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PICTURE: Jurgen Marx

JUST because the production has the highest viewership numbers or trends on social media every time they are broadcast, this doesn’t guarantee them awards.

And this weekend, this theory was proved at the 11th South African Film and Television Awards where some of the local favourite shows were left empty handed when 181 judging panelists opted for "quality over quantity”.

According to legendary actor and playwright Dr John Kani, who is one of the overall head judges of the awards alongside actor Jerry Mofokeng and film producer Firdoze Bulbulia, said when picking the nominees for this year’s awards they dealt with “honesty in pursuit of excellence”.

“It’s very difficult for us to pick who will be the deserving winner so we had to leave it to the auditors. The process was honest, creative and these judges had a passion for the industry of South Africa,” said Kani.

And the tallying left some viewership favourites out, as productions such as Sunday night drama Saints and Sinners, top earning flick Happiness is a Four Letter Word and highly viewed soapies Isidingo, Uzalo and Generations clinched zero golden horns.

The three soapies this month generated big viewership figures according to the Broadcast Research Council of South Africa which showed that SABC1 soap Uzalo scored over 8,1million viewers while its competitor on the same channel Generation: The Legacy had 7935512 viewers last month. SABC3 soapie Isidingo had just over 1million viewers while drama show Saint and Sinners generated 888459 viewers.

Popular film Happiness is a Four Letter Word which made over R13million in Box Office according to NFVF Box Office Report in June last year, also walked away with nothing at the award ceremony.

The main show which was hosted by 5FM's Thando Thabethe and Expresso’s Katlego Maboe, proved to be a night of success for Mzansi Magic telenovela The Road which was canned last year after four months of its launch after only 128 episodes under its belt of the expected 208 episodes.

They led the television soap and telenovela sub-category taking four golden horns for best telenovela, best post production editing, best production design and best wardrobe, make-up and hair categories.

Bomb Shelter productions - which owns Yizo-Yizo, Isibaya and The Road- producer, Kutlwano Ditsele said they were “happy" with the outcome of the awards despite The Road being canned last year.

“The channel believed in the show, the people who worked on it gave it their all and held back nothing, but this didn’t mean that the audience would understand and love the show, which is why it was short lived.

“There is no discussion on the show returning, but we have to find the right audience for such shows,” said Ditsele.

Mandla Gaduka PICTURE: Jurgen Marx

In the same sub-category, Isibaya earned one gong while High Rollers managed to score three award with actor Antony Coleman getting the best actor award. Tina Jaxa was awarded the best actress for her role in eTV soap Gold Diggers, Linda Sebezo from Greed and Desire earned the best supporting actress and Mandla Gaduka received the best supporting actor for his role in Ashes to Ashes.

In the feature film sub-category, movie Noem My Skollie which was selected for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Oscars scored five awards with it’s lead actor Dann-Jaques Mouton scooping best actor and Abdurahgmaan Adams getting best supporting actor.

Dann-Jaques Mouton

Abdurahgmaan Adams

They went head to head with Afrikaans drama flick Sink clinched the best feature film award while its actress Shoki Mokgapa received best actress award.

Other films that won included Modder en Bloed who walked away with two awards while Anant Singh’s production Shepherds and Butchers scored one award for its directing by Oliver Schmitz.

Said Schmitz: "I thank you for this honour and apologise profusely that I cannot be with you, I am shooting at the moment and that made it impossible for me to come. I salute my fellow nominees and the new generation of directors in South Africa who mare making big strides despite the difficulties and uncertainties that mark our profession".

Sink crew

Nominated in the best actor category for his role in Shepherds and Butchers Garion Dowds who’s father Ashley and brother Connor are also big named local actors, said although he didn’t win, he was "blown away by the nomination".

“I did not expect to be nominated with two of the best actors in South Africa, this was quite an honour,” said Dowds.

Warren Masemola

In the drama sub-category it was Kyknet’s Bloed Broers and eTV’s Heist that lead with five awards each. Mofokeng - a head judge for the awards won best actor for Heist while Warren Masemola scored a best best supporting actor, making it his second award after winning best supporting actor in a sitcom for his role in Ses’ Top La.

Anele Mdoda

Other winners included Anele Mdoda who scored the best talk show host award, while singer Karen Zoid’s show Republic van Zoid scored best talk show, Thembisa Mdoda won the best television presenter award as voted for by the public and American concept show The Voice South Africa scored best international format show.

PICTURE: Jurgen Marx/ SAFTAs11

Lifetime achievement award was awarded to Lydia Mokhokoloshi, an actress on Skeem Saam who many may recall on SABC drama Bophelo Ke Semphekgo as a fiesty mother to playboy son Nkosheng.

Isibaya was the overall winning soapie which was voted by the public as they best soapie of 17 soapies which excluded Skeem Saam and Muvhango who “didn’t enter the awards”. - article published in Sunday Times

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