The critics’ thumbs-up

Nicole Fritz

Television critics at South Africa’s largest daily newspapers have generally given the thumbs-up to the SABC’s new programme line-up on its three television channels.

But Beeld’s critic Andries Cornelissen is critical of the continued use of dubbing. If the SABC wants to reflect South African society, it musn’t look to dubbed programmes. Afrikaans local dramas have always been of a high quality and most viewers would prefer a local programme to dubbed series such as Beverly Hills 90210.

And Sowetan’s Mojalefa Mashego echoes these reservations: It is ridiculous to have American series dubbed into African languages. Mashego believes the SABC should be looking to other African countries for programmes if it wants to fulfill its promise of becoming a more African-oriented institution.

Most problematic for many black viewers is the current practise of broadcasting news in two African languages. Says one viewer: It is uncomfortable for me, who understands both languages; it must be a waste of time for those who only understand one of the languages.

Many viewers have been pleasantly suprised by the new state of affairs. Transformation in South Africa has attracted connotations of rigid political correctness and, says The Star’s Janet Smith, a lot of people were expecting RDP programming. English programmes have received the most favourable reception, with the high standard of prime-time viewing putting many viewers in the unfamiliar position of being spoilt for choice.

Cornelissen has received phone calls from Afrikaans viewers saying they can’t find news or programmes they understand. But, adds another Afrikaans commentator, much of the resentment generated among Afrikaners by the relaunch is not so much the changes in programming, but the loss of power [the relaunch] represents.

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