Saftas Celebrate South Africa’s Mzansi Stars in Spectacular Fashion

The main awards evening of this year’s Saftas showcased SA’s most celebrated screen artists – and at least one wardrobe choice that set tongues wagging.

Glitz and glamour against a black and gold backdrop set the scene at this weekend’s 17th annual Saftas (South African Film and Television Awards) at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Gauteng.

Adding to the event’s exuberance was the fact that this was the first ‘in-person’ awards ceremony held in three years, the Covid pandemic having necessitated virtual events from 2020 to 2022.

To ensure all of the live celebrity action kicked off with a bang, a sprawling red carpet awaited guests upon arrival. Setting the glittering tone were the hosts of Saturday evening’s proceedings, media personality Lawrence Maleka and Zozibini Tunzi, aka Miss Universe 2019.

Technical awards were handed out on Friday night in Gallagher’s Hall 3, while the main awards event on Saturday night was broadcast live on SABC3 and Mzansi Magic.

Themed “Our stories flow together”, the awards provided a true showcase of the best of Mzansi’s filmmakers, actors and producers, paying tribute to top performers in a multitude of categories.

Lifetime Achiever awards were bestowed on Carte Blanche anchor and journalist Derek Watts, who died in August, and legendary cinematographer Koos Roets, for their contribution to the country’s film and TV industry over several decades.

Joining the royalty of SA’s entertainment industry was Minister of Sport, Arts, and Culture Zizi Kodwa, as well as representatives of the National Film and Video Foundation, including NFVF acting CEO Thobela Mayinje.

Mayinje congratulated all the winners. “We are excited by all the films now shown at international festivals and markets,” she said, mentioning features such as Sihle Hlophe’s Lobola, A Bride’s True Price? for showcasing “the depth of the South African film and television discourse”.

Netflix SA and kykNET were the biggest winners, raking in 19 and 15 Golden Horns respectively. Silverton Siege, produced by Pambilimedia, scored 12 nominations and won six of these, making it the most-awarded film of Saftas ’23.

Noteworthy when considering the future of SA’s creative-economy industry is that the Best Student Film award went to Shumba – the work of a talented young production crew from AFDA’s Joburg campus.

Justice Served, produced for Netflix by Meraki TV, was the top TV drama series with three awards: best editing, best actor and best actress in a drama series.

However, Lerato Mvelase – the ‘best actress’ in question – may be remembered for all the wrong reasons. Social media users expressed mixed feelings over the extent to which Mvelase’s party frock displayed her fabulous figure.

Some appreciated her look while others said she exposed a little too much. “Lerato is too old for such an outfit. Haibo, Gogo,” said one X user. “Lerato, a mother to a 16-year-old but still wearing that nonsense dress?” exclaimed another.

According to The South African: “Mvelase, who arrived with her two daughters, showed off her stunning physique in a glitzy see-thru two-piece dress. Her skirt, which had a long slit, also exposed the black g-string she had on.”

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