Nothing can test human character like a games night. If you have any doubt, just pay close attention during a particularly tense round of 30 seconds or Pictionary. When the stakes are high, people’s true colours are exposed, allies are made and sadly, sometimes, friendships are broken!
When it comes to games nights, however, there is no greater playground than E!’s Celebrity Game Night franchise which returns this weekend for its third season. The usual games night tensions are elevated to a national level on this wildly popular, South African game show as our favourite stars compete for the ultimate prize – captained by the loveable Ayanda Thabethe and Jason Goliath.
However, you can’t discuss Celebrity Game Night without taking a moment to appreciate one of the personalities who have made the show what it is: the hostess herself, Anele Mdoda.
Ever since Celebrity Game Night’s debut season in 2020, Anele has helmed the show as Mzansi’s favourite gamesmaster and without taking attention away from the games and the contestants, she has been as much of a highlight on the show as anyone else.
Now, for our first-ever Celebrity Game Night edition, Anele dons the cover of Moziak Magazine as she discusses how season 3 of our favourite game show will be bigger, better, bolder and even more beautiful than ever before.
She also explains why it wouldn’t be fair at all to have her as a contestant – because she is the ultimate games night team mate!
May the Odds Forever Be In Your Favour
Welcome to Moziak Anele, we’re absolutely thrilled to have you on the cover of our Celebrity Game Night edition! How does it feel to be a cover star for something so fun?
Getting a cover on any level is always a great testament and it’s so much fun when it’s for something good, rather than for some big scandal, and of course Celebrity Game Night is something really good to be talking about. Things can be a bit inconsistent in our industry so when you are looking at a third season of any show, it’s something amazing and worth celebrating.
This time last year we were speaking about season 2 and now one year on we’re back for the third season. How proud are you to see this dope concept which the whole country loves back again this time around?
I love it and I like growth because look, it would be easy to just release a third season of the same type of thing. But I love the team from NBC, E!, Rapid Blue etc, I love the fact that they never rest on their laurels. We all thought “Season 2 was so amazing” and they’re just like “No wait, there’s more!”. Even on set, we spent more time together before we made it on set because you want that bond to be strong and you also want to foster competitiveness. Nothing whitens my teeth like warming up with the team and spending time together before it goes live.
Ayanda and Jason are super competitive, but there’s a definite family vibe to this production and it extends to Marlon and the band. Our sponsor this year is Mr D and they also bring the banter and they’ve just become family. That’s what I’m most proud of, nobody thought “it’s okay to do what we did last season” – everyone stepped up!
Have you been given a glimpse of the new season just yet?
Funnily enough I’ve already watched the first episode of the new season and what I love the most about it is that, just like we’re talking about how everyone stepped up, the production value this year is even higher than the previous seasons. And just to properly test this, I watched the first episode on my TV but I also watched it on my mobile – because look in this day and age everyone is watching their content on different screens. What I can safely say is that the production is exceptional whether you’re watching on a big screen, small screen, laptop or anything.
I know off set that everyone is family, but one of our highlights of the show is definitely the rivalry between the team captains, Jason and Ayanda. How does it come out this year?
The competitiveness this season actually reached a level you won’t believe this season. They were competitive in the first two seasons but this year it’s reached such heights that it’s now borderline sabotage! They try distracting each other’s team mates, maybe Jason will be busy plotting with his team and then next thing you know Ayanda will be offering them drinks! It might be family but their competitiveness is almost like a rivalry between siblings.
And do our celebrity guests also bring this competitiveness to the party?
Listen! This year we have a mixture of new celebrity guests and also some returning favourites, but here’s the catch – some of the celebs who were on one person’s team in a previous year, are on a completely different team this time around and the betrayal is REAL! So at times Ayanda is just like “The Betrayal! You won with me last time!”. It gets tense.
Wow! And look, Celebrity Game Night always delivers the biggest names. Needless to say we can expect the same this season, right?
Oh for sure! I mean some of the returning faves are already A-listers but we’ve gone beyond our borders this year so you also have some of the biggest stars from Nigeria, from across the continent and of course a number of stars from our shores. What’s nice about this is that it makes our team captains have to think really hard about what their team mates’ strengths might be and who will be better suited to certain games.
So one of main dividers of this entire concept is of course the games themselves. What can you tell us about this season’s games and how much higher the stakes are this time around?
The games are a test of strength, skill, wit and composure! My favourite game is “Where are you going” where you have to sit in the car and one gets to be a driver, and you have to describe where they are supposed to be going for them. The descriptions that they have to offer just become hilarious.
Another aspect that affects this year’s games is that I’ve extended my home. So usually we were just confined to the living room but now we’re in a penthouse in Cape Town. We have a terrace that we can make the most of and with that space, three new games have come. One particular game is my favourite, where there are three pillars that have portraits which open and close. As they open the team members are standing behind the portraits and they have to execute something. Can I just tell you I fell on the floor with laughter with this particular game, it’s so hilarious I can’t wait for you to see it!
Let’s take you out of your role as the game’s host for just a moment. Let’s pretend you were a celebrity guest and you were on someone’s team. What are the kinds of games you as Anele would excel at?
Can I tell you the truth? We actually play the games in order to test them out before production begins. I literally excel at all of them. Every single one. Even the emoji ones where you see emoticons and you need to guess the correct movie title or something. I nailed it. I nailed the tower where you must build a tower with answers. Also, my pop culture knowledge is insane. I can quote movies from the back of my head. And even when it’s someone’s turn to guess, I give them the eyes like “you are not serious if you don’t know this…”. I could never be a contestant, it wouldn’t be fair because I’d win every single challenge.
Just in case somebody needs a bit of convincing as to why they should tune in to Celebrity Game Night season 3, can you give them a few reasons why nobody, absolutely no one, should be missing this season?
Firstly, you’re not going to hate it. I can’t guarantee you’ll love it but I can guarantee you won’t hate it. One thing I’ve always been passionate about is execution when it comes to television. There was a time when production didn’t quite match what others were doing overseas but with Celebrity Game Night we’ve shown that we can produce content on the same level as any other production around the world. I can honestly say that it’s the best game show I’ve ever watched, ever. It’s the best game show in the world and it’s something to be proud of. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed at all!
Tune into the brand-new season of SAFTA award-winning Celebrity Game Night, starting Sunday 13 February at 8pm on E! (DStv Channel