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YoTV is Wild About Skukuza

08 March 2007

by Michele Hofmeyr

Team Wild is coming to town! The Southern African Natural History Unit (SANHU) has been approached by SABC 2 to produce 26 short inserts for a YoTV programme called "Team Wild". The series will be presented by two local children from Skukuza Primary School. The inserts will be part reality, part documentary, aimed at 6 to 9 year old viewers.

The Principal of Skukuza Primary, Mr Jannie Geldenhuys, is very excited about the series. The programme will boost the profile of the school and provide the children a chance to see "behind the scenes" in how a television programme is filmed and produced.

Each programme will consist of one 4-minute insert with the presenters and other children engaging in some fun activity, like sport or leisure, and one 4-minute nature/wildlife type insert. The SABC, like SANParks, is very particular that the content, information and stories should always be adventurous and fun but must remain factual and accurate at all times. The programmes will see our Skukuza presenters telling the young viewers about game capture, biodiversity surveys, fishing adventures, bird watching and what it's like to grow up in the Kruger National Park.

We are very excited about this opportunity as we feel that it will expose the Kruger National Park to a whole new audience of younger viewers, while also showing them that the children living in the Park have a completely different way of life from kids living in the cities” says Antoinette Goosen of SANHU. But perhaps most importantly, it will create the opportunity and platform to expose these kids to nature and conservation issues at an early age.

So who will get to lead the show? The first step in the selection of the presenters was a screen test. The selected Grade 6 and 7 children were able to test their presenting skills at the interschool athletics held in Skukuza on Saturday 10 February. Kayla Yelliah and Timothy Whitfield showed the most talent for the challenging role of presenter and they will be leading Team Wild and their viewers through the next 26 adventurous episodes. SANHU is aiming to include as many local children as possible in the different inserts and later in the series one or possibly two field presenters will be introduced.

With filming being done on location in the Kruger National Park, a specialized and experienced film crew is needed. The South African Natural History Unit (SANHU) is a husband-and-wife team of Jacques and Antoinette Goosen, who are fully equipped with high quality television and photographic equipment and have considerable experience in regional, local and international television productions. SANHU has been based in the Kruger National Park since 1999. Director and specialist cameraman Jacques Goosen has more than two decades of experience in filming natural history and travel programmes during which time he has worked on several well-known programmes, such as Parklife Africa, for both the local and international market. Antoinette has been in the television industry since 1985. As a freelance production manager/producer, Antoinette was a contributing producer for programmes such as "Lets Go" and "Eco Act'. In 1997 she worked on "Great African Wildlife Rescue/Animals on the Move", a 13 part series produced for the Discovery and Disney Channels, and thus became involved in the fascinating world of wildlife filming. With this formidable team, Team Wild is going to be an exciting series!

The Team Wild adventures in Skukuza and the Kruger National Park will be broadcast weekly from the 4th April on SABC 2 at 15h30. Make sure you don’t miss it!