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2021 SAFTAs Winners, Snubs and Surprises of the Night

This year’s 15th South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs), which took place this past weekend, were absolutely riveting. The annual award show has grown since the inclusion of shows from streaming platforms such as Showmax and Netflix, which are pitted against traditional silver screen shows. However, the fierce competition has proven that local productions still have a loyal audience, and that South Africa’s international audience is lapping up all the juicy plots. Netflix’s How to Ruin Christmas: The Wedding was the biggest winner of the night after bagging six awards. Previous all-round winner The River followed closely with its lead actress and co-executive producer Sindi Dlathu scoring her second “Best Actress” award for her Lindiwe Dikana role.


Netflix’s popular teen drama series Blood & Water, whose second season is in the pipeline, reigned in the “Best TV Drama” category. The “Best Actress for a TV comedy” award deservedly went to Busisiwe Lurayi, for her portrayal of the lead character Tumi in How To Ruin Christmas: The Wedding. The Oscar-winning environmental documentary My Octopus Teacher took the “Best Natural History And Environmental Programme” award.

The late Menzi Ngubane received the “Best Actor” nod for his final on-screen performance as nemesis Judas Ngwenya in the soapie Isibaya, which took a bow after eight seasons earlier this year. The first season of Gomora received the “Best Achievement in Directing” award under the telenovela category through public votes. However, some fans expressed their disappointment that Gomora cast members had not been recognised with SAFTA nominations for their roles, which they believed had contributed to the success of show. Veteran theatre and television actor James Ngcobo took home the “Best Supporting Actor in a TV Drama” award for Queen Sono. DStv’s new telenovela Legacy cleaned out the “Best Telenovela” category. Acclaimed actress Michelle Botes added to Legacy’s multiple wins by taking home the “Best Supporting Actress in a Telenovela” award.

Last but not least, storytelling legend Dr. Gcina Mhlophe was conferred with the biggest title of the night β€” the “Lifetime Achievement Award”. The award was a long-overdue acknowledgement of her on and off-screen contributions to South Africa’s oral tradition of storytelling which has entertained and educated the nation for decades.

Read: The Top 2021 South African Film And Television Awards (SAFTAs) Nominees

MultiChoice (DSTV) scored a tremendous 47 awards, while first time entrant Netflix gathered an impressive 19 nods out of its total 45 nominations. The awards took on a virtual setting and were hosted by the vibrant LaSizwe Dambuza alongside radio personality Lerato Kganyakgo.

Here are some Twitter reactions to the SAFTAs which ran from Friday to Saturday night.

Below is the complete list of the 2021 SAFTAs winners:

Best Short Film

Address Unknown (Green Leaf Films Pty) Ltd)

Best Student Film

Fowl Goblin from The Animation School

TV SOAP/TELENOVELA

Best Achievement in Directing β€” Telenovela

Gomora Season 1 (Mzansi Magic)

Practitioners: Thabang Moleya, Nthabiseng Mokoena, Nozipho Nkelemba and Lefuno Nekhabambe

Best Achievement in Directing β€” TV Soap

Binnelanders (kykNET)

Practitioners: Danie Joubert, RochΓ© Knoesen, Riaan Meij, Charl van Biljon, Gerrit Schoonhoven & Jaco Vermeulen

Best Achievement in Scriptwriting – Telenovela

The River (1Magic)

Practitioners: Gwydion Beynon & Phathutshedzo Makwarela

Best Achievement in Scriptwriting – TV Soap

Scandal! (E.tv)

Practitioners: Ameera Patel, Grace Mahlaba, Daryn Katz, Kelly Robinson, Mark Wilson, Nontlantla Simelane, Omphile Molusi, Rosalind Butler, Stephen Simm, Tereska Muishond, Themba Mahlangu, Myolisi Sikupela and Thomas Hall

Best Achievement in Original Music/Score – Telenovela

The River (1Magic)

Practitioner: Brendan Jury

Best Achievement in Editing – Telenovela

The River (1Magic)

Practitioners: Bongi Malefo, Edgar Sibaya, Sphiwe Nhlumayo and Ula Oelsen

Best Achievement in Sound β€” TV Soap/Telenovela

The River (1Magic)

Practitioners: Ben Oelsen and Tladi Mabuya

Best Achievement in Cinematography – Telenovela

Legacy (M-Net)

Practitioner: Trevor Brown

Best Achievement in Wardrobe β€” TV Soap/Telenovela

Legacy (M-Net)

Practitioner: Zandile Mncwango

Best Achievement in Make-Up and Hairstyling β€” TV Soap/Telenovela

Legacy (M-Net)

Practitioner: Jenny Sprawson

Best Achievement in Art Direction β€” TV Soap/Telenovela

Legacy (M-Net)

Practitioner: Amanda Scholtz

Best Actress – Telenovela

Sindi Dlathu, The River (1Magic)

Character: Lindiwe Dikana

Best Actor – Telenovela

Menzi Ngubane, Isibaya (Mzansi Magic)

Character: Judas Nqwenya

Best Supporting Actress – Telenovela

Michelle Botes, Legacy (M-Net)

Character: Angelique Price

Best Supporting Actor – Telenovela

Meshack Mavuso Magabane, The River (1Magic)

Character: Nsizwa

Best Actress – TV Soap

Petronella Tshuma, Rhythm City (etv)

Character: Pearl Genaro

Best Actor – TV Soap

Clint Brink, Binnelanders (kykNET)

Character: Steve Abrahams

Best Supporting Actress – TV Soap

Masasa Mbangeni, Scandal (etv)

Character: Thembeka Shezi Nyathi

Best Supporting Actor – TV Soap

Mothusi Magano, Skeem Saam (SABC 1)

Character: Tumishang

Best TV Soap

Rhythm City (etv)

Production House: Quizzical Pictures

Best Telenovela

Legacy (M-Net)

Production House: Tshedza Pictures

TV DRAMA

Best Achievement in Directing – TV Drama

Tydelik Terminaal (kykNET)

Practitioners: Etienne Fourie and Elanie Rupping

Best Achievement in Scriptwriting – TV Drama

Housekeepers Season 2 (Mzansi Magic)

Practitioners: Portia Gumede, Duduzile Mabaso, Lufuno Nemungadi and Lidudu Malingani

Best Achievement in Editing β€” TV Drama

Still Breathing (M-Net)

Practitioners: Miriam Arndt and Alistair Thomas

Best Achievement in Sound – TV Drama

Blood and Water Season 1 (Netflix)

Practitioners: Sound & Motion Studios Sound Team

Best Achievement in Original Music/Score – TV Drama

Lockdown Season 5 (Mzansi Magic)

Practitioners: Kurt Slabbert, Jamela Vuma & Mandla Ngcongwane

Best Achievement in Art Direction – TV Drama

Agent (Netflix)

Practitioner: Carlu Portwig

Best Achievement in Wardrobe – TV Drama

Queen Sono Season 1 (Netflix)

Practitioners: Lehasa Molloyi

Best Achievement in Make-Up and Hairstyling – TV Drama

Trackers (Mzansi Magic)

Practitioner: Babalwa Mtshiselwa

Best Achievement in Cinematography – TV Drama

Blood and Water Season 1 (Netflix)

Practitioner: Zenn van Zyl

Best Actress – TV Drama

Kate Liquorish, Still Breathing (M-Net)

Character: Abi

Best Actor – TV Drama

Brandon Auret, Still Breathing (M-Net)

Character: Danny

Best Supporting Actress – TV Drama

June van Merch, Sara se Geheim Season 3 (kykNET)

Character: Sara

Best Supporting Actor – TV Drama

James Ngcobo, Queen Sono Season 1 (Netflix)

Character: President Malunga

Best TV Drama

Blood and Water Season 1 (Netflix)

Production House: Gambit Films

TV COMEDY

Best Achievement in Directing – TV Comedy

The Riviera (SABC 2)

Practitioners: Lucilla Blankenberg & Lederle Bosch

Best Achievement in Scriptwriting – TV Comedy

Black Tax (BET Africa)

Practitioners: Byron Abrahams, Lwazi Mvusi, Joshua Rous & Meren Reddy

Best Achievement in Editing – TV Comedy

How to Ruin Christmas: The Wedding (Netflix)

Practitioners: Tessa Verfuss, Gugulethu Sibandze & Melanie Jankes

Best Achievement in Sound – TV Comedy

How to Ruin Christmas: The Wedding (Netflix)

Practitioners: Janno Muller, Thapelo Makhubo, Jeanre Greyling and Jonty Everton

Best Achievement in Art Direction – TV Comedy

How to Ruin Christmas: The Wedding (Netflix)

Practitioners: Martha Sibanyoni, Thabiso Senne & Savannah Geldenhuys

Best Achievement in Wardrobe – TV Comedy

How to Ruin Christmas: The Wedding (Netflix)

Practitioner: Sheli Masondo

Best Achievement in Make-Up and Hairstyling – TV Comedy

How to Ruin Christmas: The Wedding (Netflix)

Practitioner: Babalwa Mtshiselwa

Best Achievement in Cinematography – TV Comedy

How to Ruin Christmas: The Wedding (Netflix)

Practitioner: Lance Gewer

Best Actress – TV Comedy

Busisiwe Lurayi, How to Ruin Christmas: The Wedding (Netflix)

Character: Tumi

Best Actor – TV Comedy

James Borthwick, Hotel (kykNET)

Character: Ferdie

Best Supporting Actress – TV Comedy

Martelize Kolver, Hotel (kykNET)

Character: Brenda

Best Supporting Actor – TV Comedy

Desmond Dube, How to Ruin Christmas: The Wedding (Netflix)

Character: Shadrack

Best TV Comedy

The Riviera (SABC 2)

Production House: Community Media Trust

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Best Achievement in Directing – Documentary

How to Steal a Country

Practitioners: Rehad Desai and Mark Kaplan

Best Achievement in Cinematography – Documentary

Chasing the Sun

Practitioner: Devin Carter

Best Achievement in Editing – Documentary

How to Steal a Country

Practitioner: Megan Gill

Best Achievement in Sound – Documentary Feature

Documentary Feature – How to Steal a Country

Practitioner: Charlotte Buys

Best Documentary Feature

How to Steal a Country

Production House: Uhuru Productions

Best Documentary Short

Lindela Under Lockdown

Production House: Passion Seed Communications

Best Made for TV Documentary

Chasing the Sun

Production House: SuperSport, SA Rugby and T+W

Best Natural History and Environmental Programme

My Octopus Teacher

Production House: Sea Change Project

Best Children’s Programme

Takalani Sesame Season 11 (SABC 2)

Production House: Ochre Media and Pulp Films

Best Competition Reality Show

Celebrity Mystery Box (Mzansi Magic)

Production House: Brightfire Pictures

Best Structured or Docu-reality Show

Pale Ya KoΕ‘a (SABC 2)

Production House: Full Circle Productions

Best Structured Soapie Reality Show

Life with Kelly Khumalo (Showmax)

Production House: Barleader TV

Best International Format Show

Hoor my, sien my, soen my (kykNET)

Production House: Afrokaans Film & Television

Best Educational Programme

Made In SA Season 6 (S3)

Production House: Ochre Media

Best Factual Programme

The Devi Show (etv)

Production House: etv

Best Current Affairs Programme

CARTE BLANCHE: Women’s Month Special (M-Net)

Production House: Combined Artists

Best Variety Show

Republiek van Zoid Afrika (kykNET)

Production House: Brainwave Productions

Best Youth Programme

Africa’s Biggest Brags (MTV Base)

Production House: VIS

Best Entertainment Programme

Maak My Famous – Showcase (kykNET)

Production House: All Star Entertainment

Best Lifestyle Programme

Come Again (SABC 1)

Production House: Tshedza Media

Best Made for TV Movie

Loving Thokoza (Mzansi Magic)

Production House: Black Brain Pictures

Best Online Content

The Adventures of Noko Mashaba – Lockdown Shandis (YouTube)

Production House: Rams Comics

Best Achievement in Directing – Feature Film

Griekwastad (kykNET)

Practitioner: Jozua Malherbe

Best Achievement in Scriptwriting – Feature Film

Toorbos (kykNET)

Practitioner: RenΓ© van Rooyen

Best Achievement in Cinematography – Feature Film

Riding with Sugar (Netflix)

Practitioner: Rory O’Grady

Best Achievement in Sound Design – Feature Film

Riding with Sugar (Netflix)

Practitioner: Sound & Motion Studios Sound Team

Best Achievement in Original Music/Score – Feature Film

Toorbos (kykNET)

Practitioner: Andries Smit

Best Achievement in Editing – Feature Film

Griekwastad (kykNET)

Practitioner: Lucian Barnard

Best Achievement in Production Design – Feature Film

Riding with Sugar (Netflix)

Practitioner: Kate van der Merwe

Best Achievement in Costume Design – Feature Film

Riding with Sugar (Netflix)

Practitioner: Annie Seegers

Best Achievement in Make-Up and Hairstyling – Feature Film

Triggered (Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, Google Play)

Practitioners: Menio Kalymnios, Stella Kalymnios and Hannes Oosthuizen

Best Actress – Feature Film

Tinarie Van Wyk Loots, Gat In Die Muur (Hole In The Wall) (Netflix)

Character: Ava

Best Actor – Feature Film

Tshamano Sebe, 8 (Netflix)

Character: Lazarus

Best Supporting Actress – Feature Film

Tarryn Wyngaard, Stam (DSTV Box office)

Character: Samiah

Best Supporting Actor – Feature Film

Hakeem Kae Kazim, Riding with Sugar (Netflix)

Character: Mambo

Best Feature Film

Griekwastad

SCENE23 (kykNET)

Best TV Presenter (Public Vote Category)

Entle Bizana, Hectic on 3 (SABC 3)

Most Popular TV Soap/Telenovela (Public Vote Category)

Gomora, Seriti Films (Mzansi Magic)

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