All that glitters is not Golden at the SAFTAs

2010-02-13 13:48

In its fourth year now, the South African Film and Television

(SAFTAs) awards is yet to achieve the same cult status the South African Music

Awards (SAMAs).

The awards which celebrate the best in the music biz has become

the event to be at on the South African social calendar.

The Golden Horns which

it is commonly referred to (named after the actual award handed out at ceremony)

however seems to be a train stuck in transit as it still hasn’t made its mark

amongst the South African public.

The SAFTAs recognise outstanding achievements in the film and

television industry but instead it has been marred with criticism and debacle

since its birth.

First, the cast and crew of popular soapie Generations

boycotted the awards after not being nominated.

Then there were complaints about

the length of the awards which begin at 3 in the afternoon and end after ten in

the evening.

Another criticism of the awards is the great trek that people have

to make the ceremony which is held at the State Theatre in Pretoria.

The awards are usually attended by 2 200 people willing to endure

all this in support of the local entertainment industry.

The awards which began

in 2005 were started by the National Video Foundation of South Africa (NVF) with

the intention of honouring, those in the arts.

According to the SAFTAs’ project

manager Azania Muendane the awards came about as a result of people working in

the industry who wanted to be recognised for their craft.

“The entertainment

industry is a big driving force both socially and economically so there was a

need for it to be recognized.

"There was no significant change in the TV and film

industry which warranted the awards but professionals of the industry wanted a

platform to be recognised for their hard work and talent,” says Muendane.

The panel of the judges which consist of various television and

film bodies choose the categories which are based on nominations received from

various TV channels.

Winners are chosen by the judges and certain awards such as

best soapie and lifetime achievement awards are chosen by the general public

based upon motivations received from them.

Thus far stalwarts like Mary Twala,

Moosa Moosa and Kevin Harris have been honoured.

This year’s nominees include a total of 18 categories which range

from nominations such as Best Actor and Best Actress, to Best Talkshow and Best

short Film.

Muendane says that while there are 73 awards which are dished out

during the course of the event, the organizers have tried to shorten the event

by combining award categories together.

He admits that its difficult to exclude

categories all together: “The real pain of awards is that they are long, all

over the world it is the same but is difficult to exclude certain people for

their hard work for the sake of time. It wouldn’t be fair.”

While Muendane says the awards will be slightly shorter than last

year’s she also adds that the awards will not be anything more significant then

the last few years: “Although the country is looking forward to the 2010 World

Cup, the awards do not aim to make one year better than the last.

"Because the

awards are industry based we do not want to take away anything from previous

winners by setting a barometer for the SAFTAs.”

The actual award is the Golden Horn which consists of three heads

on the statue which is suppose to symbolize the idea of the creative energy as

part of a team which is meant to represent working as a team.

The award is

moulded around the Lydenberg Heads that date back to 800 AD discovered in the

Southern African region.

These three figure heads are found on objects that

recognize the leaders in their fields and specifically represent excellence in

visual creative arts, performance and drama.

)The SAFTAs take place at the Pretoria State Theatre on 20



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