TV: A Sotho Romeo and Xhosa Juliet

2015-03-29 18:00

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Matatiele (DStv channel 194)

Tuesday, April 7, 9pm

The late-night prime slot on is getting a makeover. Matatiele, a 26-part drama, is following hot on the heels of Umlilo. This will be the second drama series to challenge the huge Muvhango viewership figures on SABC2.

Matatiele, a town serving the farming and trading communities in the foothills of the western Drakensberg, is serving as a TV backdrop for the first time.

This is award-winning director Rolie Nikiwe’s first big project under his new production company, Branded Soul, which he heads alongside Zuko Nodada and partner Khobi Ledwaba.

#Trending spent some time on set. In spite of erratic weather and delayed production schedules, the show rolled on without much fuss. The whole team has made Matatiele their home away from home.

Executive producer Khobi Ledwaba says: “We have learnt to work around the weather, and the crew is advised to dress for four seasons in one day. It can be bitingly cold in the morning and hot during the day. The clouds can decide to gather and heavy rain and thunder will befall us before the sun sets.”

Nikiwe tells us he feels a responsibility to be true to the character of the local people while not compromising quality and his vision for the series.

Viewers can expect to learn a bit of history by watching the show. Historically, the show declares, Xhosas and Sothos have animosity dating back to the 1800s. This is linked, somehow, to the Mfecane or Difaqane war period, which scattered and indigenous groups throughout southern Africa.

In a local twist on Romeo and Juliet, the drama plays off around a long-standing family feud as Nontle Sangqu (Xhosa) and Lefa Monaheng (Sotho) meet and fall in love, unbeknown to their families.

#Trending can’t wait to see Matatiele next Tuesday.

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