1Magic's new telenova The River roars

The River. (Photo supplied)
The River. (Photo supplied)


Show: The River

Channel: 1Magic (DStv 103)

When: Monday - Friday, 20:00

If you’re going to do something with your 20:00 TV time, may we suggest you spend it watching the new series The River?

The show, which is set in Pretoria, follows the lives of two very different families – wealthy diamond mine owners the Dlaminis, and humble township dwellers the Mokoenas.

The two families are brought together and torn apart by the discovery of a diamond at a river in Cullinan that reveals layers of drama for both.

Sindi Dlathu is mining magnate Lindiwe Dlamini, owner of Khanyisa Diamond Mine, which is the backdrop for much of the story. Her performance will remind viewers of how multi-layered her skills as an actor are, as she’s been known for just playing the good girl for far too long.

With The River, she has shaken off a mould entrenched by her portrayal of Thandaza on Muvhango. Sindi is feisty as hell as she fights for her family’s survival.

Of course, no TV show is perfect and the truth is that The River offers us a slightly overplayed storyline that is way too common in telenovelas: poor versus rich families tied together by terrible secrets; black township folks with big dreams juxtaposed by new money with all its accompanying greed and corruption. You’ve seen it before.

But what we haven’t seen is this seasoned cast portraying roles very different to what we’ve come to expect. Even former Selimathunzi presenter, model and heartthrob Lunga Shabalala has some mean acting skills that make you forget how everyone used and abused his good looks instead of his talent.

His character Lindani is humble, kind and sincere in a way that makes you want to root for him to get everything he desires and deserves.

This is also Larona Moagi’s acting debut as Itumeleng Mokoena. The young actress has a strong on-screen presence and is most probably going to be the star of the show.

Hlomla Dandala plays his usual rich guy character, but his Zweli Dikana is a police commissioner married to the show’s villain Lindiwe, and he brings some unexpected humour and lightness to the show.

I’m looking forward to seeing how his character evolves as his wife gets tangled up in an uncomfortable web.

Don’t expect groundbreaking cinematography or score, but the script and performances more than make up for this.