Channel denies lifting Yobe idea


The issue of copyright theft has once again reared its ugly head following an accusation that Mzansi Magic and creators of docu-series Yobe had stolen Fikile Shabalala’s idea, which was sent as a proposal to the television channel last year.

However, Mzansi Magic has denied the claims made by Shabalala. The show, hosted by award-winning actor Siyabonga Twala offers reformed prisoners a chance to apologise to families of their victims. Shabalala took to Twitter last week and blasted the channel for stealing her idea and taking the glory.

Speaking to The New Age, Mzansi Magic spokesperson Nondumiso Mabece said the idea for the show was the producer’s and was pitched to the channel in 2014.

“We dispute any claims that the idea for Yobe was copied from any individual. Yobe is based on a concept originally presented by the show’s producer to Mzansi Magic in 2014, although it was only included on the Mzansi Magic schedule in 2017 in preparation for broadcast in April 2018.”

Shabalala, who forwarded a copy of her proposal and a confirmation email from the channel to The New Age insisted the idea was hers. “It does not make sense to me why a show pitched in 2014 can be aired in 2018 after I have submitted the exact same proposal to them in 2017,” she said.

“It baffles me that the channel said they would contact me to discuss a way forward with this. Why contact me if they say I am not the one who came up with the show’s idea?”

Shabalala said the show should acknowledge or compensate her.

The founder of the budding production company Fikile Shabalala Media said she is having a hard time trusting major channels with her ideas now.

-Nontokozo Gxumisa