Lala Tuku, SABC’s new head of local productions wants black women to tell their stories

Lala Tuku. Picture: Supplied

Lala Tuku. Picture: Supplied

Published Aug 20, 2022


As we continue to commemorate Women’s Month, we salute the heroes of 1956, the mothers, aunties, sisters and daughters who took to the streets to fight for the freedom we all enjoy today.

In marking this monumental event in the history of South Africa, we continue to celebrate modern women who are owning up spaces for future generations.

No stranger to the film and television industry, Lala Tuku has been newly appointed as the Head of Local Productions at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

“I started on the June 6 and it's just been an incredible journey,” said Tuku.

“They say change is as good as a holiday, but sometimes, change, when you’re a creature of habit can shock you. But from a career point of view, it was my next.

“I'm taking this role as my big next, and I'm really looking forward to what I can do with it,” she added.

Tuku admitted that her new role comes with big responsibilities, coupled with challenges she’s ready to tackle head-on.

“This is a big portfolio and I'm incredibly excited about it. The SABC remains a very important entity and the voice of the people. And it (SABC) also has a mandate to elevate by telling compelling, informative and entertaining stories.

“And mine is to go out there and be a mirror to society by telling those culturally conscious content and pieces and finding them is really I want I intend to do.”

Tuku is a seasoned professional in the creative arts sector, communication, and marketing industry. Her passion and experience in the arts spans over two decades.

“When you have such a well-rounded, 360-degree view of the industry, it really places you quite favourably in the position. I started off as an actress and then moved to become a director.

“I later become a marketer in the film space…then a researcher and a funder for films at the National Film & Video Foundation (NFVF). I moved to creating and producing content. And now I get to then inform the national broadcaster in terms of the local content.”

Lala Tuku. Picture: Supplied

Known women and youth advocacy, Tuku is determined to use her position to effect change at the public broadcaster.

“During my time at the NFVF, I started becoming engrossed in research of our industry and what I found is that our industry which is a hundred years old still lags behind when it comes to transformation.

“Black people don't participate in key areas in our industry. Women don't participate in key areas.

“I've always wanted to be an agent of change, making sure that we can give women opportunities…that we can give young people opportunities. And I think even in this role, I'm part and parcel of making sure that that happens.”

Making reference to her latest interview on SABC 1’s “Daily Theta” discussing matters relating to women in leadership, Tuku expressed that women must start looking out for each other, influence and inspire one another.

“We need to start lobbying for each other. I need to start calling your name in rooms where you are not because it's all about a network and transformation. It’s also about creating and giving each other opportunities. So that's how things start to transform.

“Transformation is so important and it comes also from a development point of view. We need to start at the grassroots.

“Our stories are our currency. We cannot be what we cannot see. It's important for us to showcase an inspirational and winning black nation because that's what we are going to be if we see it.

“Our stories are gold and the world is watching. Those culture curators are watching us.

“So we've got to identify our gold and latch onto that,” Tuku said.

Tuku is also a chairperson of Africa Rising International Film Festival. A festival that centrers women and youth, people living with disabilities and queer members of our society, giving a platform to their work and creating distribution channel for their films.