A story that never ends

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PHOTO: Supplied

A Bloem-born multi-award-winning TV scriptwriter, playwright, poet, and performing artist, Tereska Muishond, and her team recently bagged yet another award at the South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs) for the best achievement in TV soap scriptwriting.

“I never really cared about awards. But these last two SAFTAs (2021 & 2022) really mean a lot to me because the writing team has been under a lot of pressure ever since Covid-19 struck and the lockdown happened. Suddenly people’s viewing patterns changed and the ratings for all the local television shows dropped. We as a writing team had to dig deep and find a new way of telling our stories to bring our viewers back and keep them entertained,” she said.

PHOTO: Supplied

Muishond added that the awards are also a testimony to her that a little coloured girl, who played in the streets of Ashbury while inhaling the fumes of the sewerage farm, can achieve anything. According to her, she never planned on becoming a writer. “I went to Joburg to pursue my acting career, which was a tough field to break into. Then I fell pregnant with my son and soon realised that I needed to get a stable job to provide for him. But I still wanted to be in the entertainment industry, so a good friend of mine, Jacques du Rand, who was working at SCANDAL!, offered me his job as the scheduler,” she said.

She adds that two years later, there was an opening in the script department and so she became the script coordinator. “I was fascinated by how structured the writing department was and realised that it was the engine room of the entire show. “Since I was a single mother and TV hours were long, I desperately wanted to be more available for my son, so I studied the scripts and taught myself how to write. By then I had already read over 400 scripts. I was working with an amazing head writer, Julie Barker, and she encouraged me to write, one scene at a time. Later I wrote half an episode and then finally a full episode. When they saw that I was getting the hang of it, they kicked me out of production and told me I was ready to be a full[1]time writer working from home,” she said.

She loves the creativity and conceptualisation of her job. She says she likes the constant challenge to think outside the box, to tell a different story from a fresh perspective, and to come up with new characters.

“My long-term dream is to open an Arts Centre in Heidedal. It saddens me that there are so many talented kids in our townships but there are no institutions and platforms where their talents can be developed. But right now I’m working on a small project for the people of Heidedal, so hopefully I will see you all next year,” said Muishond.

Justine Fortuin
justine@mahareng.co.za