The new initiatives include a partnership with Steps Entertainment in Tanzania to develop Zuku Swahili Movies, a second series of popular talk show, Mentality, a travel / cooking series hosted by chef Kiran Jethwa, and two very different music shows.
“As a local brand it makes absolute sense for us to invest in originating fresh, relevant and highly entertaining programming for the East African region” said Mwananchi Group CEO Richard Bell at the launch event, which took place at the Crown Plaza on Wednesday.
Zuku launched in Nairobi in 2009 and countrywide in Kenya and Uganda in late 2011; just getting to Tanzania this year. Up to 400,000 people are now able to watch its channels, and Bell hopes to double that number by the December.
Zuku is also looking to make its presence more tangible through a sponsorship of Nite of a Thousand Laughs, and Zuku Slamfest, an ambitious regional basketball tournament, to be held at Kasarani in July. The tournament will bring together some of the best players around Africa to compete for the grand prize of $100,000.
“Our offering has been structured to meet a need – and we see a truly exciting opportunity in this. As an East African company we are committed to maintaining a close focus on this market, and are delighted to be a part of its growth” concluded Bell.
The new programmes include:
• Nite of 1000 laughs live comedy show featuring top comics from Africa including ‘Klint da Drunk’ Mandy Uzonitsha, Eric Omondi, Patrick Salvador, funny face amongst others. Zuku is an event sponsor and will also be broadcasting a series from May.
• Mentality – The show is purposely designed to create controversy or confrontations as the 3 panelists push the envelope where discussions of topics deemed to be taboo are readily explored on mainstream TV. Presenters are Ian Mbugua, Pastor Simon Mbuvi and Edward Kwach.
• Bush Larder – takes the viewer on a tour of Kenya and her more unusual and unknown gastronomic delights. The series is led by Kiran Jethwa, a Kenya born and internationally trained Chef who has returned from a global gastronomic education to settle in the country he loves, Kenya.
• Slamfest – in collaboration with Vision 21 Sports Consulting – an avenue to showcase talent and skills in basketball. 8 countries will compete
o Passport – a documentary series that visits the diverse cultural backgrounds of those participating in the slam fest series
o Black medley – will bring to light the diverse interests of the African Diaspora through film, webisodes and music.
• Zuku Swahili movies – the first Kiswahili Movie channel done in partnership with Steps Entertainment from Dar es Salaam.
• Hyped East Africa – a music travel show that showcases the different nightlife in cities and clubs.
• AfroFuse – an African music show that will feature Africa Fusion music and is aimed at celebrating African Music.