Phahle ascends to lead M-Net South Africa

Going by the narrative penned by MultiChoice in characterising the new CEO of M-Net SA, a new post, the South African pay television operation may be in for an interesting shake up.

MultiChoice announced this week the appointment of Yolisa Phahle to head the South Africa operations of M-Net. The company said the appointment followed a decision to focus the M-Net business on three core African markets – South Africa, West Africa and East Africa. Phahle will report to the sub-Saharan CEO of M-Net, Patricia van Rooyen. Phahle moves into the new position on the 1st of April 2014.

MultiChoice CEO Imitiaz Patel is full of praises in his statement of welcome-to-the-new-position. “We are delighted to appoint a person of Yolisa’s calibre to such a key position,” said Patel. “She is a rare talent and has proven herself to be a dynamic and extremely capable all-round broadcasting executive. We have no doubt that Yolisa will lead M-Net’s South African operations to even greater heights, cement its leadership in the media and entertainment space, and win over more loyal viewers to the range of channels offered by M-Net. Yolisa has been at the forefront of local content development, which has led to more diverse growth in the viewership base. ”

The MultiChoice announcement said Phahle is currently the director for local interest channels at M-Net. She joined the group in 2005 as general manager of Channel O, spearheading the channel’s revival and turning it into the number one music channel in Africa. In 2009 when she was appointed as director of special interest channels for South Africa, her portfolio expanded to include MKKykNET and later, Vuzu. In 2010, Phahle was tasked with launching the now hugely popular Mzansi Magic. In 2012, Phahle oversaw the launch of Mzansi Magic Music and, just last year, she and her team successfully introduced the Mzansi Wethu and Mzansi Bioskop channels.

“While born in South Africa, Yolisa’s parents left the country in 1965 for exile. She grew up as part of a community of South Africans, which included Hugh Masekela; Arthur Maimane, previous managing editor of The Star newspaper; and the late John Matshikiza who combined stage acting in London with activism for the African National Congress.”

Phahle said “I grew up at the feet of these icons who used the media to tell South African stories to the world. They inspired me to play a part in the advancement of the arts in South Africa. I’m hugely excited by this fantastic opportunity. We have a wealth of talented actors, scriptwriters and production companies – I’m looking forward to consolidating existing partnerships and building new ones. It is vital that we play a leading role in the evolution and transformation of our industry.”

The statement added that Phahle trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama as a violinist and keyboard player, and later toured the world.  She played for Duran Duran, Soul II Soul, Jamiroquai and appeared on the same stage as Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Seal and Prince.

Her broadcast career began at the BBC World Service where she trained as a studio manager before becoming a producer at BBC Radio 1 and BBC World Service Music. During her time at BBC Radio she produced and oversaw live music sessions with Oasis, Paul Weller, Coldplay and the late Amy Winehouse. In 2001 she became a senior producer at BBC 6 Music.

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