Questions have been asked why After Nine, a gay themed local series which was due to start on SABC 1 today, has been postponed.

After Nine is a new mini-series that delves inside the secret life of a gay black man as he struggles to reveal his sexuality to his family. It was scheduled to be screened at 21:00 tonight.

A source at the SABC refuted any suggestions that the show was postponed due to possible controversy. The source insisted that the move had nothing to do with the show’s content, although she was unwilling to explain why it was postponed. She said that she expected the series to go on air within two weeks but would not confirm a firm date.

After Nine has been replaced by the three-part mini-series Crossing The Line, which has been previously broadcast.

According to Sechaba Morojele, who produced and directed After Nine, “We were originally informed that it was postponed because of controversial issues.”

He explained that he had been told some time ago that the show’s broadcast would be delayed, and when the channel decided to go ahead with the screening today at the last minute, the producers were not ready to proceed.

He went on to add that, “this has all been cleared up and it will be aired.”

Another source at SABC 1, who wished not to be identified, also insisted that After Nine will be screened soon. She said that it is now tentatively set for a May 3 premiere although this will only be confirmed when the Head of Drama at the Content Hub returns from leave next week.

It’s been speculated that the SABC is particularly sensitive to controversy following its recent “suspension” of the mini-series Umthunzi Wentaba after two episodes. The show deals with traditional initiation rituals and came under fire from traditional leaders.

In mid-March, as part of a discussion at the Out In Africa Film Festival in Johannesburg, an SABC panel committed the broadcaster to producing more gay and lesbian programming. At the event, the cast and crew of After Nine were presented to the audience as an example of the SABC’s move to be more representative of gays and lesbians.

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