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E! taps into the African market, and we are not excited

D’Banj’s E-News promo

It’s a common belief that with Africa making strides in many of the fields of science, education and business; it has been a target market for different economies.

Of course with the investment coming into the continent, it’s rather easy to assume that the western exploitation of the African markets is all done.

But targets have since shifted to marketing art, television, music and film among other things to the once forgotten Dark Continent.

In 2005, Viacom through their MTV music channels expressed an interest in the African continent, having exploited many parts of the world, they found it relevant to create a music channel that would unite almost 53 countries through a song.

Today MTV Base has become a yardstick of quality visuals and has been credited with opening up Africa to the world and thus the formation of more channels like Trace Africa, MSNBC Africa, Telemundo, Comedy Central, FOX Africa as well as Netflix among others.

Much as some are literally syndicating already famous American TV shows and dramas, others have taken the initiative to create original African content, oftenly inspired by the original shows; these are shows like The Voice, Pop Idols, Got Talent and Big Brother Among others.

At the beginning of this year, famous pop culture channel E!, mostly famous for telling Ugandans about the Kardashians launched E! News Africa Specials, exclusive shows that talk about lives of different continental superstars.

The thirty minute segments are done to cover many things that an E! True Hollywood Story would cover, just that these seem to be done in just a day thus only depend on the story of the person being interviewed.


Much as the show premiered in South Africa at the end of 2015, many in the rest of Afrivca have only hada glimpse of it this year with profiles of AKA, radio and TV personality, Bonang Matheba, singer Danny K and actress Terry Pheto among others.

However, just like the trend has been in the past, majority of the Africans are not impressed by E!’s latest effort, many think it’s simply immature for the channel to shop around only South African celebrities and call that ‘African’.

It is not the first time, Africa has felt shorthanded especially when syndicated shows try to appeal to the continent, for instance, BET Africa’s first attempt to woo Africans saw them create the first season of Top Actor with twelve contestants that were from the different provinces of South Africa, the second season had two Kenyans, three Nigerians and seven South Africans, even the latest addition, Lip synch Battle Africa on MTV and MTV Base are not any better as all the competitions have been between South Africans and Nigerians.

A new season of the E! profiles have been advertised to start on June 12, though, besides Tanzania’s Diamond Platinuumz, all the other interviews to look out for like Mafikizolo, Tiwa Savage, Casper Nyovest, D’Banj and Rita Dominic are all from South Africa and Nigeria.

In addition to that, they’ve also been doing a South African version of Live from the Red Carpet covering the South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs) earlier in the year and South African Music Awards (SAMAs) on Sunday.

Geraldine Nakuya, an ardent fan of the Kardashians notes that, E!’s latest move is short of any surprises since that’s how all foreign shows that have to come to Africa have viewed us; “Just two countries.”

About Kaggwa Andrew

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