South African film and television is in a good place right now. With many original stories like Gomora, The Republic and more rewriting the South African storytelling narrative, there is no better time to consume proudly South African shows on Showmax. We look at the top 7 shows to binge on Showmax right now while you’re in Lockdown.
Last month Gomora dethroned The Queen as the most-watched show on DStv, with over 2.5m viewers for a single episode on Mzansi Magic. The twisty telenovela stars SAFTA winner Katlego Danke (Isidingo, Generations) as Thathi, a spoiled trophy wife whose posh Sandton life is stripped away in an instant. With no money and no job, Thathi is forced to pull her teenage kids out of their private schools and enrol them in a public school in Alexandra. They also have to move back in with her mother, Mam’Sonto (SAFTA winner Connie Chiume from Black Panther), a woman whose strict standards and grandmotherly care for her family mask her true nature as the queen of crime in Alexandra.
With the Emmy-winning Miners Shot Down and One World Human Rights Documentary Film Festival winner Everything Must Fall, Rehad Desai made the definitive documentaries on Marikana and #feesmustfall respectively. Now, in How To Steal A Country, co-directed by Emmy winner Mark J Kaplan (The Village Under The Forest, The Lion Sleeps Tonight), Desai turns his unflinching gaze to another defining moment in South Africa’s recent history: the rise and fall of the Gupta family.
As editor Ferial Haffajee puts it in the documentary, “They came here as traders. They sold shoes out of the boot of their car… And they left here as multi-billionaires.” Desai’s take on how they accomplished that is a suspenseful detective story uncovering one huge bribery scandal after another, involving the top echelons of political power and several well-known multinational corporations.
Lockdown’s award-winning creator Mandla N makes his eagerly anticipated feature film debut with Loving Thokoza, set in the chaotic months leading up to South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994.
Enhle Mbali Mlotshwa (Isidingo, uHambo) stars as Charlotte Grootboom, a recently graduated English teacher who comes to Johannesburg to stay with her uncle (SAFTA winner Hamilton Dlamini from Isithembiso and Five Fingers For Marseilles), while she looks for a job at a Model C school. Unable to find work, she instead takes a teaching job at an Apartheid-ravaged school in Thokoza, where she fights to set up a debating society.
Loving Thokoza is also a love story set in a time of uncertainty, as Charlotte falls for ex-APLA comrade Moscow (SAFTA winner Mduduzi Mabaso from Rhythm City), who is struggling to find his place in this unstable new South Africa.