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Netflix Acquires Zimbabwean Independent Film ‘Cook Off’.

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HARARE, ZIMBABWE, May 19th, 2020/www.gbafrica.net/ Netflix promises continues to bring the African heat. Most recently, , the streaming giant acquired the independent Zimbabwean film Cook Off. The food-centric rom-com was written and directed by Tomas Lutuli Brickhill and stars Zimbabwean talents including Tendaiishe Chitima, Tendai Nguni and Jesesi Mungoshi, among several others. The film becomes the first ever export from Zimbabwe’s film and television industry to land on Netflix.

Cook Off tells the story of Anesu, a struggling single mother from a Harare township with a flair for cooking. However, after she qualifies for Zimbabwe’s top reality cooking show, she finds herself not only battling against professional chefs but her own self-doubt.

Since its international premiere at the prestigious Rotterdam International Film Festival (IFFR) back in 2018, Cook Off has screened at over fifteen film festivals worldwide and gone on to win several awards. Shot with an incredibly limited budget just after former president Robert Mugabe was ousted in the infamous “coup-not-coup”, Cook Off is a testament to how the arts continue to transcend even the most trying of circumstances.

Speaking about having been cast in the lead role, Chitima (who plays Anesu) says, “When I first read Cook-off I thought to myself ‘wow, what a unique story, what an intriguing story’.” Chitima goes on to add that, “We haven’t had a lot of Zimbabwean stories told in that way. The writing was brilliant, it was funny, there was a bit of drama, there was tension. The writing really encapsulated all kinds of themes and different genres altogether. I was really excited about the script and actually that’s what really drew me to the role.”

Brickhill and producer Joe Njagu have both expressed their excitement at the recent deal and emphasised how it will go a long way in shining a light on the largely untapped talent in Zimbabwe’s film industry.

Coming Soon

Award-winning Ghanaian Tv Series, X.O.X.O., Renewed For Its Final Season – [SEE DETAILS]

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GREATER ACCRA – Tuesday, June 2, 2020/www.gbafrica.net/ – Proudly produced by Finesse-LXG, RTP 2013 best television series award winner – X.O.X.O., (title inspired by a youth digital slang for hugs and kisses) an urban-centred programme that stands out for its compelling themes and scenes as well as an array of beautiful young ladies is returning for its lockdown edition and 4th anticipated issue on June 4, according to Writer and Producer, Edward Seddoh Jnr.

But the rules have now changed, as XOXO seeks to go digital, as opposed to mainstream TV broadcasts. Hence the 13-week episode path, under theme “Network Lockdown”, would not be on the agenda for now. Rather, a more flexible digital channel broadcast accessible on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube and as well on pay-per-view platforms such as it’s resident channel on the MTN Shortz platform, would be the way to go now.

Timelines between episodes would be more flexible now in order to embrace not only the new normal in the wake of the current global situation, but also to allow for interactive contributions from the fans into the storylines. Just as it was from the very beginning when the fans had to text ‘X’ or ‘O’ for the episodic outcome, future episodes of Season 4 would take that route, apparently, even making room for fan and celebrity cameo casting over time.

The season premiere storyline takes the form of the world in lockdown and how members of the defunct Network group (Josh, Akua, Roy, Nana Yaa and co) have had to wake up from their quarantine slumber to respond to a call about the deal of a lifetime coming all the way from Ukraine, where their longtime friend and member of the group, Parker, is now based. As with XOXO, there are more exciting surprises to come after this, and hopefully, sponsorship would not be far off.

“Though, it hasn’t been all rosy behind the scenes in terms of raising sponsorship for the series. Indeed we had expected to finish the series at Season 4 in grand style. Alas, it was not to be, with one delay after another in sponsorship promises. We didn’t just want to end the series the usual way. We wanted it to be special; something that would be memorable for years. In December of 2016, the crew and cast had returned to set for the much awaited Season 4, only for the intended sponsor to make a U-turn, in the wake of a business emergency. Product placements from the sponsor was already part of the plan. Shooting had to be suspended. – The writer/producer stated

In its third season since its inception about a year ago, the plot is untypically unpredictable and often inspired by feedback from viewers in the form of text messages on which direction they want the story to go, depending on dilemma questions asked at the end of each episode where viewers get to text X or O to MTN shortcode 1756.

Currently, the story mostly revolves around the central character, Josh (Harold Amenyah), the ladies’ man whose personal life is beginning to take a toll on his working life and is on the verge of losing everything, thanks to a plan hatched by two aggrieved guys working in the shadows, both of whom not only consider Josh a threat to their own personal relationships, past and present, but would also publicly label him as one of Accra’s Baddest Boys in an online publication.

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Actor And “Foodie,” Lucia Mthiyane, To Premiere Her Debut Cookbook

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Television personality and chef Lucia Mthiyane is set to release her new cookbook titled ‘Kitchen Queen’. The foodie has, for the past decade, been a fixture in the culinary industry and has built a brand as a credible cook and celebrity chef. In Kitchen Queen, Mthiyane will be sharing her favourite and most reposted recipes, while weaving together her life story and her unique take on food.

“My culinary journey has been truly amazing, full of highs and my name is well known and respected in the culinary streets. The greatest experiences will have to be when I had to cook live on e.tv for the first time. It was nerve-wracking because anything could go wrong and it’s all live, but I got the hang of it and became a pro.

“Another highlight in my culinary career is when I became a food editor for a lifestyle magazine. I pioneered cooking classes when no one else was doing it and I have since collaborated with the biggest food brands and I have gained a lot of respect from being a judge for some prominent TV cooking competition shows like KFC TASTE and Top Chef South Africa,” she said.

Speaking about her new cookbook, Mthiyane said it has always been in her head, that one day she would share her colourful culinary journey with the world. “I didn’t really have a defining moment regarding writing a book, I had all these dishes I had been cooking over the years and being enjoyed by my family and friends and I had always known in the back of my mind that one day I will pen down a cookbook.

“If you have a look at my book cover you will see that I am wearing a pair of wooden African earrings, it was a gift from a dear friend Soleil, inside the box was an engraved note written; ‘To Lucia Mthiyane African Queen’. That was an aha moment and my publisher (Lindy Samery) both agreed that we would call the book ‘Kitchen Queen’. Plus a few of my social media followers were already calling me the kitchen queen when they were begging me to share my recipes,” she said.

Mthiyane said they have used really cool illustrations in all the book’s chapters. She has also included a few chapters that will surprise her readers like foods that benefit your skin and hair and also the intersection of music and food. The ‘Kitchen Queen’ cookbook will be available next month and will retail at a price of R375 per copy.

Scan on the QR Code or click here to place your order on Loot.co.za for R279.

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South African Producer Zikona Debese Debuts Film ‘Loving Thokoza’ On Showmax.

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EASTERN CAPE, SOUTH AFRICA, May 28th, 2020/www.gbafrica.net/ When producer Zikona Debese left Mthatha to study film at the University of Johannesburg, she had three main objectives in mind — to educate, entertain and fulfil fantasies through storytelling — all of which resonate in her latest offering Loving Thokoza.

Eight years after leaving her home, Debese produced her first blockbuster film and watched it premiere on Showmax last week.

Finally watching Loving Thokoza on Showmax has been rewarding, the 26-year-old said.

“It feels unreal, as if my own life is a movie or a dream that someone is going to wake me up from.

“Putting a [film] together is pure magic!

“There are so many drafts, so many challenges and so many compromises to be made before the viewer watches the story on their screen but the whole journey is amazing and the best feeling is always realising that we did it,” Debese said.

Debese led a team of junior crew members and brought the film to life within a nine-day shooting schedule.

“What has always fascinated me about filmmaking is knowing that there is a team of people behind the scenes working to show us what we see on TV.

“So being a part of that team that takes an idea from paper and brings it to life, will always be exhilarating for me,” Debese said.

Loving Thokoza, a Black Brain Pictures production, follows Charlotte Grootboom (Enhle Mbali Mlotshwa), a young teacher in apartheid-ravaged Thokoza, where she is determined to show her pupils life’s greater possibilities through a debate society.

The opportunity to produce the film fitted in well with Debese’s aim to create stories for the benefit of audiences.

“I love being a creative because not only does creativity entertain but it also educates and fulfils people’s and my own fantasies.

“A lot of films are based on ‘what if’s’ because we all wonder what would happen if life or certain aspects of it were a certain way.

“Film gives you those scenarios.

“In the case of Loving Thokoza, we have been able to educate people not just about the history of SA but some life lessons to be learnt from rejection.

“Moreover, we’ve thrown in an entertaining element to characters such as Mashudu [played by Vele Manenje],” Debese said.

The Cape Town-born filmmaker took an interest in film while still a pupil at Dalindyebo High School in Mthatha.

At the time, neither she nor her family knew any filmmakers, which made it harder to convince her parents to let her pursue a career in film.

“Being from Mthatha and wanting to become a filmmaker wasn’t something that made sense because we weren’t really exposed to people who worked in the industry — all those people were in Johannesburg — so my whole family wasn’t sold on the idea because no-one really knew what you do on TV if you’re not an actor on screen.

“They eventually warmed up to the idea when I was in matric because I explained that if they won’t let me follow my dreams then anything else I do will be depressing for me,” she said.

Debese cut her teeth in film on the set of Inside the Baobab Tree in 2015.

She joined Black Brain pictures as an intern, working behind the scenes on different productions from sitcom Ses’ Top La to prison drama series Lockdown.

Over the years, Debese switched between different roles from production assistance to co-ordinating and casting, before becoming Black Brain Pictures’ in-house producer.

“I have learnt so much about what goes into producing a film.

“At first, I loved the idea because it meant I could take control but I have come to learn what responsibilities that comes with and I’m fortunate to work with such an amazing team of individuals who all bring their A-game.

“When you’re a producer, you have to carry the story from its inception to the final product, while also minding the budget and everything in-between.

“The most important thing is ensuring that the story doesn’t get lost while trying to accommodate things like budgets, schedules and all else,” she said.

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Actor Kwadwo Nkansah LilWin Unveiled As Brand Influencer For BetPlanet.

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GREATER ACCRA, GHANA, May 28th, 2020/www.gbafrica.net/ One of Ghana’s recently launched online gambling company, BetPlanet has officially unveiled popular Ghanaian comic actor and musician, LilWin, who has his government name as Kwadwo Nkansah, as the brand influencer to emcompass the and represent and elevate the betting firm to its new and old patrons.

BetPlanet sealed an undisclosed mega-deal with the actor, as they look to reach greater heights in the very competitive gaming industry.

LilWin as part of the deal will spearhead the company’s commercial activities across the country.

In relation to the deal, LilWin himself said; “I am pleased with the opportunity to be part of this big family (BetPlanet), I will make sure and do my best to push BetPlanet effectively and I believe that together we can expand on the contributions to sports development in Ghana.”

Other Ghanaian top stars who were unveiled as Influencers are John Dumelo, Efya, Eno Barony, Sister Derby, Moesha Boduong, Salma Mumin, Kelvynboy, Zynnell Zuh, DKB, Nadia Buria, among others.

BetPlanet, a betting company owned by Planet Sports Limited is licensed under the Gaming Commission of Ghana, BetPlanet is a leading gaming system provider that develops and markets a range of technology solutions for electronic gaming machines for clubs, pubs and hotels.

BetPlanet offers the best when it comes to online betting. Whether it be sports betting in Ghana or even casino betting, you can find amazing odds, markets and tops right here. We want players to be able to be excited when it comes to betting and that is why we offer such a wide range of sports to bet on. If you are after excitement and great odds when it comes to betting, then you have come to the right place. Find out what makes us one of the best betting sites in Ghana!

Visit Betplanet on www.betplanet.com.gh to place your bet or visit any of their shops.

See attached photos shot by TwinsDntBeg.

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