Minnie Dlamini-Jones. Picture: Instagram
Minnie Dlamini-Jones. Picture: Instagram

3 local production houses steered by women

By Alyssia Birjalal Time of article published Jul 19, 2021

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What was once an only male dominated industry is slowly becoming fair play for all.

We take a look at women at the helm of South African production companies.

Rethabile “Retti” Ramaphakela: Co-founder and creative director at Burnt Onion Productions

Rethabile “Retti” Ramaphakela. Picture: Instagram

Award-winning TV producer, writer and director, Rethabile “Retti” Ramaphakela co-founded Burnt Onion Productions with her siblings Katleho and Tshepo Ramaphakela in 2010.

The company started off in her bedroom.

Behind the camera, Rethabile has created and written successful popular comedy series that include the award-winning mockumentary series “Check-Coast” "Thuli noThulani“, "Bedford Wives”, “My Perfect Family”, “Seriously Single“ and their Netflix offering “How To Ruin Christmas:The Wedding”, with season 2 in the pipeline.

With excellent taste and flair, award-winning all-rounder Rethabile, brings her distinctive creative genius to the table.

“Being a producer means you are the person that brings everything together from the beginning till it appears on your TV scene.

“It sounds easy but it is not. There’s different kinds of producers, there’s creative producers, financial producers, so you can play on any side of the sphere, but it is good as a producer to understand the story, even if you don’t write it,” said Ramaphakela.

In 2019, Rethabile was named a “producer to watch” from Africa at the MIPTV market in Cannes.

Minnie Dlamini-Jones: Owner of Beautiful Day Productions

Minnie Dlamini-Jones. Picture: Instagram

South African sweetheart and current “Homegrown” TV presenter, Minnie Dlamini-Jones made waves when her production company produced “Becoming Mrs. Jones”, a three part reality series, documenting her marriage to Quinton Jones.

The show was a record-breaking success, with the highest ever viewership for Vuzu Amp.

Beautiful Day Productions is a traditional production company that is not afraid to adapt to new trends.

They have also developed and produced a number of digital campaigns and content pieces for big brands.

Dlamini-Jones believes in paying it forward, just as someone once did for her.

The ultimate goal is to expand the company into a media hub, where creatives can learn, grow and gain credible experience in the business, while creating ground-breaking local and international content.

Kee-Leen Irvine: Co-founder of Rapid Blue, former managing director and current executive producer

Kee-Leen Irvine of Rapid Blue. Picture: Charles Johnstone

Self-made, multi-award-winning TV mogul, Kee-Leen Irvine, proved she has the fire in her soul needed in the cut throat industry of entertainment.

Rapid Blue, has over the years produced some of the most riveting shows on TV, from M-Net’s "Shark Tank", "Dancing With The Stars", "Project Runway" and "The Bachelor SA" to "BBC’s Come Dine With Me".

She worked her way up every rung of the ladder, from runner to production assistant, production co-ordinator, production manager, producer, co-founder, managing director to executive producer at Rapid Blue.

“Television has changed significantly since I first started in 1990 from a predominantly white, male dominated space.

“What a blessing to have been part of the political and cultural transformation which has brought us to the place of rich and vibrant diversity we enjoy today,” said Irvine.

She said she believes women are phenomenal in the television industry, even though it's tough, they portray the nation’s stories with excellence, empathy, compassion and respect.

"We are hardworking, intuitive and collaborative,” she said.

At Rapid Blue female employees outnumber the males as Irvine tries to cultivate an environment of support and balance.

“Women uplifting and supporting other women is important for female empowerment and growth.

“How I wish I had someone alongside me when we launched Rapid Blue and I was a 'young and dumb' 22-year-old, so I count it as a privilege and pleasure if young and upcoming women can stand on my shoulders to reach greater heights,” she said.

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