Cape Town – The new diamond drama, The River, will start as a new locally-produced telenovela on the new 1Magic channel on Monday, 29 January 2018.
Like SABC3's Isidingo, The River, produced by Tshedza Pictures, chose a South African mining community as the fictional setting where a clash between downtrodden yet aspiring blue collar workers and high-society wealth-wielders will play out when the telenovela starts on weekdays at 20:00.
Similar to the first local drama forays of Mzansi Magic, The River will combine the conflict inherent in township struggles where ordinary working class South Africans have bigger dreams, but are in part prevented from realising those aspirations due to capitalist greed and pervasive corruption within the upper classes.
The River will be the flagship show on the soon-to-launch 1Magic (DStv 103) that is replacing the VUZU AMP channel after three years that tried to court a younger viewership.
The creation of 1Magic is signaling M-Net's latest shift to a bigger focus on broader, general local entertainment through telenovelas and dramas to try and lure a wider audience than just youth viewers, something that the VUZU and VUZU AMP channels have struggled with.
"The River is just the type of drama that fans have been waiting for," says Reneilwe Sema, the M-Net director of local entertainment.
"The storyline combines the allure and ruthlessness of the business world, with the raw essence of township struggles, making for the type of story lines our viewers love."
MEET THE CAST
Sindi Dlathu who left SABC2's Venda-soap Muvhango for this new top billing role, will now appear as Lindiwe, the ruthless matriarch of a mining family.
It will be a stunning role-reversal character portrayal for Sindi, beloved by millions of South African viewers for her Thandaza Mokoena character in Muvhango, with viewers who are going to be shocked and bowled over by her cunning, vicious and "love to hate her" new evil on-screen persona.
When the stiletto'ed Lindiwe, living in an upper-crust mansion on the one side of a river, discovers that a township community on the other side is unaware that they're sitting on a valuable diamond treasure, she is adamant to secure the land and riches and will let nothing stand in her way.
Desperate to unearth the diamonds, she is as quick to put bodies into the ground when people stand in her way.
Hlomla Dandala who was in Isidingo and headlined M-Net's very first "Africa drama" Jacob's Cross a decade ago in 2007, returns to M-Net as Zweli, the husband of Lindiwe.
Newcomer Larona Moagi plays Itumeleng, a young character from the township, described as a "feisty rebel who refused to be silenced and roll over when her family and community become casualties of greed and excess" and who wants to put an end to Lindiwe's "ruthless gluttony" at the expense of the local mining community.
The veteran actor Don Mlangeni plays Thato, Itumeleng's dad.
With veteran actress Moshidi Motshegwa appearing as her mom, Malefu, a "pillar of strength in the family and township community".
Lawrence Maleka will appear in the role of Zolani, the adopted son of Lindiwe who "bites into forbidden fruit" and is the eyewitness to a terrible tragedy.
(Photos supplied: Mzansi Magic)