UZALO, SABC1’s telenovela, has not only captured South African audiences through compelling entertainment content (more than five million viewers tuned in the first month of airing) but it is also proving to be an economic engine, bringing new jobs and economic opportunities to KwaZulu-Natal’s developing TV and film industry.
Approximately R20-million has been spent on local procurement on human capital and infrastructure investment. A considerable amount of the production’s budget supports local industries such as the hospitality, property leasing and transport businesses in the Durban and KwaMashu areas. UZALO is filmed and produced entirely in Durban and KwaMashu township. UZALO, a Stained Glass Pictures production, is a wholly SABC-funded project that forms part of the public broadcaster’s regional TV development strategy.
Although KwaZulu-Natal has displayed leadership and innovation in a number of key industries including tourism, manufacturing and logistics, the province’s share of the local TV production industry is estimated at less than 8%.
The presence of UZALO in KwaZulu-Natal has had far-reaching benefits ranging from skills and SMME development and job opportunities. Local residents have so far benefited from employment opportunities, which are permanent and casual in nature. At least 39 crew trainees have received on-the-job training, ensuring skills transfer with an express aim to build up the province’s TV production capacity. A bulk of the on-screen talent featured on UZALO and behind-the-scenes production crew is recruited from KwaZulu-Natal, which begins to stem the creative brain-drain from the province and in turn grows the support industries of TV production industry.
UZALO airs Mondays to Wednesdays at 20:30 on SABC1.