Saffron spices up South African TV

Indian channel debuts on DStv satellite service

JOHANNESBURG — Pan-African satcaster MultiChoice launched its first South African-produced Indian channel, Saffron TV, on its DStv satellite service Monday.

The majority of the 1.2-million Indian population is descended from19th century laborers who came to South Africa to work on the sugar plantations of the south coast, with most still resident in the coastal province of KwaZulu-Natal.

They have evolved a separate identity over the years, with many no longer speaking an Indian language or even having known relatives in India..

According to producers Ochre Moving Pictures, the English-language lifestyle and entertainment channel will be a mix of local and international shows covering food, style, beauty and health, as well as Bollywood news and reviews, showbiz gossip, community news and family entertainment..

Aletta Alberts, head of content at MultiChoice, said DStv had launched an Indian bouquet a few years ago that had not done well.

“Research informed us that we had the right content. One day it dawned on us that we were putting the choice into homes where the first language was English — not Indian,” she said. “At about the same time, Stan Joseph (of Ochre) walked through the door with the Saffron TV proposal.”