Perhaps Ugandan content producers will now rise to the challenge and craft content for DStv’s reconstituted Maisha Magic East channel 158 now available across all bouquets. The channel comes on the heels of the closure of the more upper-palate Maisha Magic (channel 161) that was retired on May 31, 2015. The new channel 158 is a re-formatting of Maisha Magic Swahili and now constitutes content from the diverse East African indigenous languages. Apart from Swahili, it now has a sprinkling of Kikuyu, Sheng, Luziba and our own Luganda. The bulk of the programming is from the East African country trio of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.
And there in lies Uganda’s challenge. While Kenya and Tanzania can boast prolific audio-visual sectors that are visibly filling the programming hours on Maisha Magic East with content, Uganda has little to show literally apart from shows that have already aired on free-to-air TV locally. OMG, Kakibe Ki, Katemba Mu Kooti, Deception and Don’t Mess With Kansiime are the shows flying the Ugandan flag on Maisha Magic East. OMG has aired on Bukedde TV, Kakibe Ki, Katemba Mu Kooti and Deception are NTV staples while Don’t Mess With Kansiime had its first run on (Kenya’s) Citizen TV before the stellar comedienne was lured to Africa’s premiere pay-TV platforms.
Ugandan content creators could pray for hefty commissioning budgets from DStv akin to the over 50 films that were commissioned prior to the launch of the now defunct Maisha Magic in September 2014. Alternatively, we could just spur exponential growth in the audio-visual sector a la Bongowood in Tanzania and just inundate pay-TV gatekeepers with hidden cinematic gems that haven’t yet seen the light of day. Either way, Maisha Magic East is now more accessible than its “haughty” predecessor. And it’s truly ours for the taking.
Text: MOSES SERUGO (firstname.lastname@example.org)