Johannesburg, June 02, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) —
  • MultiChoice Group, the largest producer of original content on the African continent, is set to debut SHAKA ILEMBE, its biggest ever primetime-drama series.
  • Created by the award-winning South African Emmy and Oscar nominated team at Bomb Productions, with global star Nomzamo Mbatha taking on double billing as lead actress and Executive Producer.

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange listed MultiChoice Group is about to debut it’s biggest ever prime-time drama series, Shaka Ilembe, an epic 12-part tale that follows the origins story of the legendary African monarch and military strategist, King Shaka. Six years in the making, the highly anticipated series boasts the talents of some of South Africa’s biggest stars, including Coming 2 America lead actress Nomzamo Mbatha.

With the epic series launching across sub-Saharan Africa on MultiChoice’s video entertainment service DStv this June, Shaka Ilembe is already attracting significant interest outside of the continent. MultiChoice Studios, the busy sales and distribution arm of the sub-Saharan business, is hard at work introducing the title to international buyers at film markets from Cannes to Los Angeles, building on a growing MultiChoice slate of original production exports including the Emmy nominated Reyka and the Deon Meyer penned Trackers.

For Nomsa Philiso, CEO of MultiChoice General Entertainment, Shaka Ilembe offers audiences worldwide the opportunity to immerse into a rich dynastic African story, set in the 1700’s.

“We are confident that this series will travel. It speaks, not only the heritage of the Zulu Nation, but to the fascination that the world has always had with King Shaka. It speaks to Africans owning the stories that their ancestors lived. And it celebrates that, long before colonialism, beyond the pages of history, there was a majestic ancient era of African Kings and Queens, warriors, healers, and leaders who lived, loved, ruled, battled, and above all, entrenched a legacy and culture that endures even today. Further, the series was filmed in isiZulu so it carries a distinct language identity, but it will be sub-titled in multiple languages so audiences from across the globe can enjoy it.”

Central to the Shaka Ilembe story is actress Nomzamo Mbatha, who balances her Executive Producer responsibilities with fulfilling a life-long ambition to play King Shaka’s beloved mother, Queen Nandi.

Speaking to her dual roles on Shaka Ilembe, Mbatha says, “This series is rich in depth, and was shot in 4K on a tremendous scale that fuels the narrative. From the fierce battlefield choreography and the meticulous accuracy of the wardrobe to the resonance of the script, it’s remarkable. And while this is a fictional story, it’s inspired by real events, people, and places. Already, ahead of our domestic launch audiences at home are very supportive because, they know like I do, that TV series like Shaka Ilembe transcends entertainment, and delivers representation, diversity, and progress.”

Mbatha leads off a top-flight ensemble cast featuring some of the country’s most charismatic leading men – Lemogang Tsipa, Senzo Radebe, Wiseman Mncube, Thembinkosi Mthembu and Mondli Makhoba alongside powerful character actresses Khabonina Qubeka, Sthandiwe Kgoroge, Dawn Thandeka King and rising star Hope Mbhele. Meanwhile, playing the boy destined to be King, is gifted young newcomer Ntando Zondi whose prodigious talent was unearthed during the filming of the series.

Filmed in South Africa, SHAKA ILEMBE features much of the country’s magnificent wildlife and scenery, including the mountains, savanna, and coastline of the lushly beautiful province of KwaZulu Natal, home to the majority of South Africa’s Zulu people. Key filming locations here included the towns of Eshowe, Nkandla Forest, Port Edward, Drakensburg, Mooi River and Zulu Falls.

Meanwhile other parts of the series were shot on a purpose-built backlot near the UNESCO World Heritage Site “The Cradle of Humankind” where Emmy and Academy nominated showrunners Bomb Productions hosted the King of the Zulu Nation, His Excellency Misuzulu kaZwelithini, during a special visit to the set for the Royal to see first-hand the level of detail and care that was employed to ensure that the authenticity of the set.

For Mauro Black, MultiChoice Studios Content, Sales, and Distributions Director, it is this credibility of intention and execution that makes SHAKA ILEMBE a powerful cultural export.

“International buyers are discerning about what they will bring their local audiences from the global TV marketplace. So, from inception, SHAKA ILEMBE was crafted to weld an immense depth of oral, written and illustrated Zulu history into the framework of a highly watchable prime-time drama. The result is a deeply meaningful but profoundly enjoyable title that should win fans in markets as diverse as Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, and the Americas.”

With over 8000 people contributing their skills to create Shaka Ilembe, the series has already won the support of five of South Africa’s biggest brands (Telkom, LottoStar, Grant’s Whisky, Toyota SA and Santam) who all signed on as commercial partners within days of seeing an extended preview of the series.  In addition, it’s Academy Award and BAFTA nominated Creative Director Angus Gibson and Sundance winning Executive Producer Desiree Markgraaff have drawn from the best of South Africa’s talent, including acclaimed Zulu musician Mbuso Khoza whose skill and vision drives the series soundtrack.


Elizabeth Ferreira 
MultiChoice Group Ltd

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 8851223

MoIAT partners with MEXT to implement Industrial Technology Transformation Index

ABU DHABI, 2nd June, 2023 (WAM) — The Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology (MoIAT) and MEXT signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to implement the UAE’s Industrial Technology Transformation Index (ITTI) and deploy the index overseas for the first time. The move is part of the UAE’s efforts to accelerate decarbonisation and digitalisation within the global manufacturing sector. First implemented in the UAE in February in line with the UAE Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative, the ITTI will soon be deployed in the wider region following the MoU which was signed on the sidelines of the ‘Make it in the Emirates Forum’ on Wednesday by Tariq Al Hashmi, Director of Technology Adoption and Development at MoIAT, and Efe Erdem, Executive Director of MEXT, in the presence of Omar Suwaina Al Suwaidi, Under-Secretary of MoIAT. Based in Turkiye, MEXT supports industrial companies along their digital and green transformation journey towards Industry 4.0. MEXT is the Technology and Innovation Centre of the Turkish Employers’ Association of Metal Industries (MESS) and it includes an ecosystem of more than 50 globally recognised technology providers, universities, and institutions. Launched under the Technology Transformation Programme by MoIAT and the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED), the ITTI is a comprehensive framework to measure the digital maturity and sustainability of factories and formulate a roadmap for industrial transformation. Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Public Education and Advanced Technology, said that this partnership will pave the path for the ITTI to be implemented in the wider region, representing a significant step in the UAE’s efforts to help accelerate the decarbonisation of the global manufacturing sector. “By implementing the index with our strategic partners at MEXT, MoIAT is driving digitalisation and sustainable industrial development in the region in line with our role as a champion of 4IR, advanced technology, digital transformation and innovation.” Al Amiri added, “We know that the decarbonisation of industry must be an inclusive and global effort. That is why the UAE is committed to creating enablers that support industries around the world to harness advanced technologies and enhance efficiency. We are actively seeking to engage countries and partners that share our ambition to transform industry through digitalisation and sustainable practices.” Efe Erdem, Executive Director of MEXT, commented, “MEXT will be glad to share expertise and technical knowledge from Turkiye with the industry in UAE, fostering new collaborations and opportunities within the framework of the new MoU. We believe the initiatives undertaken by the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology throughout the country, including The Technology Transformation Programme (ITT) are very crucial steps in empowering the industry for its digitalisation and sustainability journey. MEXT will continue its engagements in the UAE to assist the industry with its transformation.” Announced at the World Government Summit 2023, the ITTI enables manufacturers to make data-driven decisions to allocate resources more effectively and unlock financial incentives. The index promotes the integration of 4IR applications and sustainability best practices and raises awareness about the benefits of advanced technology. The ITTI is the first of its kind to integrate 4IR fundamentals with sustainability in one comprehensive framework. Under the MoU, MoIAT and MEXT will collaborate to support ITTI’s rollout in the region. They will achieve this through spreading awareness of the index through roadshows and events, co-creating programmes to support digital transformations and decarbonisation based on the findings of the ITTI, as well as generating thought leadership on Industry 4.0 and sustainability. The ITTI is a key pillar in the UAE’s National Strategy for Industry and Advanced Technology. It is a game-changing initiative designed to help companies take their first steps towards Industry 4.0 and make their operations more sustainable. Four of the ITTI’s categories are sustainability related, including Sustainability Strategy and Governance, Water and Wastewater Management, Emissions Management, and Material Circularity. The ITTI is simple and intuitive to understand, making it an effective and forward-looking planning tool for manufacturers.

Source: Emirates News Agency (WAM)

MoAIT and Mashreq join forces with a AED1bn fund to boost UAE’s industrial sector, investment ecosystem

ABU DHABI, 2nd June, 2023 (WAM) — The Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology (MoIAT) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Mashreq, one of the leading financial institutions in the UAE, to initiate a partnership to drive the growth of the manufacturing industry in the country. The move is part of the ministry’s “Make it in the Emirates” initiative that seeks to attract industrialists, investors, innovators, and entrepreneurs to leverage the UAE’s unique value proposition and set up base in the country. It also supports “Operation 300bn” to position the UAE as a global industrial hub and boost the manufacturing sector’s contribution to the country’s GDP. Under the terms of the agreement, Mashreq will promote sustainable growth in vital industrial sectors by providing its comprehensive suite of competitive financing solutions as well as advisory and banking services to local and foreign stakeholders in this field. In addition, Mashreq will allocate a fund of AED 1 billion for the industrial sector in the country. Osama Amir Fadhel, Assistant Under-Secretary of the Industry Accelerators Sector at MoIAT, and Joel Van Dusen, Senior Executive Vice President, Head of the Corporate and Investment Banking Group at Mashreq, signed the MoU during the forum, currently underway at Abu Dhabi Energy Centre. Omar Al Suwaidi, Under-Secretary of MoIAT, witnessed the signing. MoIAT organised the two-day forum with the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC). The event brought together the largest industrial companies and enablers from across the UAE to share their procurement plans and explore ways to translate them into local manufacturing investment opportunities. Al Suwaidi said, “This partnership will enable manufacturing companies and help them to play an enhanced role in Operation 300 billion, as well as the UAE Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative. The ministry is committed to working with national financial institutions to empower members of the UAE’s industrial community and drive their digital transformation in line with national objectives.” For his part, Joel Van Dusen commented, “It gives us great pleasure to partner with the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology and be part of its industrial transformation agenda, especially that we among the first banks in the UAE to partner with MoIAT for supporting the manufacturing sector and the Make in Emirates agenda. In line with its environmental, social, and governance (ESG) strategy, Mashreq is at the forefront of supporting corporates with sustainability-oriented financing solutions that enable them to adopt climate-friendly practices. We are keen to leverage our wide range of offerings to promote sustainable and green manufacturing as one of the main enablers of economic diversification in the UAE.” Mashreq will provide its financing solutions, including Shari’ah-compliant products, to encourage the application of advanced technology in the industrial sector to reduce its carbon footprint. The solutions include green loans and bonds, sustainability-linked loans and bonds, transitional loans and bonds, social loans, trade finance, structured finance, and capital investments. Mashreq will also make its advanced digital banking proposition available to manufacturing companies and build a custom application interface to offer tailored money management solutions and advice. In addition, the bank will support the ESG supply chain financing programme, finance business expansion plans, and promote growth in the exports of UAE companies through the Mashreq Global Network. The partnership will benefit companies of all sizes, from SMEs to large corporates. Among the target clients are food manufacturing companies affiliated with the UAE Food and Beverage Business Group.

Source: Emirates News Agency (WAM)

UAE participates in ICAO’s 2nd World Aviation Forum

SEOUL, 2nd June, 2023 (WAM) — The UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) participated in the second World Aviation Forum hosted by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in Seoul, Republic of Korea. Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, Director-General of the GCAA, and Saeed Mohammed Al Suwaidi, Permanent Representative of the UAE to the ICAO, headed the Emirati delegation. The key event combined four different activities under the ICAO: the World Aviation Forum, the Global Aviation Cooperation Symposium (GACS), the Global Aviation Training (GAT) seminar, and the TRAINAIR PLUS Programme. It also aimed to highlight the latest digital tools, key initiatives and collaborative efforts of the organisation to achieve aviation resilience, innovation and sustainable development and promote operational solutions. During the event, the GCAA attended the event’s exhibition, which showcased the UAE’s prominent stature in the aviation sector and its key role in supporting ICAO initiatives. The country’s delegation talked about ways of assisting other ICAO members in following the organisation’s standards and practices and accessing training and technical support for the aviation industry, such as working with TPP programme providers. During the conference, a cooperation agreement was signed between the GCAA and the ICAO, allowing the authority’s commercial arm, International Aviation Consultancy and Training (IACT), to access the ICAO’s approved course materials and experienced trainers tailored to specialist training needs. The agreement also aims to improve the quality of training courses and promote knowledge sharing between all aviation professionals in the UAE and the rest of the region. Khoder Nashar/ Muhammad Aamir

Source: Emirates News Agency (WAM)

Palestinian President receives Jordanian sports delegation in Ramallah

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday lauded Jordan’s supportive stances, under the leadership of His Majesty King Abdullah, to the Palestinian cause in all forums. President Abbas affirmed that the King’s supportive stances to the Palestinian cause have had a great impact on the path of justice for the Palestinian people who are suffering under the brutal occupation. In a meeting with a Jordanian sports delegation in Ramallah on Friday, Abbas congratulated His Majesty King Abdullah and Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, on the wedding of Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Al Hussein and Princess Rajwa Al Hussein. He said that the Palestinian celebrations of this occasion matches the Jordanians’ who came out from every region to celebrate this happy occasion. Abbas said: “Jordanians joy on the streets and expressing their love for their beloved prince set the finest examples of the people’s love for their wise Hashemite leadership.” Abbas commended Jordan’s support for the Palestinian people at all levels, including the sports level. The meeting was attended by the President of the Palestinian Football Association, Jibril Rajoub, Jordanian Ambassador to Palestine, Issam Al-Bdour, Deputy Secretary-General of the Jordanian Football Association, Flaih Al-Dajah, Director of Relations at the Football Association, Ishac Jenkat, head of the Jordan media delegation to the Jerusalem and Karama Championship, Khaled Khatatbeh, director of the sports department in the Mamlakah TV channel, Muhannad Mahadin, and president of Al-Wehdat Club, Bashar Hawamdeh.

Source: Jordan News Agency

Palestinian families in Gaza celebrate Royal Wedding

Hundreds of Palestinian families in the Gaza strip celebrated last night the wedding of Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Al Hussein and Princess Rajwa Al Hussein. The Palestinian families celebrated the Royal Wedding at the Champions family club in Gaza city until late last night and played Jordanian popular wedding songs to celebrate this occasion. The celebrations reflected the feelings of cohesion between the two brotherly peoples. The club was decorated with pictures of Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Al Hussein and Princess Rajwa Al Hussein, Jordanian flags, and banners of congratulations on this happy occasion. Screens at the club showed live broadcast of the Royal Wedding celebrations and the joy of the Jordanian family. President of the Champions Family Club, Ragab Al-Sarraj, said, “We are the sons of the great House of Arabism, and as we always say, one people, not two peoples, under the slogan # Celebrating Al-Hussein.”

Source: Jordan News Agency