Winners of Simon “Mabhunu” Sabela KZN Film and Television Awards announced

A Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Junaid Ahmed posthumously in recognition of his creative input in the industry.

By CityLife Arts Writer

The winners of the annual Simon “Mabhunu” Sabela KZN Film and Television Awards were announced at a glittering event on Saturday 23rd July, 2022, during the Durban International Film Festival. Hosted by the award-winning  Khaya Mthethwa, the awards were graced by government representatives, industry professionals, television and film personalities includingRavi Pillay :MEC Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Dr. Thembi Mtshali, Award-winning Leleti Khumalo, international actor and main cast member on UK/SA Production currently on production in KZN, Jimmy Jean-Louis.

The event was opened with an upbeat Qhom performance by KZN’s Beast. The Chairperson of the KZN Film Commission Board Ms. Nise Malange welcomed the guests, followed by a Keynote speech by Pillay. The Overall Chairperson of the Judging Panel, represented by the head of AFDA Film School, Temara Prem declared the judging press transparent and fair.

Winners were presented by officials as well as film, television, and radio personalities. For a comprehensive list of winners visit

The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Junaid Ahmed posthumously. Junaid was an International Award-winning filmmaker born in KZN,  Durban in 1959. He went to Southlands High School and graduated from the University of Durban Westville in the 1980’s with BA (Honours) degree in Drama. Junaid’s passion was always in the creative industries and he had a varied and prolific career in the arts. He produced, workshopped, acted in and directed many theatre productions at various community venues including the Asoka Theatre, the Market Theatre and at the National Arts Arts Festival. He also wrote and directed the acclaimed musical, Bombay Crush, which starred well-known SA actress Kajal Bagwandeen. 

He directed the feature film More Than Just A Game for which Sony Pictures International (SPI) acquired the international distribution rights and was broadcast in over 40 countries. Together with Helena Spring, Junaid was, at the time of his death, producing a slate of nine films supported by the NFVF. The first of these – Hard To Get opened the 2014 Durban International Film Festival, and was released in cinemas later that year. Then in February of that year their co-produced film Happiness is a Four Letter Word (with Khanyi Mbau, Renate Stuurman and Mmabatho Montsho in lead roles) was the best performing film of all new releases, in South Africa on its opening weekend.

The Awards were hosted by the KZN Film Commission in association with the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs and produced by Khulasande SSS Holdings. Under the theme, Glam Night at the Sabela’s, the awards streamed live on KZN Film Commissions’ YouTube Channel.

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