It’s been a great week for ZANews, first winning a Gold Pixel for Specialist Publishing Site and the award for Best Editorial Team at the recently held 7th Bookmarks Awards in Newtown, and then receiving 11 SAFTA (South African Film and Television Awards) nominations for ‘Puppet Nation ZA’.
The ZANews team not only produces South Africa’s favourite satirical puppet news show, but is also the online home of satire in the country, showcasing cartoons, columns and fake news stories (à la Hayibo and The Onion). It is ZANews' mission to make laugh, not war, as they believe that South Africa is generally in need of a lot of laughter these days.
Both Worlds, the production company behind ZANews and Puppet Nation, the actors, writers, editors, puppeteers, puppet-makers, producers, cartoonists, columnists, and technical crew are honoured to share these accolades with its broadcast partner StarOne [a StarSat channel].
The ‘ZANews: Puppet Nation’ nominations in the SAFTA Comedy category are as follows:
Best TV Comedy
Best Achievement in Directing
Best Achievement in Scriptwriting
Best Sound Design
Best Original Score
Best Art Direction
Best Hair and Make Up
Best Actor in a Comedy Series: Nik Rabinowitz
ZANews was born when French producer Thierry Cassuto and South African cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro came together to make their first puppet - Madiba, naturally. Inspired by the UK series “Spitting Image” and the French “Les Guignols”, It’s a show about making news interesting and relevant, challenging perceptions, and generally holding politicians and celebrities up to scrutiny and ridicule, it’s the show a young democratic South Africa desperately needed - but that no broadcaster was brave enough to pick up.
ZANews launched online in 2009, and since then has grown - as has their puppet family - to satirise not only local but international politicians and stars, from Fikile Mbalula to Kanye West, and the latest big hitter, Hashim Amla. The ZANews puppets sing, dance, swing on wrecking balls, drive cars, and, in their most impressive stunt yet, deliver State of the Nation Addresses, uninterrupted.
ZANews has found a home on the internet, independently producing content, from puppet design and creation, through scripting, voice work, performance, and editing, delivering it directly to an audience who had never experienced anything like this before. Every week a show is created from scratch, from rough ideas to final script, it’s recorded, edited and live online in just four days. And now Puppet Nation ZA has its brave broadcaster - the show airs Saturday nights on StarOne, part of the StarSat network. Since taking to the small screen, Puppet Nation ZA won three SAFTAs in 2013 and four in 2014, and is currently the reigning “Best TV Comedy Show”.
The remarkable effort by the whole team, creating news satire weekly, for puppets by puppets, bears fruit in a show, a website, and a big funny family of which ZANEWS is most proud.
The South African Film and Television Awards take place on 19 and 22 March, when outstanding talent in the local industry will be recognised and winners rewarded with a Golden Horn trophy.
ZANews: Make laugh, not war