwa Andrew
A few days ago, Multichoice Africa unveiled a new channel, Maisha Magic, a station dedicated and tailored for East African viewers and content.

The channel that takes pride in celebrating East African art, colors and fabric through its logo wants to tell the region’s story of imagination, creativity and expression.

But before all this, Multichoice had gone under attack for the alleged neglect of the East African market; this was because of the big amounts of West African entertainment on all the Africa Magic platforms.

In 2008, DSTV had added to their channel list one Africa Magic Plus whose role was to provide entertainment from East and Southern Africa. It’s here that many other African countries got a taste of the prestigious platform with shows from Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda being broadcast.

Though, even when the platform existed, many felt they didn’t benefit much from it since it was merely a shadow of the already famous ‘Nigeria’ magic.

It must have been on such a background that Maisha Magic took shape, a brand that Africa would relate the region to.

During the launch at Sheraton Hotel, Stella Ndirangu, Maisha Magic channel head, noted that they embarked on an East African station because they felt that East Africa needed entertainment they can freely relate to.

“We have beautiful cultures and it’s time we share them,” said Ndirangu during an exclusive with Tsup UG.

In a bid to consolidate the East African feel, on September 24, Africa Magic Swahili will officially rebrand to Maisha Magic Swahili. Simultaneously, the Africa Magic Original Films initiative which produced 56 movies in East Africa recently will transform into Maisha Magic Original Films initiative under whose banner a massive 60 more films will be produced before the end of this year and hopefully have a Movies channel.

Ndirangu also says that now that East Africans have a platform, it is up to the different film makers and producers to exploit it. In her view, Maisha magic is not here to promote any industry but the priority will be given to whoever presents a good story.

“We are an entertainment TV and thus have an audience to please, we are not going to show poor films because they are from Uganda or Kenya,” she said adding that with the kind of optimism among Ugandan producers, she doubts Maisha will get to the Africa Magic/Nigeria situation.

Much as the channel is destined to provide entertainment from the region, it should be noted that one of their flagship shows at the moment is a Mexican soap, A Love to Remember, to this Ndrangu says that East Africans love Telenovelas and that can’t be taken away from them.

“Look at all the East African TVs, from Citizen to Bukedde, there’s a telenovela on each of these stations.”

Speaking at the launch, General Manager Multichoice Uganda, Charles Hamya strongly affirmed that the future of African television lies in localizing the content to that relevant to the masses; “we have to identify and develop local talent in front and behind the camera.”

The Chief Guest, Executive director Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), Godfrey Mutabazi, in the same vein congratulated DSTV for the commitment towards expanding local content on their platforms.

“As we draw closer b towards digital migration, the importance and relevance of investing in the creative and production industries can’t be overstated,” he said.

Maisha magic is currently a platform for all the six East African countries though much of the content at the moment is from Kenya and a few ones like Deceptions, Tendo Sisters and Ann Kansiime’s Comedy Club Uganda.

Film makers like Jyant Maru (The Route), Mariam Ndagire (Tendo Sisters) and Joseph Ssebaggala (Reform) among others are optimistic with this platform their work will reach a wider audience.

“At least now am assured my work will be viewed in five different countries,” said Mariam Ndagire adding that the biggest problem Ugandan film makers have is not valuing quality.


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