Last Thursday evening across Jozi was all about celebration and gratitude, judging by the theme of many events staged on the night.
Partying at one of Illovo’ s posh rooftop venues were the cast and crew of BET's original telenovela Isono. They were celebrating not only a successful first season run, but also the tenacity they showed in the face of the many challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The cast and crew were in high spirits on the night , with some really letting their hair down as they danced on stage to a performance by fellow cast member Anga Makubalo, popularly known as "NaakMusiQ".
Lead actress Nthati Moshesh was the first on stage to show off some few dance moves, followed by the bubbly Charmaine Mtinta, dressed in a bright pink dress.
All the while guests feasted on a curated menu, supplemented by their choice of drink.
Others who graced the do were Senzo Radebe; Bokang Moeko; the legendary Mandla Jwara, from BET's Black Tax; and, Ayanda Nhlapo, who is one of the cast members of the celebrated show.
The head of Clive Morris Productions (CMP), the company that co-produced the telenovela, recalled how difficult the journey has been and how grateful they are to have achieved a full season with prospects of a second.
"Covid is not something anybody could have predicted or planned for, so when you're working on a finite production budget, immediately when you have to start deviating in the way in which you produce it adds a lot of costs. So the very first thing was shutting down the production and trying to get some kind of timeline as to when we might be back in production. At that stage, nobody knew how long the first wave was gonna last, or the subsequent waves thereafter,“ said Morris.
"So I mean, obviously Viacom being a global group, the US head office took a view around when they felt it would be safe for us to re-enter into production. And that was quite a lengthy period. We were off the floor for two months on the production.
“Through the partnership, Viacom was able to raise additional funds to help pay cast and crew retainers over the course of that time so that, you know, people still had income, which was an extra cost of production. And then because you're not producing the minutes per day, but you still have got the running costs.
“And then over and above that we now had to start factoring in things like PPE, hiring additional space to be able to shift production off the sets so that we could social distance properly. We had to limit the number and rewrite scenes that would be deemed as unsafe Covid working environments, at that time. So all of that had an impact from the cost on the ground, we brought in a compliance company, which is a public safety company to do regular testing and to help us manage compliance on set.
"So all of these things were exceptional huge challenges that every producer had to work with across the board," he said, adding that seeing everyone let loose and celebrate was well deserved.
That was the sentiment of the night, and to further help celebrate it, award winning duo Blaq Diamond moved the crowd with their popular jams.