Monday, 30 March 2020

Johannesburg: Various religious groupings will be able to tune in to their Easter services during the COVID-19 lockdown from the comfort of their homes, thanks to a collaboration between the Communications Department and the Multichoice Group.

In response to a call from the Communications and Digital Technologies Department to assist the religious sector during the lockdown, DStv will launch a new pop-up channel catering for various Christianity groupings.

The channel, named Africa Easter Channel, is expected to launch on Good Friday, on 9 April 2020.

The Africa Easter Channel will be broadcast in collaboration with the renowned TBN Africa, on DStv Channel 343.

Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni- Abrahams had made a call for MultiChoice to set up a dedicated pop-up channel for various religious groups in the country during the country’s first Easter Weekend under lockdown.

On 23 March 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced various measures – including a 21-day nationwide lockdown – to curb the further spread of the COVID-19 virus. The current restrictions due to the global pandemic will see South Africans staying at home during the Easter Weekend.

As such, Africa Easter Channel’s offering of music and sermons is bound to keep DStv viewers engaged and fulfilled during the four days of the channel going live.

The channel will broadcast until Easter Monday, 13 April.

Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams welcomed this intervention. “Communications and digital technologies will play an important role during this disaster period and beyond.

“We therefore appreciate MultiChoice’s response to our call for an industry-wide intervention to ensure that religious programming, especially over the Easter weekend, is produced and accessible to millions of South Africans utilising alternative means,” she said.

With religious leaders heeding the call by the President, the channel further enhances the positive response received from the religious sector.

MultiChoice Group CEO Calvo Mawela said: “We are happy to have immediately responded to the Minister’s call to assist millions of South African worshippers who regard Easter as a pivotal period of worship.

“As a responsible broadcaster, we are more than happy to partner with the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies as we afford worshippers to observe Easter from the comfort of their homes.”

Popular gospel artists such as Lebo Sekgobela, Dr Tumi, Hillsong, William McDowell and Rebecca Malope will feature prominently on the channel’s scheduling, which will also include churches such as Methodist, Anglican and Catholic.

“We have responded to this call by partnering with churches, and some of the biggest gospel artists to bring you the best Easter worship experience to as many viewers as possible,” said TBN Africa Managing Director Lucky Mbiko.

Also, recorded messages submitted by the churches will be broadcast on the channel.