Reeva Steenkamp
Reeva Steenkamp
Charles Saatchi and Nigella Lawson.
Charles Saatchi and Nigella Lawson.

‘Fellow South Africans. Our beloved Nelson Mandela, the founding president of our democratic nation has departed…” These were the haunting words of a grieving President Jacob Zuma during his sombre address on national TV last Thursday, two hours after Tata Madiba’s passing at 8.50pm. The days that followed were monopolised by a plethora of shows around our beloved former president.

On Valentine’s Day, two days before model Reeva Steenkamp was to appear as a contestant in the fifth instalment of SABC1’s Tropika Island of Treasure, she was shot and killed by her Olympic gold medallist boyfriend, Oscar Pistorius, who allegedly thought she was an intruder. The incident shocked friends, family and the nation, caused a visible divide among the couple’s celebrity friends and left a trail of con- flicting emotions in its wake. Unsurprisingly, the attention around Steenkamp’s untimely death was milked to boost the show’s ratings.

In May, dropped a bombshell when they announced that Debra Patta’s hit current affairs show, 3rd Degree, would no longer be broadcast as she had quit the show and the channel. The official reason? She wanted to pursue other interests as a freelancer for international news companies. However, such abruptness does beg a few more questions. But everyone kept mum.

Chantal Rutter Dros left the award-winning and long-running current affairs show, Carte Blanche, to join the Gupta-run Africa News Network7 (ANN7) channel. She was headhunted to helm ANN7 Headlines and ANN7 Prime.

Given the laughable start to the 24-hour news channel, with many gaffes that made it on to YouTube only to be removed after swift legal threats, the move was undoubtedly a big gamble for her.

We loved watching celebrity chef Nigella Lawson cook up a feast on TV and drooled over all her mouth-watering dishes. What fans didn’t expect was the bitter aftertaste of her public spat with millionaire former husband, Charles Saatchi, and the numerous drug allegations that followed in the drawn-out court cases. Quite ironic that she ended up serving more drama than desserts and, in so doing, put the kibosh on her successful TV career.

Radio and TV personality Gareth Cliff is outspoken. While he often tends to stir up a hornet’s nest, he is also celebrated for touching on issues that afflict the nation. Earlier this year he landed his first voice-over gig for the award-winning animated series, Phineas and Ferb, on Disney XD. By the way, he voiced a Ducky Momo salesman.

Substance abuse has claimed the lives of many a talented star. This year, Cory Monteith of Glee fame became a statistic. He had several tributes paid to him, with Jane Lynch delivering a very moving eulogy at the Emmys, where she called him a “beautiful soul”, while girlfriend and Glee co-star, Lea Michele, also honoured him at the Teen Choice Awards.

Talk about capitalising on the “Mandela” name. Madiba’s grand-daughters, Swati and Zazizwe, did exactly that with their reality show, Being Mandela. Of course, in breaking with protocol, so to speak, they caused serious tension within the family ranks. Ultimately, though, it was nothing more than a mediocre show that offered a quick jaunt to boredom.

The morality police came out in full force when TopTV got the green light to air three porn channels. But all the last-minute interdicts by religious organisations were fruitless – Icasa didn’t budge on their ruling. I guess this Christmas could be an X-rated one for some.

WWE Champion Randy Orton was taken by surprised during a visit to Cape Town. And it wasn’t a pleasant one; he was kicked in the groin by a fan. Although that was one undercut he didn’t expect, he soldiered on in the ring nonetheless.