About 90 percent of KANA Television’s output is international programs, from the likes of South Korea, Turkey and South America, dubbed into Amharic, the lingua franca of Ethiopia
By James Jeffrey (Al Jazeera) |
ADDIS ABABA―Race car driver Fahmi Girma tears along a dirt track in his souped-up Toyota Vitz on the outskirts of Addis Ababa past shepherd boys tending cattle – accompanied by energetic Ethiopian music.
The four-minute clip, in which 27-year-old Girma also discusses the history of race car driving in Ethiopia and its future potential, is part of the Masters at Work series for KANA TV, a new free-to-air private satellite channel that marks a breakthrough in Ethiopian televised entertainment. It may also signal a shift in Ethiopia’s much-criticized media environment.
About 90 percent of KANA’s output is international programs, from the likes of South Korea, Turkey and South America, dubbed into Amharic, the lingua franca of Ethiopia – a necessity with 80 dialects across the country.
Following decades of drab Ethiopian state-owned television, when KANA Television launched in 2016, viewers were enthralled – it seized a 40 to 50 percent prime-time market share of Ethiopia’s estimated 4 million television households.
Now it’s looking at building on that success to produce more home-grown productions like Masters at Work.
“It’s a very efficient way of telling a story and lets us keep production values high,” said 24-year-old Beza Hailu, the producer of the behind-the-scenes videos that appear four times a day between the channel’s main programs, featuring the likes of singers, poets, fashion designers and photographers.
“We want to inspire young people who often don’t feel they have a choice about professions. There is a huge need for the likes of engineers and doctors as this is still a developing country, but we want to show that different paths like the creative arts are essential for the backbone of the country.”
Continue reading this story at Al Jazeera
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