Chit Chat: Uzanenkosi Mahlangu

2010-12-10 13:29

How did Intersexions come about?

I was in Thailand when the ­tsunami hit in 2007. It certainly made

me realise how people come together in times of disaster. I wanted to write a

script for TV about our biggest disaster, Aids.

How did you decide in which ­direction the story would go?

The virus that causes Aids has a ripple ­effect, so I decided to

look at it from the angle of six degrees of separation.

Did you struggle to get it on the small screen?

At the time, M-Net really wasn’t interested in African stories. An

entire year passed by the time it got into production and the SABC agreed to

pick it up as they were looking for something educational and


Was the show’s resounding success something you anticipated?

I think all producers think they will create a hit show and hope

that people will love it. We all want to give viewers goose bumps and, yes, I

believed I was on to something when I realised the script was real and in line

with views from around the world.

How did the international NGO Johns Hopkins get involved in the


Johns Hopkins wanted to create an edutainment show about Aids, but

knew that the youth doesn’t respond to that kind of thing. They realised that

with Intersexions, that could be entertaining and informative at the same time.

They were involved from start to finish, and believed in the series.

Why do you think aspiring ­artists struggle to break into

mainstream TV?

Budgets are too small and production schedules are simply crazy.

When I left the industry years ago, there were 23 dramas that were unfinished

and still aren’t. The worst of all is that the quality of productions are so

bad. The industry itself has no respect for the process, so there are not enough


Why do you think Intersexions is so successful?

I learnt that if you want to make money from art you can’t do it

without compromise. I made many compromises with Intersexions, but more

importantly I am passionate about the show. That definitely helped with its


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