Sivuyile Mahlahla is one of the co- founders of the BCM TV
Local businessman and community activist, Sivuyile Mahlahla, is a driving force behind the establishment of a local television station, BCM TV for its residents as he feels that the municipality is the only metro legging behind with such a platform for its stories to be told. Mahlahla encourages people to tell their own stories and sees community media as the answer to achieving that, something which once almost landed him in trouble with the law when he illegally operated a radio station in Mdantsane. His illegal station Mdezee FM might have been closed down some time ago but that has not stopped his ambition to run a community media project that will impact on local people’s lives positively.
“A television station has been long overdue here in the area, so I came up with the concept last year and presented it to our ward councilor who later referred us to the relevant departments which also embraced it. My main aim is to create a platform to market our area to the whole country by telling local stories,” he said.
Mahlahla said that the journey to start such a project was still at an early stage and that he was aware it was not going to be an easy road. He said that he is happy so far with the willingness by stakeholders to be part of the project but calls for more involvement so as to ensure its success.
“After being given a positive response by the government we approached Multichoice to be our host. They agreed on condition that we first present our content so as to see if it’s on par with their broadcasting standards. The next step is to invite people with expertise ( journalists and production houses ), and we have already people such as SABC presenter Luaynda Potwana who is willing to help with the training and workshops for local talent.”
He said that the concept was a continuation of the radio station he started and that the only difference is that this concept is in a visual form.
“Our approach is for the content to be mainly local, my experience in running Mdezee FM showed me how hungry the local community is for news that concern them. We have realised that most people know more about what is going on in other provinces than their own,” he said.
He believes that the project will bring the much needed hope for the unemployed youth because the scope is huge.
“We wanted a 24-hour TV station, but we were advised by our supporters to cut it down to 16 hours, which will translate to 29 shows a day from 6 am to 10 pm. Out of those we are planning to produce eight shows in house and the rest will be outsourced. We are also planning to employ 22 fulltime staff members which will be based at the former Border Training Centre here in Mdantsane,” he said.