Why are South Africans addicted to watching The River?

Credit: Showmax
Credit: Showmax

This show is exactly what South African viewers deserve.

This week marks almost a year since The River debuted on DStv's 1 Magic channel and as we anticipate the start of the second season, we look into why it has become one of the most successful drama series on South African television.

The River's talented writers

As viewers, we sometimes give the actors of the show way too much credit, which is understandable considering that they are the faces of these shows, however, behind the scenes is a bunch of insanely talented script writers who are the main reason why a drama series like The River has become a favourite among many South African viewers.

One seasoned writer is a cornerstone of The River’s success: Phatu Makwarela. He not only writes for The River, but also offers his skills to the equally popular drama series The Queen.

Phatu and his team of writers showed off their writing prowess when they skillfully crossed The Queen and The River’s storylines late last year. The result? A riveting couple of episodes of action-packed entertainment.

The week that was - #TheRiverXTheQueen! ???? ????

A post shared by Phathu Makwarela (@makwarelaphathu) on

It’s all good and well to have a cast of talented actors, but without a great script, they can’t deliver their best work. It’s a 50/50 partnership, and the team of writers on The River understand that very well.

Another of the talented writers would be very familiar to viewers: Chris Radebe not only pens episodes of The River, but also plays the role of dodgy Chief Dabula on Isibaya. It certainly doesn’t hurt the spirit of cooperation on the set to have actors on the writing staff.

Lindiwe, the antagonist

Most TV shows out there have an antagonist, someone who brings the drama. And that someone is usually male. Not on The River. Lindiwe is a tough, strong-willed woman, she’s loud and proud and people love her.

Like Harriet on The Queen, Lindiwe calls the shots and is every bit as powerful as her male counterparts. Viewers love to hate her and her wicked actions, but the last thing they want to see is her downfall.

Sindi Dlathu, who plays Lindiwe, is a veteran actress with years on Muvhango under her belt, playing a character who’s pretty opposite to Lindiwe. When viewers saw her in her new role as an ice queen, they were impressed with her range on the screen.

A quality production overall

Last but not least, viewers and competitors of other shows cannot deny the fact that The River is one of the best quality locally produced shows on television right now.

Remember how well-orchestrated that cash-in-transit episode was? We do not doubt that that particular episode had competitors of other shows running back to the drawing board because that was entertainment at its best.

Then there was Lindiwe and Zolani's wedding. What a gorgeous TV event that was! Even Phatu asked himself how on earth they were going to top that episode in 2019.

The viewers loved the wedding so much that it even bumped up the popularity of the wedding song, “Sunday Blues”, performed by singer Langa Mavuso, despite it being released two years previously. Now that’s impact!

The River is available on DStv’s 1 Magic, but, if you have missed anything, all the episodes are available to watch on Showmax, any time you want a bit of delicious drama in your life.

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