The other day a not so close acquaintance dropped me a line. He was wondering why I have been so quite on the issue of pay television in this country. There I was clutching at the phone with a sweaty paw as my temper ruffled to a boil. My face cramped and I wondered if I was to be blamed for the stagnancy that followed my last stint at the attempt to make sense of the pay tv conundrum that many of you tv heads out there witnessed. Through greeted teeth I told my tormentor that there was nothing to write about. I did not quite believe myself as soon as I said those words. I let my tormentor rumble on. With a hint of disappointment and triumph he said he actually was looking forward to a follow-up to the last article that I have written especially how the scene changed dramatically when Dynamic TV entered the theatre of events at the climax of the plot only to be beaten by the Chinese bidder StarTimes which won the On Digital Media business rescue deal for TopTV.
I must admit that I was quite impressed by the man’s grasp of what I have said recently. There was no way that he was unaware of the Wanachi Group’s entrance as well into the fray to rescue ODM’s TopTV. For a while there I thought I was a lone trail blazer on the landscape of pay television, but then I felt a form of camaraderie with my tormentor. As he went on I saw a brief slash of white light slitting open the writer’s block that cocooned me. And as the slit repaired itself like one of those self regenerating sci-fi monsters during an attack I scavenged with my eyes the little ounce of what my next pen move could be and was reassured when a glimmer of hope burned somewhere in my pensive pang heart. I could write something, I told myself. Yes I could write again. I must confess to you my loyal reader that there is nothing that weighs on one more heavily than the yearning to write again, even if your scribble results in high-grade nonsense. You see some of us write to gain courage as we slash through this outrage we call life. We need writing like a coping dope mechanism. I finally replied to the man who for the past three minutes or so had pinned me down with empty knee jerks of criticism.
Perhaps there is nothing to say anymore. I lied. Is that so? He asked. If that is the case then it means you must leave the pay tv soap opera affair alone altogether because you are not suited to comment on it. He threw what I considered a nuclear bomb and a bubble of hope for my pen rose and busted into a gazillion euphoric *stars* that spelled the word ‘write’ in bold. And the yearning to write again burned me like a child’s craving for candy. I moved my finger to drop the nuisance.
…why did I not drop this mogoe’s call earlier you might ask me. Well for starters that morning I was bored. I had nothing else to do, I tried to sit next to my pc to write something but nothing came out of me. The cursor blinked at me. Then my pungent to pry on other people got the best of me and I ended up surfing the social networks. Groping around checking what people who I had as contacts were up to. Nothing good came out of this and what I picked up, which actually almost spoiled my day, was that one writer that I know had published an article in one of the dailies he is salaried to. As soon as I saw the link to the article I involuntarily followed it and arrived at the paper’s site. I read a few paragraphs and was immediately choked by jealousy at the textual pedigree that he was throwing around, he was in excellent form as he tackled the Poo Protestation Tactic that has taken the country by storm. I closed the site and logged off from the internet altogether flip-closing the laptop with a thud! I stared at it as if it were a terrifying monster salivating at me. Was I a failure?
As the morning winter rays invaded the northern side of my writing room my cell phone jived as it vibrated. And when I said hello I was confronted by my tormentor whose effect on my day served as the opening passages to this present article…
I calmly dropped the man on the other end of the line. I realised that he was actually plunging me into self misery and that the only escape was a calm silent rudeness to him, to drop him as if the connection suddenly went bad. Besides he was rude to a writer. You can’t be rude to a writer through quipping. You gotta write to be rude to a writer. Perhaps in the long run you’ll learn just how solitary writing is. And just how self exposing writing is, and just how much of a stunt you should be if you are to throw your writing into the ocean known as the public domain. It’s like a scream wherein you beg the world to anoint you with a few seconds of fame at the peril of your next move. It is not like sticking your neck around the corner, you are at the corner for the woodcutters to chop you down. So to make a little sense of where we are in the present jotting I will conclude in two paragraphs.
This is the sense I have today. MSG Afrika Holding, part of the consortium that made up Dynamic TV, had a gig later on to launch Power FM. But hitting the rewind button, one can imagine that perhaps what jinxed things for them in the bid for Top TV was that MultiChoice was going to back them with a soft 500 MILLION ZAR loan. Whatever that meant, in the end the competition would’ve been eliminated. The next lining of our dessert wherein Star Times won the bid can be seen simply from a pure angle of a survival game and loyalty to friendship. China has signed numerous agreements with South Africa. Perhaps at a separate occasion we can look at those agreements and see how this country has bound itself to the Dragon and the pros and cons of this relationship as far as development is concerned.
Now that MSG Afrika has launched a radio station, this would be a great time to go back to the drawing board and come up with an idea to tackle the pay television landscape ounce more but from a different angle. Here is an idea that they can spin-spun while they are at it: tackle On Demand Television/Video On Demand/VOD offering in South Africa by launching an internet based decoder or internet application for PC, cell phones, tablet users that wires one to receive television programs or channels that they would prefer to watch – now that’s Ultra Choice if you ask me. But wait for it, …you can always call it Dynamic On Demand Tele Vision, with the motto – Africa’s first pay as you see television. I assure them that with this move they will be fighting at the front-line of pay tv revolution in this country.
© Mmutle Arthur Kgokong 2013