TV review – Saints and Sinners: For love or ?money

2014-08-31 15:00

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Pay channel Mzansi Magic is taking on the best of the SABC’s dramas with its new series, writes Siyabonga Sithole.

Saints and Sinners

Mzansi Magic

Sundays, 8pm

I hear that everyone’s talking about the new Mzansi Magic drama, Saints and Sinners, around the water fountain at the office on Mondays. I’m not surprised.

The series has been cleverly scheduled at 8pm on a Sunday, a slot that needed some cheering up after the quality of the traditional movie of the week declined across all our TV channels.

With its gripping good-versus-evil story line, the first season of the family drama is taking on the best of SABC’s dramas. The public broadcaster used to own local drama, but that’s no longer a given as rival channels cash in on local content.

Saints and Sinners plays on the set-up of the traditional, upstanding family versus the dodgy family. This is the same formula that made Dynasty and Dallas so popular. But this series is excellently localised to capture social issues that are relevant to its audience.

Saints and Sinners is excellently localised to capture relevant social issues

What sets Saints and Sinners apart from previous dramas from the channel is its heavyweight cast. It boasts top performers Nthati Moshesh and Tumisho Masha, alongside young talents like Siyabonga Radebe, S’dumo Mtshali, Nomphilo Gwala and Yonda Thomas.

Each episode is a one-hour encounter with illicit love affairs, robbery sprees and corruption. The show tackles the country’s moral fibre, and the battle between love and money.

The series is centred on the lives, triumphs, trials and tribulations of the criminal and materialistic Khumalos (led by hard-core matriarch Mamohato Khumalo played by Moshesh) and the hard-working and community-driven Moloiswas (Tshepo Maseko and Sibulele Gcilitshana as Thabang and Lulama, respectively).

The story lines will resonate with many South Africans as money troubles make mothers sell their daughters to the highest bidder, and unemployment and crime steal breadwinners, leaving families in despair.

At the centre of the plot is Gibson Mosia (Masha), a shrewd property mogul. Matriarch Mamohato’s husband used to work with Gibson and the pair’s dealings included hijacking buildings for financial gain.

With this knowledge, Mamohato blackmails the married Gibson into giving her daughter Phindi a “well-paying PA job”.

But this manoeuvring by Mamohato leads to an illicit love affair between Phindi and Gibson. And so the plot thickens.

Clearly, manipulation runs in the family as Phindi does not hesitate to use her beauty to worm herself out of sticky situations, while cousin Phakamani uses his delivery business as a front for criminal activities. While the Khumalos always take the easy way out, the Moloiswa family stands firm in its values and inspires the community of Diepkloof through a not-for-profit organisation, Men Under Construction.

We have plenty of Khumalos and Moloiswas in our country, and the challenges that these families undergo mirror our very own experiences during times of need and difficulty.

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