Gospel Gold on a silver platter

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IOL Henna Sisanda Henna and his co-host Sthembile Mhlongo

Munya Vomo

Trying out his hand at presenting, actor and writer Sisanda Henna took time out to talk about his job on Gospel Gold.

“I actually did not audition for this gig. I just got a call from the producers of Gospel Gold saying that I should give it a try. It means that it came to me on a silver platter.

“It was something I hadn’t tried out and, given that they had head-hunted me, I thought it was not a bad idea to try it out,” he said.

Gospel Gold is a musical show that separates itself from other happy-clappy Christian shows by being in touch with its viewers by shooting out of the studio most of the time.

“We mix all sub-genres of gospel music just so that we can get as diverse an audience as possible. For instance, my dad likes the Madoda Ase Wesile, which is that choral group with older people singing mostly traditional songs. Yet I follow the young rap groups that do Christian music. So on Gospel Gold we cater for both groups and more,” he said.

For someone who has very little TV presenting experience, Henna was worried that he would not be able to do his work well on Gospel Gold.

“Coming from an acting background I was worried about what this new role entailed. The thing about presenting is that the actual person has to come out, while in acting you are trying to wear someone’s personality. So I fought hard to remember what was required of me.”

Henna hosts the show with Sthembile Mhlongo, who he says is the best screen partner to have on a show like this.

“We are a great team and our shoots are almost always perfect, without many takes. She knows what she is doing and so she always has the right levels of energy,” he said.

Mhlongo says she is happy being paired with Henna, who she has seen on other projects he has featured on.

“I am really honoured to work with him. The thing is, while he has been in the industry for much longer, he doesn’t come across as arrogant or anything like that. We just work like good colleagues do and this shows on the final cut as well,” she said.

Also a producer on the show, Mhlongo said despite the competition from the different gospel shows on TV today, Gospel Gold was designed to set itself apart.

“We have crafted it in three categories. First we have the song-book section when a gospel musician comes in to present the show. They take us through their own life by playing music important to them. We then have our own field episodes where we go around the country to find different people and how they worship. Last month we were in the Eastern Cape and they do things differently there. The third aspect is the profile one where again we call gospel musicians to do one-on-one profile interviews on them,” she said.

Gospel Gold airs every Sunday at 10am on SABC1.


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