e.TV sure knows how to throw a party. This isn't the first time I've said this and sure, you might be getting tired of me saying it. Last night, we attended the launch of e.TV's newest telenovela, Ashes to Ashes . The new drama has been highly anticipated and revolves around the life of the Namane family, who are in the funeral parlour business.
Funeral parlours don't sound extremely exciting but when the business is filled with dark secrets, the right and wrong kinds of love as well as a sprinkling of crime here and there, then your perception changes. One of the biggest talking points ahead of the show's official launch was, the cast. It's been long rumoured that e.TV had approached and recruited several ex Generations stars for the show. We spoke to one of the infamously axed 16, Thatho Molamu, who shared his thoughts on the matter.
"Look rumours are rumours, but at the end of the day, regardless of who e.TV approached people also need to remember that this is business. In business talent speaks. Great cast and a great story line, and this show [Ashes to Ashes] will go far"
Before we knew it, we were seated and eagerly awaiting the big announcement, while we were entertained by the likes of Bruno (From Rhythm City) and the always charming Khanyi Mbau, who was our host for the night.
One by one, each actor on the upcoming Ashes to Ashes stepped out and introduced not only themselves, but their character on the show too.
Patrick Shai, Nambitha Mpumlwana, Zenande Mfenyane, Maggie Benedict and Mandla Gaduka were the five names on the cast list who raised the most eyebrows simply because they were all previously actors on THAT OTHER SOAPIE ON SABC 1. Alongside them stood Craig Urbani (Who dubbed himself the "token white guy") and Nyaniso Dzedze who completed the cast announcement.
#BringItHome was the official hashtag and slogan for the night while the term "regeneration" was bandied as a theme. Was the latter a coincidental play on words? (Of course not).
As soon as the media had an opportunity to ask questions, it was no surprise to see questions directed at the five former Generations stars. I was particularly pleased to see Nambitha Mpumlwana take the bull by the horns here.
"Let's address the elephant in the room. Yes, we left Generations but that is in the past. We are excited to be a part of this production"
Everybody was jovial. Everybody was excited to be moving forward with this exciting project. As a member of the media, I have to say, the excitement even transcended across the room and into the notes I was taking. It's about time somebody challenged the bully that Generations has become at 8PM, stealing all of our lunch money and calling us names (Or in this case, requiring us to tune in for sub standard storylines)
OFF TOPIC ENTIRELY BUT... how hot did Khanyi Mbau look last night?
Amongst the various slogans and themes that were shared on the night, the one message that everybody continued to emphasise was that, at e.TV, you are not just part of a cast, a team or a channel. You are part of a family.
You feel like less of a viewer, and more of a cousin when you tune in. The emotional investment and passion that goes into each of their productions these days has less to do with boasting and bullying, and more to do with creating a program to which millions of people can relate. This is why we are so excited about Ashes to Ashes.
e.TV has shown bravery, boldness and the ability to seize an opportunity by recruiting the talent it has for this production. That speaks volumes about the kind of ambition they have and the direction in which they are headed as a channel.
But an even louder sound than that was the camraderie amongst everyone in attendance last night. e.TV's mantra could not have been more well emphasized than when Khanyi Mbau brought the Rhythm City cast up to the stage and asked them "What do you have to say to the newbies, the new kids?"
Mduduzi Mabaso took the mic and responded: