The Go Ahead or the Drop?

City Press review

Show: Hangman

Channel: (DStv 194)

Day and time: Sunday, 11:50

A new business show called Hangman on invites South African innovators and entrepreneurs to present their ideas to a panel of judges in the hopes of procuring funding.

The panel includes some captains of industry and investment, including celebrity economist Iraj Abedian, self-made billionaire Quinton van der Burgh, chief executive of Business Leadership SA Bonang Mohale, and businesswoman and entrepreneur Connie Mashaba.

So, yes, it’s very much like Dragons’ Den – but with a twist. If the investors don’t like your idea, a trapdoor opens up underneath you and you’re literally dropped out of contention.

It’s kinda scary, and some of the contestants almost grab at the stage when they drop.

Hosted by the always average Maps Maponyane, the show is actually rather well made. Drone shots and a dramatic title sequence set the scene for some hard-core mogul talk.

Most importantly, it’s so far given a few bright ideas a platform, such as Pretoria-based Bonex Mwakikunga’s Breath-Tech Sensor, a Breathalyser test for diabetes.

Lebohang Motsoeneng from Naturena in Joburg invented the I-waiter, an electronic button device that attracts the attention of a restaurant waiter via a fashionable vibrating watch. Then there’s Rupert Taljaard from Yzerfontein in the Western Cape, whose revolutionary Halt Lock anti-theft/anti-hijacking device stops the driveshaft in a vehicle from working, thus preventing its theft.

One phase or challenge involves the competitors being split into two teams to start a mobile truck business from scratch. They were given three weeks to do so or face the trapdoor.

Hangman is sponsored by Cell C and the company’s investment is clearly visible – Maps is kitted out in figure-hugging, colour coordinated suits.

The production crew does a great job, but this is another international concept that has been flipped for South African audiences.

As far as learning about business is concerned, this show hits the nail on the head. It’s insightful and the competitors seem to learn a lot while they’re being tested. As for originality, perhaps there’s still a little room for improvement.

However, I can’t hate too much. It isn’t as wack as Survivor SA or SA’s Got Talent, but the creators should consider making a few more series with the style used on this show. It’s got some moments that are truly fresh.