Graeme Joffe, co-founder of Township TV is asking why is it so difficult to do something good in SA, as the social responsibility project that has reportedly changed thousands of lives and uplifted communities for the last six years looks set to switch off, due to lack of sponsorship.
The project has 22 big screen TVs in townships across South Africa and has provided free DStv entertainment to the people 365 days of the year, since 2007. It has assisted in getting kids off the street, created endless job opportunities and assisted with education. However, DStv has not renewed its 15-month title sponsorship and, without any financial support from government, Township TV can no longer sustain its mission of changing people's lives.
The televisions go on daily at 3pm and the kids stream to the parks to watch their favourite DStv programmes in a safe, secure environment. The PSL and Bafana Bafana games are the biggest draw card for the 'fan parks' and over 320,000 watched the 2010 World Cup games in the parks. With SuperSport now having acquired the Bafana Bafana rights to add to their PSL bouquet, the Township TV parks would have provided the less fortunate with the opportunity to watch the international games on their doorstep. Not every average person can afford DStv.
Tired of begging
Nevertheless, Joffe says he is tired of "begging" and going cap in hand to sponsors. "It just seems as if you have to be in with the 'right guys' to do something good and I've obviously touched a few nerves with my expose on the corrupt sports administration in this country. Therefore, I have made my bed and will have to lie on it. But it's the poor communities that really get hurt by the corporate politics that doesn't have a heart for social responsibility."
Township TV is paying its own way for April, in hope there is a lifeline but Joffe is now preparing for the worst, which is to take the 22 TVs down at the end of this month.
"It will be a very sad day for the communities but I'm very proud of what we've achieved in the last six years and I know we gave it our all."
The first screen went up in Diepsloot in December 2007 and the project now stretches as far as Durban, PE and George. It has also acquired the rights for Cape Town.
Township TV has also been a free medium for the presidential addresses, mayoral speeches and the City Parks communication.
For more, go to www.townshiptv.co.za