The highly anticipated series “Shaka Ilembe,” set to premiere on Mzansi Magic, has found itself in the midst of a copyright ownership controversy. Themba Ndaba of Teddy Bear Pictures is claiming copyright ownership of the series, asserting that he and his team conceived the idea for the movie “King Shaka Zulu: The Warrior King” back in 2012.
Despite plans to release the movie five years ago, a lack of funding put their plans on hold. By the time they secured government funding in 2017, Ndaba alleges that Bomb Productions, the current producers of “Shaka Ilembe,” already had information about the show. He believes that Bomb Productions took advantage of the situation, securing funds and producing the story.
Ndaba and an investor in the project, Nomusa Heather Wynn, have now engaged NPO and advocacy group Intellectual Property Justice to represent them. Tebogo Sithathu, head of Intellectual Property Justice, stated that Ndaba believes the script he devised was stolen by a colleague who then presented it to Bomb Productions.
Sithathu has written a letter to MultiChoice, addressed to Nomsa Philiso, the head of programming. In the letter, he highlighted the contestation over the copyright ownership of the series and requested a meeting to explore the possibility of mediation and an amicable settlement.
MultiChoice’s legal team responded to the letter by stating that it is unclear for whom Sithathu is acting. They requested clarification on the clients’ names, the specific production for which copyright is claimed, and the basis of the claim. Without this information, they are unable to proceed with mediation.
The copyright ownership dispute poses a potential threat to the release of “Shaka Ilembe.” MultiChoice has been contacted for comment but has not yet responded. As the situation unfolds, the future of the series hangs in the balance, leaving fans and stakeholders in suspense.
In the meantime, the series has garnered significant attention, with trailers and promotional materials creating a buzz among audiences. The series is expected to explore the roots of the great warrior king, weaving together various narratives inspired by history but fueled by drama. The controversy surrounding its production only adds to the intrigue and anticipation surrounding its release.