Digital theatre in South Africa

Shout Africa, a new company here in South Africa, is about to launch digital cinemas in South Africa to give historically disadvantaged people the experiences generally only shared by the wealthier minority for some time now, according to Sithengi:

The majority of our nation has never had an opportunity to make use of accessible and economical cinemas. Furthermore most films shown in South Africa were, and still are, in English. Which precludes a vast number of our population from being able to enjoy going to the movies. This is all about to change. Thanks to a new company called Shout Africa.

Shout Africa will launch twenty digital cinema’s across the country that will give thousands of historically disadvantaged South Africans the chance to enjoy full length feature-films and a true ‘cinema experience’ in their communities. And more importantly, a number of these films will carry sub-titles in the various vernacular languages depending on the area in which they are being shown.

Furthermore, these cinemas will give local producers the opportunity to reach audiences they have previously been denied by ensuring that local content is shown either alongside, or in some cases instead of, foreign productions.

Boing Boing carried an extract of the Variety article on this which was also commented on by some guy named John Horner (is he famous?) who had the following to say:

Do we really believe that the vast majority of South Africans have *never* been to the cinema? I find that very hard to believe, and the press release from Sithengi doesn’t say that either, it says ‘The majority of our nation has never had an opportunity to make use of accessible and economical cinemas’ which is far from the same thing.

I lived for a year in Sudan, one of the poorest countries in the world, which makes South Africa look like Paris France, but everyone still went to the cinema … for certain values of "cinema" of course. It was a sheet against a wall in a building with no roof but I say it counts!

I think the people at Variety have extrapolated hugely, bringing in that ‘legacy of apartheid’ crap themselves and making some rather strange, not to say patronising, first-world assumptions.

I don’t think Horner appreciates what went on here before 1994 when the first majority rule government came to power or the poverty that has persisted, to a degree, since then.  In any event, movie tickets have been so expensive until the last month that the average movie-goer only saw less than four movies a year.






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