Philippi to go on air

Sipho Zena, 32, is the driving force behind the new Philippi TV.

Philippi is set to make history by becoming the first township in the province to launch a television station.

It will be launched on Saturday July 9, with its first programme airing in June next year, and will reach people in areas such as Gugulethu, Nyanga, and Khayelitsha.

Founder, Sipho Zena, said the launch would mark the realisation of his long-held dream.

Since 2003, he said, he has been trying to get the project off the ground, but support and funding remained key challenges. The last attempt was in 2010.

“I always believed I could do it,” he said.

“I am not someone who backs down on something. The support from my family and friends also kept me going.”

Sipho’s courage and perseverance finally paid off last year, when he met a German businessman who assisted him with funding and other plans.

He was so impressed by the 32-year-old Sipho’s dedication, commitment and enthusiasm that he promised to support him – and since then the two have been working closely, roping in scores of other young people into the project.

And it is those young minds who will be driving the initiative, from programming to producing, acting and fulfilling many other essential functions involved in running a television station.

Sipho, who attended Bongolethu Primary School and Sophumelela High School, said he saw how commercial television stations misrepresented township stories.

“They simply do not portray township life the way it is,” he lamented.

“This station is going to be about real life issues. The real township challenges – things that people can relate to, and how to sort out some of their challenges,” said Sipho.

He added that they are currently shooting a series called The Plan. The series, said Sipho, “shows to what length people can go to discredit another one.”

“We are busy with season three,” he said, explaining that seasons one and two had been shown on YouTube.

He said they will continue shooting and showing some of their programmes on YouTube as a marketing strategy.

The station will feature only homegrown programmes such as Asicamteni magenge, talking to people on trains and taxis about real life challenges, Hope and I love you, among others.

The will also be programmes for children including Hlalani nathi.