Johannesburg - A Hollywood-type television production city is headed for Jozi, and writers, actors, producers, directors, designers and make-up artists may find significant job opportunities.
This is the plan of Economic Development MEC Tasneem Motara, who is making inroads to bring US-based production houses and studios to Gauteng.
The production city will house some of Hollywood and Nollywood’s blockbusters in Gauteng, creating work for local creatives and supporting staff.
Motara’s brainwave came after UK-born actor Idris Elba and athletics icon Usain Bolt bought land in Maropeng, slightly outside of Krugersdorp, to set up a production hub.
Motara then started meetings with international studio brands such as Universal Pictures to convince them to set up bases in South Africa and in Gauteng in particular.
The driving interest would be that South Africa has beautiful weather, landscapes and a buzzing creative community that is often shy of work following the slow growth pace of the African film and television industry.
Krugersdorp has become an internal celebrity haven following the opening of Vivari Aesthetics, a private high-end plastic surgery clinic located within a five-star hotel a stone’s throw away from the N14 highway.
Vivari has confidentially treated some of Hollywood’s big names.
The next in line is CBS Television, which said it was happy to branch out into South Africa. Bryon Rubin, who heads CBS’s Entertainment Group, said the South African expansion project would be an honour for the company.
Rubin, who has served in various high-level CBS posts for the past two decades and now oversees all financial and business operations across divisions, including the CBS Television Network (CBS Entertainment, CBS News, and CBS Sports), CBS Studios, CBS Television Stations, and CBS Television Distribution, said: “South Africa’s artistic and television production potential was outstanding. Our reach to African audiences is at the top of our agenda.”
If realised, Motara’s TV production city may improve tourism and the business of the arts in South Africa.
This year, the country even saw several actors and musicians ask for donations via social media. Gospel singer Lusanda Mcinga also made a painful appeal for any kind of donation.
South African actor Vusi Thanda was also asking for money on social media, claiming he was struggling financially.
Fans and a local sportswear brand opened their wallets and donated over R130 000 to the veteran actor.
Musician Doctor Malinga also begged for support on social media, lamenting the “collapse” of the music and television businesses.