No, I don’t hate YoTV.
Like all Afrikaans homes, you were morally obliged to consume the things your parents bought. I ate my greens, and consumed orange.
As a result, my soul believes in M-Net magic. I’m all about “it”.
This introduces a problem, and a solution that is in your benefit, viewer. We’re not always going to cover things at SLOW that I love and understand, rather the things we all do.
There’s a truth about us that Americans will never understand. What works and doesn’t in South Africa will never be about what’s “cool”. Every hipster coffee shop will close, but corner cafés will never die.
So don’t come here with your Ferrari. We want to see your souped-up Citi Golf.
Cool doesn’t last.
Longevity comes from lekker.
And for the last 5 months (yes that is how long some videos can take) I climbed into our collective Citi and journeyed to the past. To YoTV land. It started when my creative foil in charge of words, Anje Rautenbach, wanted to cover something she knew, as I knew K-TV.
And now that I’m clued up with the lore, here’s the lesson learnt.
In capitalism you never get a romantic ending. It’s not bathed in sepia and played out with a piano and strings. It just ends.
You come home to find out your spouse moved out. And they didn’t even take their things.
K-TV ended that way. It was here, and then gone. Most of its original fans were starting to send in their CVs or wrapping up university. Ignorant bliss through their concern with being an adult. The very same who found themselves years later sitting on the internet’s trash heap in search of meaning through nostalgia.
Before everything was all at once.
But if K-TV ended, YoTV crashed into a wall. That wall was Covid. Its ending is more like Tupac or Kurt Kobain. One worth stewing. Because its ingredients can make a legend and myth come to life.
As of writing, it’s still on a production break. It never ended. SABC promised us a few things. But in the words of Anje, it reads like a press release. Later, after endless scrolling on their Facebook-page she found the promise of bringing an old presenter back each month.
The presenters took matters into their own hands. Hulisani suggested a reunion. They did a Zoom, and Sade Giliberti uploaded it.
It’s an artifact in which a certain movie-making Byron Taylor states, “we had to kick K-TV’s ass.”
And there it is. The window crack through which you could peer and see K-TV and YoTV not as products to sell ads and decoders, but as people being people.
The anti-hero spoke. A ragtag team we wanted M-Net to reject because it made them cooler.
No pop tunes about being about anything. Here, have some hip hop. An energetic child Entle Dambuza raps:
“Well a lot of shows came to be the best on TV. But the kids have selected only one. We got spunk and funk the rest are junk. Show the competition to the kids. It’s done.”
Son, you just got introduced to your first diss track. Shots fired. They knew what they were doing. And all that K-TV had to do was ignore it.
Which they did. Big dogs don’t need to bark right?
But borders were set. The marketing nailed the positioning. The unique selling proposition? “Us against them”. YoTV was the underdog.
The Avis. We’re second best, so we try harder.
Our Americans would be so proud.
So much so, eTV’s Craze and SABC 2’s Dub wouldn’t even get back row seats to the final battle.
Like all good programming on K-TV, we need a good bad guy.
A Pepsi to our Coke.
A spiky hedgehog for our pot-belly plumber.
Well played YoTV.