Friday, August 29, 2014

Deen TV starts Deen TV News tonight at 19:00 as the channel adds its first-ever primetime TV news bulletin slot to the schedule.

Deen TV (StarSat  355 / OVHD 152) is suddenly starting TV news with the growing South African lifestyle TV channel with an Islamic ethos starting a primetime TV news bulletin, Deen TV News, from tonight at 19:00 with news anchor Danyal Zaal (left).

Deen TV News will provide world news and cover breaking stories during the primetime TV segment.

Faizal Sayed, CEO of Deen TV who is also the host of his own TV talk show on the channel, says the primetime TV news is in response for the demand for current affairs information from viewers.

"Deen TV tested the readership response from the website and feels that viewers are now expecting to see the news," says Faizal Sayed. "It falls in line with my global picture and news is a global matter".

"One of the the big focuses of Deen TV News is to educate and uplift people through the news and other segments". It's envisioned that in future Deen TV News could become its own 24-hour TV news channel as the channel's news operations and newsroom grows.

"I look forward to growing with Deen TV News and gaining the interest of the world through spreading global awareness of breaking news and its coverage," says Danyal Zaal.

"I believe the unique element of community notices within the news bulletin will be well-received by the public and we urge people to submit their points of interest for consideration," says Hassim Jogee, the KwaZulu-Natal regional director of Deen TV.

"This fresh, new approach will supply viewers with international, local and community news," says Hassim Jogee.

Vidi from Times Media to launch in September in South Africa as a brand-new video-on-demand (VOD) service to compete with DStv.

Vidi from the Times Media Group (TMG) will be launched in September in South Africa as a brand-new video-on-demand (VOD) service that will compete with MultiChoice's DStv BoxOffice to provide TV shows and films to South African consumers as a commercial service.

Similar to MultiChoice's DStv BoxOffice which currently charges R27, Vidi will also make use of the window between cinema showings and movies being distributed for DVD rentals.

The Afrikaans movie, Die Windpomp, will for instance be released on Vidi and DStv BoxOffice on 12 September.

Times Media Group owns TV channels like BusinessDay TV (and newspapers like Business Day, The Sunday Times and The Sowetan) and Nu Metro Cinemas.

Vidi's pricing plan and details for the on-demand video service will be revealed by Times Media on 10 September in Johannesburg. Vidi is of course Latin for "I saw".

Vidi will be an online service only, similar to DStv BoxOffice Online. Customers who will be paying per rental, will have to stream the rented video content to their computer or tablet.

With Africa's growing Ebola outbreak spreading, comes concern over the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards planned for Tanzania.

With the outbreak of the deadly Ebola diseas in Africa's growing and accelerating, comes concern over the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards 2014 planned to take place in Tanzania.

To be clear: There's been no reported and confirmed cases of Ebola in Tanzania; there's been no international travel restrictions placed on visiting or leaving Tanzania, and there's no fear about travelling to Tanzania.

Health authorities in Africa and internationally are however advising caution regarding international travel in and to Africa generally with travel advisories which had been issued.

What has however been happening is that confirmed cases of Ebola, the latest outbreak of which started in West Africa, have been inching closer and closer to the East Africa country of Tanzania and others.

Confirmed cases of Ebola have been reported in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) - which is now only one country (Burundi) removed from Tanzania.

The CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards which alternates bi-annually between South Africa and another African country, is supposed to be taking place in Tanzania on Saturday 18 October in Dar Es Salaam.

Whether Africa's most prestigious competition rewarding excellence in journalism on the continent will continue if Ebola spreads to Tanzania is not clear, nor whether the organisers have started looking at an alternative country, or would perhaps hold it in South Africa again where its logistically easiest to mount the awards show production and the education conference.

On Thursday the World Health Organisation (WHO) said the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is actually accelerating and that more than 3 000 people have now been infected. The WHO said that 20 000 people might become ill before this Ebola outbreak subsides.

MultiChoice and CNN International both tell TV with Thinus the pan-African satellite pay-TV platform and the international TV news channel are "monitoring the situation so as to ensure plans are adopted effectively".

Nicole Scherzinger coming to South Africa to perform at ANN7's inaugural South African of the Year Awards on 6 September.

Nicole Scherzinger will be heading to South Africa to perform at ANN7's inaugural South African of the Year Awards (SATY's).

The singer and TV personality will jet to South Africa to join South African artists like Lira, Mafikizolo, Zahara, MiCASA and Junior Mambazo who will all entertain an elite roster of guests as the 24-hour TV news channel announce the winners in various categories.

The South African 24-hour TV news channel run by Infinity Media on MultiChoice’s DStv satellite pay-TV platform, just turned one year old this month.

ANN7 (DStv 405) improved its ANN7 Prime flagship nightly news programme during primetime, did away with weather girls doing the weather reports and added the South African of the Year Awards campaign which lured over 500 000 votes.

The SATY's will take place on 6 September in Johannesburg at the Sandton Convention Centre, which the news channel plans to be a celebration of extraordinary South Africans which South Africans had the chance to vote for.

Winners will be announced in categories like trendsetting celebrity of the year, sportsperson of the year, business person of the year, young South African of the year and South African of the year.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

kykNET on DStv adds brand-new actuality timeslot with new programming strands and presenters every weeknight from 6 October.

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M-Net's Afrikaans language TV channel kykNET (DStv 144) is adding a brand-new late-night actuality timeslot with new programmes and presenters as a fixed new programming strand which will run on every weeknight from Monday 6 October.

From Monday 6 October viewers will be able to tune in for new actuality and magazine shows like Insig with Waldimar Pelser who is the editor of the Afrikaans Sunday newspaper Rapport; while kykNET is reviving one of its first local actuality shows, the longrunning studio talk show Prontuit and is even bringing back the original presenter Mariëtta Kruger.

The new kykNET actuality timeslot is in response to viewers demanding less repeats and more regularly updated magazine and actuality programming which changes more often than other serialised and heavily repeated shows.

The new weekday actuality slot on kykNET will feature various programmes ranging from politics and economic issues to business, culture, the arts, fashion and even satire.

The increase in new Afrikaans programming on kykNET comes at the same time that the SABC moved the bulk of Afrikaans programming permanently from SABC2 to SABC3, the public broadcaster's TV channel with the smallest footprint, making several Afrikaans TV shows less accessible to millions of terrestrial TV viewers in South Africa.

In July the SABC lied and said the move of the Afrikaans TV news bulletin from SABC2 to SABC3 as well as programming was only temporary, although it had already been planned as a permanent move.

The SABC also ordered the Afrikaans soap 7de Laan on SABC2 to reduced the amount of Afrikaans.

Besides Waldimar Pelser, Yvonne Beyers and Mariëtta Kruger kykNET viewers will also see iconic South African soap star Shaleen Surtie-Richards becoming a TV presenter, as well as Jody Abrahams, Bouwer Bosch, Santie Botha, Kabous Meiring, Kim Cloete, Divan Botha, Fanie Cronjé, Francois Toerien and Melt Sieberhagen fronting shows from October in the actuality timeslot.

"At kykNET, we continuously strive to improve and renew our schedule," says Karen Meiring, M-Net's director of Afrikaans channels.

"Our viewers' need for more relevant actuality programming was the reason behind the decision to make our available late night slots more actuality-driven, instead of repeating programmes".

"We not only want to inform and entertain, but also expand on everyday issues to stimulate conversation. This is a major move to something fresh and highly exciting – a brand new late night lineup that'll get tongues wagging on screen and across all social and other media".

Technical issues sees kykNET on DStv repeat Villa Rosa and Kwêla on Wednesday evening instead of showing new episodes.

Viewers were upset on Wednesday evening when kykNET (DStv 144) repeated the previous day's episode of the Afrikaans language soap Villa Rosa, as well as the previous week's episode of the Afrikaans magazine show Kwêla.

kykNET told TV with Thinus on Thursday it was due to "technical problems".

kykNET said that the proper episode of Kwêla would be played out during the repeat broadcast timeslots on Friday at 10:00 and 00:00, Saturday at 18:00, Sunday at 13:00 and Monday at 08:30.

"We apologise to viewers for the inconvenience and continue to endeavour to ensure the faultless playout of shows," says the channel.

EXCLUSIVE. Anele Mdoda to moderate new SABC3 talk show, Tongue in Cheek, with panel including Sashi Naidoo, Carolyn Steyn and Michael de Pinna.

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I can exclusively reveal and break the news that Anele Mdoda is returning to a regular public television gig as the moderator of a new local TV talk show that SABC3 is adding, with Tongue in Cheek which is set to start on Tuesday 9 September at 20:30 with an emsemble panel of talkers which will include Sashi Naidoo, Michael de Pinna and socialite Carolyn Steyn.

Tongue in Cheek will be similar in style to the American TV talk shows The Talk seen on M-Net and The View which was seen on SABC3 but since its a later night, primetime talk show the topics and conversations will be more risque, often with more controversial talk, and more serious topics in between lighter discussions including entertainment and popular culture.

Recorded in an upmarket house in Johannesburg, there will be 13 episodes in the first season of Tongue in Cheek with comedian Anele Mdoda moderating the panel who will bring divergent viewpoints.

The panel will include socialite Carolyn Steyn (wife of the insurance mogul Douw Steyn), the model and TV presenter Sashi Naidoo who will do red carpet coverage and inserts as a "roving" reporter, as well as Michael de Pinna, the only male on the panel (and best-known as the leopard-skin wearing yuppie in Vodacom's TV commercials).

Tongue in Cheek will discuss one serious topic per week, but then the main feature would be about what happened in the world, then the serious topic or issues, and then more light-hearted subjects.

A local celebrity will visit Tongue in Cheek weekly to sit down with the panel to talk about health or fitness. The show is literally "tongue in cheek" and will be a bit riskier than normal talk shows - it's like what and how ladies would be discussing and talking about on a night out with girlfriends.

Tongue in Cheek will be an opinionated show with Anele Mdoda, Carolyn Steyn, Sashi Naidoo and Michael de Pinna who were selected to be from different walks of life and different background and to bring those viewpoints to the talker.

Whatever the serious topic is, there will be 13 - one for every episode - and the panel will discuss it with an expert in the field. Tongue in Cheek will also cover what's been happening on the red carpet which could see editors and journalists from entertainment magazines joining the panel.

Tongue in Cheek will close every week with a celebrity visit, the show is hoping to attract international stars to sit down with the panel who might be in South Africa or visiting the country over the next 13 weeks.

The idea of Tongue in Cheek is to be an hour long new local TV talk show, broken up into three segments being gossip, a main serious topic and then celebrity update or health and fitness. A lot of it will be deep, there might very well be clashes between the panelists and a lot of it will be controversial.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

BREAKING. eNCA on DStv getting a new on-air look from 1 September as the South African 24-hour TV news channel gets a 'fresh design'.

eNCA (DStv 403), the most watched 24-hour South African TV news channel is getting an on-air facelift and visual identity revamp which will come into effect from 1 September.

eNCA is dumping the red and blue mosaic glass tiles and replacing the eNCA logo with a uniform and one dimensional turqoise African continent outline and a simplified and stripped-down "eNCA" font overlay in baby blue and red.

The on-air look and logo redesign comes with aerial cityscape backdrops to make eNCA look more "urban" and will extend to all stings and graphics. The one year old website will also change and do a rebrand.

"News is constantly changing because our reality is evolving," says Cecil Lyons, the head of marketing at eNCA. "The new look is contemporary and urban," says Cecil Lyons.

eNCA remains the most watched 24-hour TV news channel available in South Africa and the most watched of the three South African 24-hour TV news channels.

FIRED GENERATIONS CAST: SABC 'an embarrassment' says iconic John Kani; SABC and MMSV Productions want to 'dispose of actors like diapers'.

In an emotional speech, the iconic and highly respected South Africa actor, playwright, director and producer John Kani lashed the beleaguered SABC, calling the South African public broadcaster "an embarrassment", following the shocking sacking of the Generations cast by the SABC and Mfundi Vundla's MMSV Productions.

John Kani said the SABC and MMSV Productions is trying to "dispose the actors like diapers".

John Kani blasted the SABC and MMSV Productions, likening the SABC's actions to oppressive apartheid behaviour. "It [the firing] carries the residue of an apartheid-style master, servant relationship," he said. 

"I have stab wounds, I have evaded assassination and I spent time in detention. This is not what I fought for as an actor".

The shock firing of the principal cast of South Africa's biggest TV show and the SABC's biggest cash cow making hundreds of millions per year for the broadcaster, sent shock waves though the South African TV industry with very vocal criticism continuing to build from the industry demanding reform and regulations regarding actors' contracts and fees.

The Generations cast was dismissed last Monday after a weeklong stayaway when the cast demanded the long-overdue three year contracts the SABC's famously matricless chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng promised them in June 2013, as well as higher pay rates, and the payment of residuals for rebroadcasts as well as international sales of the show.

The SABC wanted to pay the Generations actors R3 000 once-off in residuals for a decade of Generations rebroadcasts but the cast, organised as the Generations Actors Guild (GAG) balked.

Yesterday in Newtown at the Barney Simon theatre the Generations cast, wearing black and white, took to the stage at a press conference, supported by highly respected industry heavy-weights like John Kani's whose own son, Atandwa Kani, was fired.

"Because the conditions we work under are still master and servant, we are disposable like diapers. The problem is the change of mindset. We are equal. Overseas series and soaps don't have this problem where actors are disposable," said John Kani.

"They know that the value of the series is dependent on these individuals, actors, continuing in their artistic excellence to create these characters".

"It's very sad for me to say that I've just done a series with iNkaba with Mzansi Magic and M-Net. I was treated with incredible respect. I don't know how the SABC and MMSV Productions don't understand that. Artists - lets know what we are worth," said John Kani.

"It's arrogance, it's stupidity to think you can tell these actors in one letter you are all fired. Come on guys, we didn't struggle for this? We didn't spent our lives in the struggle so that we could be treated like we're in apartheid."

"Lets make sure no-one walks on the set of Generations. I don't care whether its the script writer, the editor, or the boom carrier, technicians. We will block the doors. We will not continue this treatment," said John Kani.

"To our union: This is the time we block the doors of Generations. This is the time we stand up and make sure that these actors are taken back".

John Kani said he is "embarrassed by the Generations salaries". "I've worked for much more money since the 70s. An average of R55 000 for Generations is working for below a slave's salary. I wouldn't work for that for a day as an on-call actor on Generations."

"Lets do something. Because if you don't do anything, Muvhango actors will be fired tomorrow, 7de Laan actors tomorrow, isiBaya tomorrow, Zabalaza tomorrow. All of them would be fired tomorrow - because we did nothing," said John Kani.

"These Generations actors don't deserve to be treated with such disrepect. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

BREAKING. Platco Digital's OpenView HD wins! Court dismiss SABC application to have its TV channels pulled from OpenView HD.

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One more highly embarrassing loss for the beleaguered SABC: The court has dismissed, with cost, the application from the South African public broadcaster to have it's TV channels pulled from Platco Digital's OpenView HD (OVHD) free-to-air satellite platform.

The South Gauteng High Court ruled in favour of Platco Digital and dismissed the SABC application with cost. 

The SABC went to court to force Platco Digital to not launch and carry SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3 as TV channels.

Platco Digital with its head office in Johannesburg is backed by's parent company Hosken Consolidated Investments (HCI), and HCI owns Sabido Investments which has a two-thirds investment in Sabido.

The SABC brought an interdict against Platco Digital to prevent Platco from carrying SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3 on OVHD, or to use the SABC's brands (like channel logos) for marketing or promotional purposes of the new satellite TV service.

The SABC said that there was no agreement between the SABC and to carry and broadcast its TV channels on OpenView HD, while Platco Digital said that there is an agreement to carry and broadcast the channels.

According to Platco, it would be carrying the SABC's three TV channels for 18 months for free, after which the SABC would be charged equitable, reasonable and market related rates.

According to the court judgement of judge Moroa Tsoka, "there's no special circumstances entitling the SABC to final relief".

"OpenView HD has since its launch attracted more viewers which were unable to view SABC channels in spite of the fact that they own a TV set and by operation of the law are expected to pay a SABC licence," says the judgement. 

"The granting of an interdict would harm Platco and's reputation among these viewers. Furthermore, an interdict would result in them losing these viewers and would harm their reputation to attract new viewers".

"Platco and's reputation among decoder manufacturers, decoder retailers, distributors and providers of other TV channels would be irreparably harmed. Their ability to make inroads into the broadcasting market and compete with pay-TV would also be irreparably harmed," judge Moroa Tsoka said.

The judge said the SABC failed to prove a clear right, and failed to prove that it has no alternative relief other than an interdict against Platco Digital. 

According to the court, Platco Digital and in good faith also prepared a detailed written agreement addressing the SABC's concerns. "To date the SABC failed to react to the said agreement," says the judgment.

BREAKING. Fired Generations actors to return to work; cast and SABC to sit down in negotiation meeting today or tomorrow.

The fired Generations actors will return to work.

Talks will start between the Generations Actors Guild, the SABC and production company Morula Pictures at a meeting held today or tomorrow to reinstate the fired actors who were dismissed last Monday.

Minister of arts and culture Nathi Mthethwa met with the fired principal cast of the biggest TV show in South Africa and the SABC's biggest soap on Monday who sat down in an emotional meeting with the SABC management and the interim committee of the Cultural and Creative Industries Federation of South Africa.

MMSV Productions and the SABC fired the Generations cast last Monday after a week long stayaway, prompted by MMSV Productions and the SABC's failure to make good on promised three year contracts the SABC's famously matricless chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng in June 2013 told the cast they would get.

The cast also wanted pay rate adjustments and back payments on residuals for rebroadcasts as well as international sales of the show which has not been paid.

"It is a significant step in the right direction that both the actors and the SABC have arrived at this stage where they are willing to engage in talks to find a solution to this matter," says Nathi Mthethwa.

"Everyone accepts that we are dealing with substantive issues that cannot be resolved overnight but require principled commitment and time to move us forward".

Monday, August 25, 2014

MultiChoice's new DStv HD Decoder at R799 - DStv Explora's new 'little brother' - replaces DStv SD decoder.

MultiChoice is bringing a new DStv decoder with high definition (HD) ability to the South African market, called DStv HD Decoder and selling for R799 with installation.

The DStv HD Decoder is manufactured in South Africa by Altech UEC in Durban in KwaZulu-Natal.

The DStv HD Decoder keeps with the pebble shaped form, look and a customisation of the outer shell of MultiChoice's top-line DStv Explora, but has no PVR functionality like its big brother.

The DStv HD Decoder is released in conjunction with the South African satellite pay-TV platform making more of its TV channels available in HD to lower-tiered DStv packages as HD broadcasting in Southern Africa continues to make inroads.

The DStv HD Decoder also comes with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound and is replacing the existing DStv SD decoder.

"We recently made HD channels available to all DStv customers with the necessary HD equipment," says Mark Rayner, the chief operating officer (COO) of MultiChoice South Africa. "This decoder now makes those HD channels more accessible".

Sunday, August 24, 2014

BREAKING. SABC forces dramatic changes to 7de Laan; SABC2 soap apparently too Afrikaans and not multicultural enough.

Dramatic changes are coming to 7de Laan on SABC2 - the SABC's biggest and only predominantly Afrikaans language weekday soap - since the show is apparently too Afrikaans and not multicultural enough according to SABC executives.

The drama and upheaval behind the 14 year old Danie Odendaal Productions soap, set in the fictional Johannesburg suburb of Hillside, is the second big SABC soap set for drastic on-screen changes.

The 7de Laan shocker comes at the same time that scandal has engulfed the SABC's biggest weekday soap Generations, following a week long walk out by the principal cast over multiple remuneration and contract issues which had been simmering for months, with the SABC and Morula Pictures which fired the 16 actors this past Monday.

While 7de Laan is remaining on SABC2 - although the SABC Television division at the SABC moved the bulk of Afrikaans language programming in July from SABC2 to SABC3 which has a much smaller broadcasting footprint - a major cut in Afrikaans has been enforced and is on the cards for the soap.

SABC executives apparently also ordered production changes in the on-air cast, as well as behind the scenes because 7de Laan is apparently not multicultural enough.

SABC executives apparently ordered a dramatic cut to specifically Afrikaans in 7de Laan, by possibly as much as 80%.

Besides the cut to specifically the amount of of Afrikaans heard in the popular soap, Danie Odendaal Productions apparently also has to appoint more "non-white" actors to appear on screen in the soap who will not be speaking Afrikaans while subtitles will remain in English only, appoint more "black" crew and creative staff instead of "white" directors and writers, as well as a "black" consultant to advise on storylines.

The SABC didn't respond to media enquiries made on Friday and Saturday seeking comment about the show and the changes ordered.

A spokesperson for Danie Odendaal Productions on Friday told TV with Thinus that Danie Odendaal is unable to speak immediately.

7de Laan had a weekday audience of 1.9 million viewers on SABC2 which has been falling. Latest ratings indicate 1.6 million tuning in.

The falling viewership could possibly be attributed to the fact that ancillary programming in Afrikaans or targeting the same audience as 7de Laan - around the show and serving as lead-in and lead-out programming - no longer exist.

7de Laan has a harder time grabbing and capturing viewers and holding on to those viewers since they're already watching shows on other channels with little incentive programming to pull them and keep them on SABC2 from before, and following after, the soap.

A television industry insider not connected to the show, the past week called 7de Laan a place where "the rats are jumping ship".

Friday, August 22, 2014

DEVELOPING. The next SABC TV soap in for dramatic changes: SABC2's 7de Laan which is 'forced' to change.

Major developing story: The next SABC TV soap in for dramatic changes: SABC2's 7de Laan, "forced" to change.

More on this developing story as possible responses come in from the SABC, SABC2 and elsewhere.

BREAKING. Verna Vels dead at 81; creator of Liewe Heksie, Bennie Boekwurm, SABC's first female programming director dies after cancer struggle.

Verna Vels - creator of the iconic South African television characters Liewe Heksie ("Dear Witchy") and Bennie Boekwurm (Benny Bookworm) who became the SABC's and South African television's first female programming director has died after a battle with cancer. She was 81.

Afrikaans radio station RSG first reported the death of Verna Vels this morning.

Verna Vels died in her sleep last night, whilst battling cancer, diagnosed in December 2013.

Before her death Verna Vels, born Verna Barbara Robertson Vels on 13 June 1933, also worked as a script editor and director at the SABC2 Afrikaans soap 7de Laan, produced by Danie Odendaal Productions and was involved with the soap from its inception.

Verna Vels started working as a radio presenter at the SABC's office in Durban in 1954 and in 1963 she transferred to Auckland Park.

In 1974 as the SABC geared up to launch a TV service and TV1, Verna Vels was appointed to organise the creation of Afrikaans children's TV content at the public broadcaster and under her guidance long running shows like Kraaines, Wielie-Walie and Liewe Heksie were created.

Verna Vels was appointed as the first female programming director of TV1, the then biggest TV channel of the SABC and the highest position a woman held in television broadcasting in South Africa at the time.

She retired from the South African public broadcaster after serving 39 years in 1993.

Verna Vels' most iconic legacy to South African television will however be the creation of the beloved children's show Liewe Heksie - 52 episodes in 1976 - which has seen numerous rebroadcasts over three decades on many TV channels and delighted generation after generation of South African viewers.

Verna Vels also created the character of Bennie Boekwurm on TV1's Wielie-Walie - like Liewe Heksie also actually a radio creation from Siembamba - which she migrated to television.

Verna Vels was the voices of Liewe Heksie, Blommie, Matewis the cat as well as Bennie Boekwurm.

She died in her home in Brixton, Johannesburg after she was diagnosed with cancer in December 2013, and kept visiting the Lonehill set of 7de Laan twice a week as one of the supervising directors, even after starting chemotheraphy. She kept working until May this year.

The SABC paid tribute today to Verna Vels, saying she "played a critical role in the development and execution of programmes at the SABC" and that the SABC "learnt with sadness the passing of Verna Vels who was a respected television and radio personality".

"The SABC board and management on behalf of the corporation send its condolences and prayers to the Vels family during this difficult time".

"Verna's passing is an indescribable loss to us," says Danie Odendaal in a statement. "Her presence, judgement and creative input will be sorely missed", with Daniel Odendaal and Annie Basson calling Verna Vels not "only a much appreciated colleague but also a friend through several decades".

"Her cheerfulness and humour, courage, intelligence and indomitable spirit was a constant source of inspiration for cast and crew, young and old"

"When she was on set all of us had to mind our p's and q's, but there was also heaps of fun and laughter, and lots of strong Douwe Egberts coffee shared".