‘Yes, I have HIV’ TV series fails to pay crew

Prior to the launch of the series, Liz Dziva, MultiChoice Zimbabwe spokesperson

ESPIRITS Concepts, an independent production house commissioned by Honey TV for the production of Yes, I have HIV Zimbabwe television series is under fire for failing to pay its crew.

The series broadcast on Honey Africa, DStv channel 173, provided an insight into the challenges and success faced by people living with HIV on a daily basis.

Prior to the launch of the series, Liz Dziva, MultiChoice Zimbabwe spokesperson, said:

“This will be a fascinating and inspiring series and it will help remind us all that there are many people living with HIV who need our support and encouragement.”

Host of the TV series  Phyllis Mavushe  said the crew behind the show has been ill-treated by the director of Espirits Concepts production  Sam Kanyama who has not shown any interest in paying them for the services they offered during production.

“I was the host of the series and Sam only paid part of my money and hasn’t paid some of the crew members. The agreement was that he pays us when Honey TV is impressed by the works we did; however, we still haven’t received our monies,"she said.

"We have tried to inquire from him but he is no longer answering our calls, responding to neither text messages nor emails. His excuse was he hasn’t received any money from Honey TV yet when we contacted them (Honey TV) they said they had paid Sam in full.”

In an email communication between Mavushe and Honey TV’s post production assistant Thabiseng Chiwashira gleened by The Standard, Honey TV revealed that they had paid Kanyama and Experts productions in full.

Stella Mukwasi, Tariro Zinyemba, Sylvester Chitswatswa, Chido Chivaura, Ronald Chikwava, and Micah Panashe who are part of the crew which hasn't been paid were also copied on the email.

“I received a late part payment on 14 September 2023, but all my crew members copied in this email have not yet received any amount. The agreement with Sam Kanyama was to have our wages paid into our accounts fully after delivering our duties which we diligently fulfilled in May 2023. Reasons for non-payment have been around monies being held by the channel and we have since been given deadlines with each deadline passing without proper communication when funds were not availed.

  “It was not in our interest to write to the channel, but seeing Honey Africa TV is closing on the 31st of October with all episodes aired but having only received part payment (for myself) and other crew members not being paid raised fears if we will be ever paid. We have reached out to you to kindly assist us in how this issue can be resolved. We have waited patiently and we think this is an unfair and unprofessional practice from Sam considering the time and effort to deliver amid the challenges we faced during filming,” read the communique. 

In their response, Honey TV assured the aggrieved that investigations were underway.

Micah Panashe who was the production assistant for the series echoed the same sentiments with Mavushe.

“We were told by Sam that Honey TV had not paid him, which was not true. A few vocal people were paid their monies and I was lucky to have gotten mine because I was the least paid in the crew and some of Sam’s colleagues asked him to pay me because it didn’t make sense for me to wait for a ridiculously small amount for long," Panashe said.

They are other people who are yet to get paid and what pains us more is that production was hard and we didn’t receive proper support- we were not compensated for our transport allowances, food on set was bad and Sam was abusive and swearing at everyone on set.”

Quizzed to comment on the allegations, Kanyama said: “I have no comment on that, thanks.”

Meanwhile, less than three years after it launched in February 2021, Honey TV was axed at the end of October by MultiChoice.

"In line with the strategy to continuously review international and local content line-ups and optimise the suite of channels on offer on DStv, the business has decided to bid farewell to Honey TV (DStv 173),"

"This is done to ensure we deliver unbeatable content to our customers and that our DStv services cater for the needs and viewing requirements of our customers." MultiChoice said.

Honey TV launched in mid-February 2021 with a coterie of shows like South Africa's Anele Mdoda doing a The view-type talk show called The Buzz, the reality series Pastors' Wives, and with promises to "showcase Africans living their best lives and to depict an honest modern-day view of our diverse countries, cultures and peoples".

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