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Yes to impossible: The Nolo Letele story

Harnessing the power of possibility to help Africa claim its space in the global broadcasting industry is the subject of Yes To Impossible: The Nolo Letele Story, a documentary about the life of former MultiChoice Group executive chairperson Nolo Letele.

Coming to DStv and GOtv from Thursday 13 June at 17:00 and on Saturday 15 June at 20:30, both on Pearl Magic (DStv Channel 161 & GOtv Channel 301), the documentary shows how growing up in an era where the spirit of independence was sweeping across Africa shaped Letele’s vision for the continent to have its own voice – and how he worked tirelessly to realise that vision.

To speak of the growth of the African broadcast media industry is to speak of the result of Nolo’s endeavours, passion for African storytelling and relentless commitment to excellence.

After studying electronic engineering at the University of Southampton, and later becoming a chartered engineer, Nolo Letele applied for jobs in South Africa - only to find there were hardly any jobs for a black electronics graduate back in 1974.

He ended up working for Lesotho National Broadcasting Service, a small radio station and subsequently played a major role in starting the first TV station in Lesotho in conjunction with M-Net in 1988.

Nolo Letele
Nolo Letele

Having established his credentials, he was then asked to join M-Net in 1990 – he describes it as “being thrown in the deep end” – by then-Naspers CEO Koos Bekker to help build DStv into the juggernaut it is today. In spite of South Africa’s image during those apartheid years, Letele succeeded in pioneering MultiChoice’s expansion into the rest of Africa, and in 1995 went on to serve in Ghana as West African regional general manager.

He returned home when he was appointed chief executive of MultiChoice South Africa a few years later. In 1999, he was appointed as MultiChoice Group chief executive until 2010, when he was appointed executive chair of the MultiChoice South Africa Holdings board, a position he held for 11 years.

He became a non-executive director of MultiChoice Group Limited after the company was spun out of Naspers and listed independently on the JSE. Letele received several awards during his tenure at MultiChoice, including a Lifetime Africa Achievement Prize for Media Development in Africa; the Naspers Phil Weber Award; and the Black Business Executive Circle Chairman’s Award.

“I’m proud to have helped connect Africa to the world and give the continent a voice,” says Letele. “MultiChoice’s reach is unparalleled in Africa and it has given the people of Africa the opportunity to tell their own stories in their own languages. We have grown industries, created jobs and contributed meaningfully to economic growth across the continent – it’s something I hold very dear as the realization of a vision I had over 35 years ago when I joined a small Pay-TV business in South Africa”.

Yes To Impossible: The Nolo Letele Story premieres on Pearl Magic with repeats across all channels in the following days and will also be available on DStv Catch Up, DStv Stream, GOtv Stream and Showmax.

For more information, visit the www.dstv.com or www.gotvafrica.com and join the conversation on our social media pages on Facebook, Instagram, X, and TikTok with #YesToTheImpossible.

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