Such were circumstances thirty years ago that I found myself becoming one of the dozen original subscribers to pay television channel M-NET.
My original experiences all those years ago were of service excellence. Not only did they transmit programmes unlike those of our National Broadcaster, but that excellence also displayed itself when dealing with any technical problems.
The original M-NET decoder was to say the least, more prototype than state of the art.
I remember one night wanting to watch a live boxing match (I think it may have been Gerrie Coetzee vs Leon Spinks?), except my decoder stopped working. In panic, I phoned M-NET service department, they suggested that as I lived close by, what would work best was to quickly bring the decoder to them, they promised to have it fixed and that I would be back home in time for the boxing. I was and do you know what? Five minutes after I got home, they phoned me to ask if the decoder was working properly. How’s that for service? It’s still excellent albeit now handled by MultiChoice.
M-NET has stayed in touch with us “old faithfuls” and they recently flew my wife Rosalie and I to Johannesburg for the M-NET 30th Birthday Dinner. And what a night and dinner it was!
We started off in the vast and most impressive lobby of MultiChoice City in Randburg which for the occasion hosted a magical M-NET 30 Year retrospective. Here’s a picture of the original decoder:
After Registration, we mingled and there were drinks aplenty on offer and really yummy canapés too: Cappuccino Tomato Soup Sips, Mini “Croque Monsieur”, Spanish Prawn Spikes, Pretzel Cheese Lollipops, Shredded Crab Taco Bites served on Chinese Spoons, Marinated Wild Mushroom Bruschetta, Italian Chicken Meatballs with Marinara Dipping Sauce and Moroccan Lamb Briouats with a Minted Yoghurt Dip.
Rosalie & Julian with Caroline Pritchard, MultiChoice Corporate Services Manager, Corporate Affairs.
It was lovely looking at the exhibition and seeing TV Celebrities, some of them old friends not seen for quite a while. But for me a personal highlight of the mingle was having a brief chat with the very personable Koos Bekker, one of the founders of M-NET. In case you want to know what we talked about, it was his glorious wine farm, Babylonstoren! As Clooney would say: “What else!”.
And the Magic continued………..
The dinner and show were held in a huge domed tent erected in the MultiChoice City car park, spectacular!
On arrival we were offered drinks. When it came to what to choose, no decision was required. Moet & Chandon was perched on the bar counter, how could I say no?
In the Dome, we were seated at a table for 10 facing a stage surrounded by 180 degrees of large AV screens. At our table were Alan Jones (who designed the first decoder) and Raymond Ofula (the veteran Kenyan actor), amongst others.
And the Magic continued…..
The menu was stupendous, take a look at what I had (my wife revelled in the Vegetarian menu, which was equally splendid):
LIGHTLY OAK SMOKED, LAVENDER-INFUSED TROUT AND NORDIC SHRIMP served with citrus dill crème fraiche, Swedish style mustard and balsamic pearls, baby leaves and potato salad
Mint and basil sorbet
SOUS-VIDE BEEF MIGNON infused with thyme oil, Maldon salt and peppercorns accompanied by a crumbed chicken croquette, Boulangèrie potatoes and seasonal vegetable bundle with a red wine jus and sweet potato shard
I drank a KEVIN ARNOLD SHIRAZ with me meal!!!
Food of this high standard is usually challenging for as many people as we were. But not when MNET/MLTICHOICE are involved
And the Magic continued…
The show was a sensory spectacular a feats for ears and eyes and using the highest calibre of state of the art tech.
Presenters includes; Trevor Noah! Yes, but he wasn’t actually there, he was a hologram. WOW!!!!!! Words fail me, real and yet not; Lira, Carol Tshabalala, Lungile Radu, Thomas Gumede and Siyabonga Ngwekazi; and IK Osakioduwa.
Performers were: Claire Johnston (still in magnificent voice) and Themba Ndaba with Special Star; Claire, Khaya Mthethwa, The Muses, Clash of the Choirs with Where Magic Lives; the incomparable Lira with Pata Pata; 2Baba (from Nigeria) with African Queen; Lira this time with Let There Be Light; The Parlotones with Richard Stirton and The Muses doing We Were Just Having Fun; Lira with Feel Good; Kahn Morbee, Khaya Mthethwa and Richard Stirton with the anthemic We are The Champions; and the phenomenal closing number KIND OF MAGIC featuring all the performers.
And the Magic continued…..
Speeches were kept to the minimum and no notes, just from the heart – Koos Bekker and Ton Vosloo.
Koos Bekker standoutishly attired!
We headed back to our hotel, elated and filled with the delights of a memorable evening filled with Magic.
Thank you M-NET long may your Magic continue!