Skeem Saam is going international.
The popular SABC1 youth soapie has been snapped up for a licensing deal that will see it broadcast in 20 French-speaking African countries. The public broadcaster’s spokes-man Kaizer Kganyago confirmed the ground-breaking rights sale yesterday.
“The SABC licensed certain broadcast rights for Skeem Saam to Canal+Afrique, a French language television channel operator that broadcasts across Francophone Africa. The channel has the right to broadcast the programme through-out the territories in which they operate,” Kganyago said.
The show will be dubbed into French and that’s the only version Canal+Afrique will be allowed to broadcast, Kganyago said.
Canal+Afrique is a major player in digital broadcasting and has a footprint in more than 20 African countries.
Skeem Saam premiered as a weekly drama series in 2011. In 2014, when the popular local soapie Generations ground to a halt, Skeem Saam was given the coveted 8pm primetime slot.
Kganyago said the SABC, as the owner of Skeem Saam, will pay all parties contractually entitled to payment following the sale of the rights to the show. This includes some of the creative staff and the production company.
The SABC maintained that the move was not only commercially viable but also good for the promotion of South African culture on the continent.
“Not only is this an important commercial venture in terms of ensuring the long-term viability of the public broadcaster through diversifying our revenue streams, but it represents an exciting cultural opportunity.
“The SABC has licensed a number of programmes, providing Francophone Africans a window into South African culture,” said Kganyago.
It is believed that this SABC show’s rights are not the only ones to be sold, however details of the licensing rights of other productions are still under wraps.
Skeem Saam spokesman Percy Vilakazi said they still needed to find out which countries would broadcast the drama.
Skeem Saam follows the daily struggles of youngsters in Turfloop, Limpopo, who eventually move to Johannesburg to further their studies.
The show’s popular characters include Leeto and Thabo Maputla.
Leeto’s character is played by Eric Macheru, while Thabo Cornet Mamabolo featured as Thabo Maputla. Mamabolo said they were excited by the move.
“It is a wonderful thing for us as artists. This means more people will see our work. It takes us into the international arena. It might even create opportunities for us in those countries,” he quipped.