Saturday, January 17, 2009

Back to the future

I remember back in the eighties when we first got television in Windhoek. Yes, you heard me - we only got TV in 1981. The SWABC - (South West African Broadcasting Corporation) started transmitting in Windhoek during that year.

Now, back in South Africa, they already started broadcasting TV in 1976. But, as with everything else, they decided that SWA was too backward to enjoy TV, and kept it back for quite a while. Actually, I think the majority of the conservative suidwes-population tried to resist it, because they feared that television was the root of all evil, and that our country would never be the same again. (I think they may have been quite correct.)

Well, what happened in 1981 was that they would broadcast all last week's (RSA) episodes in SWA. In other words, all the shows were first recorded while they were shown in South Africa, and the tapes were sent to Windhoek. These tapes were then shown a week after they showed them back in "the States". News bulletins were a little more progressive, and were only delayed with one day. They flew the tapes in and showed yesterday's news today. Later on, they started broadcasting their own news right out of Windhoek, with Andre Henning sitting their with a blue wall behind him. They played the Suidweslied when the services started - beautiful. Services used to start around 17h00 and end at 21h00, or something like that.

The first series I ever watched on TV was Buck Rogers. And "Man van staal" (the million dollar man), both translated into Afrikaans.

We were quite happy to watch old tennis matches and never even dreamt of live cricket on TV. Until Diana's wedding, no event had ever been transmitted live. That was one big scary day...

Things progressed through the years, until independence in 1990, when the national TV broadcaster became known as NBC, and all quality was discarded and replaced with badly recorded political speeches of idiots with red, green and blue umbrellas and scarves standing under a tree in Okahao. Hip-hop, soccer games and badly translated Latin-American soapies filled the airwaves. Viva - the African Renaissance had started.

This didn't work for most of the educated population, and it wasn't long before Multichoice found tens of thousands of very keen customers wanting to pay to see good television. Almost everyone subscribed to digital television, put up their dishes, and started watching good live TV.

So, soon we got used to watching everything live, from Big Brother, to the Iraq war, to live sport - specifically rugby and cricket.

This is where I came from. A society where you could watch a cricket match on TV WHILE IT HAPPENED. Imagine - watching a cricket match while it is actually happening - just like being there on the field.

Then I moved Down Under, to a great place called WA. A great place, with one big major flaw - they don't show live matches on TV. They fear that it may keep people from going to work, or keep them from attending matches. Now they show delayed games on TV. Can you imagine how much this sucks to someone who has been used to experiencing LIVE TV??

I'm going to make it my life's mission to get these dumb citizens of WA to speak up and demand better TV. They don't know what they're missing. It's like being back in SWA in 1981, watching recorded shows of things that happened yesterday.

May the live transmission be with you...


Rustige Swerwer said...

Maybe you should catch one of the free buses to one of the matches. It takes a little bit of effort, but it is worth the experience.

Flat White said...

the buses may be free but the tickets sure as hell are not

Flat White said...
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