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Monday, July 3, 2023



(Left: Great African Mysteries hosted by John Robbie. Pic supplied)

Hosted by John Robbie, Great African Mysteries and Great African Escapes air in July.

The HISTORY® Channel Africa, DStv 186, has announced the production of two new local documentary shows which preserve and recognise South African stories of historical significance.

Great African Mysteries will unlock the secrets of Africa’s past, and Great African Escapes investigates some of the most daring escapes in local history. Both stand-alone shows are presented by well-known local talk radio personality, John Robbie and were produced by Clive Morris Productions (CMP).

Through their engaging narratives and historical accuracy, each show will entertain and inform viewers, as they are transported to different moments that shape our collective identity.

Great African Mysteries with John Robbie will air on Friday July 21 at 21h05. The show will explore three of the biggest mysteries in South Africa, from the discovery of Homo Naledi at the Cradle of Humankind, to the hoard of gold which Paul Kruger supposedly hid from the British during the Second Boer War. It also investigates events surrounding the crash of a South African passenger aircraft, known as the Helderberg, in 1987 in which all 159 people on board were killed.

(Right: “Great African Escapes” hosted by John Robbie. Pic supplied)

Meanwhile, Great African Escapes with John Robbie which airs on Friday July 28 at 21h05, investigates three daring local escapes. This show will look at the death-defying passenger rescue from the sinking MTS Oceanos cruise liner in 1991 and will also reveal in detail the sensational prison break from Marshall Square by four anti-apartheid activists - Mosie Moolla, Harold Wolpe, Arthur Goldreich and Abdulhay Jassat. Finally, it will uncover Albie Sachs’ miraculous escape from a car bomb explosion in 1988 and how this saw him adopt the approach of "soft vengeance" in the form of achieving freedom in a non-racial and democratic South Africa.

The HISTORY Channel Africa delves into each of these stories of significance with exclusive interviews, fascinating first-hand accounts and archival footage.

About being the show host, Robbie says, “I’ve always been a fan of the HISTORY Channel, so was delighted when the team reached out to me to be involved. It is such an important project because so many South Africans don’t necessarily know about these stories which are key moments in our country’s history, shedding light on significant events and remarkable individuals. Both shows go beyond surface level and tell the stories behind the actual events.”

Marketing Manager of the HISTORY Channel Africa, Anita Gardini says, “We’re a premiere channel for historical storytelling, so we are incredibly proud to uncover six local stories through these two shows. It was great to work with John; whose effortless narration and additions of little-known facts bring each of these moments in time to life.

“HISTORY Africa believes it’s important to uncover and share our history in order to safeguard our shared heritage. They hope that viewers find these stories gripping and engaging and walk away wanting to know even more about our country’s history.”

Khayelihle Dom Gumede, Chief Operating Officer at CMP, the production company tasked with the project, adds, “Unearthing just a few of South Africa’s historical mysteries and great escapes has been an incredible journey of fact finding and storytelling for CMP. And along the way, to meet inspiring people like Justice Albie Sachs and Professor Lee Berger who've had such an impact on our world and our country, has had a profound influence on our production team. To be part of the channel known as the premier destination for historical features is an enormous privilege.”

Also, on the HISTORY Channel this ‘Mystery Month’ is the latest season of History’s Greatest Mysteries with Laurence Fishburne (Fridays at 20h15, starting July 21)

Mystery Places (Saturdays at 19h25, starting July 8) and Ancient Murders Unearthed (Saturdays at 20h15, starting July 15).

Explore local mysteries and those further afield with the HISTORY Channel Africa this July, only on DStv 186.

To get a sneak peak of Great African Mysteries with John Robbie visit the YouTube page here -

Watch the Great African Escapes with John Robbie promo here -