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The story of one of Africa’s greatest conquerors. Picture: BOMB Production
The story of one of Africa’s greatest conquerors. Picture: BOMB Production

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Last week, DStv unveiled new, gripping content and shows which promise to keep South Africans glued to their screens, including Shaka Ilembe, Inconceivable, Legacy, Blood Psalms and other shows.

Shaka Ilembe, which is about Shaka kaSenzangakhona, king of the Zulu Kingdom and conqueror, is produced by Bomb Productions and is currently in preproduction. It is expected to land on our screens in 2021.

According to the show’s producers, the story of Shaka Ilembe is an epic legacy project about a cornerstone African empire.

They say the story, which has been years in the making and which is told from a truly African perspective, will respect the complex tale of the life of Shaka kaSenzangakhona and will be told by a strong pool of African talent.

We want to create an epic, riveting series that is both authentic and respectful to history, but is also grabbing, heart-racing drama.
Desiree Markgraaff

Shaka Ilembe executive producer Desiree Markgraaff says the story will depict great southern kingdoms including amaThethwa, amaNdwandwe, amaQwabe, amaHlubi and amaZulu.

“The series is being filmed in isiZulu and is told from an African eye. We are hoping to give dignity to authentically African storytelling, drawing information from many texts, oral histories and izibongo,” said Markgraaff.

She added that they wanted to tell a story that captures the rich and deep history of precolonial KwaZulu-Natal.

“We want to create an epic, riveting series that is both authentic and respectful to history, but is also grabbing, heart-racing drama.

“So much of European history has been made into films and TV series, and we want this to be the start of putting great African stories on screen without the colonial gaze,” Markgraaff shared.

Read: Our Story | Shaka and a new game of death

“We want to create heroes and heroines who will light up children’s imagination. Viewers can expect an epic drama series that will showcase rich heritage and beautiful, sweeping stories that will fire up their imagination and interest in history

“[Shaka Ilembe is a story] filled with drama that will keep them glued to their seats with gripping tales of courage, sacrifice, love, determination and epic battles.”

When asked whether the story would be based on true events or if the creators would take artistic liberties, Markgraaff said they were making a drama and so there would be elements of the story that would be fictionalised, mostly drawn from the legends and tales they had unearthed during their three years of research.

“But our aim is to ensure that our telling is historically accurate. The story of [Shaka kaSenzangakhona; of Ntombazi, the mother of Zwide kaLanga; of Zwide kaLanga, the king of the Ndwandwe nation; of the force that was military head Mkabayi kaJama; and of Shaka’s mother Nandi] are all jam-packed with intrigue, drama and heartbreak.”

Meanwhile, making its way to our TV screens on September 3 is Inconceivable, which was created and produced by brothers Luke and Josh Rous, and Meren Reddy from the award-winning Rous House Productions. They have previously created successful shows such as BET’s comedy series Black Tax, as well as the SABC’s High Rollers and sitcom City Ses’la.

The 13-part drama series tells the story of two women who have been best friends since high school and now find themselves at the centre of a circle of friends, all women in their mid-thirties.

Together, these working professionals face the challenges of demanding careers and the first years of pregnancy and child-rearing – a delicate balancing act that requires all the super-powers they can muster.

“Inconceivable is definitely our greatest achievement so far. There are a lot more plans for the future, which include a feature film comedy called Lucky Fish, as well as an international miniseries titled The Rush. Watch this space...” said Rous House Productions in a statement.

We have to make sure that we give viewers what they want.
MultiChoice chief executive Calvo Mawela

The much-anticipated Legacy will premiere on September 21 with the story of a super-rich family at war with itself, and will air from Mondays to Thursdays at 7pm.

The telenovela stars veteran actors Siyabonga Twala, Don Mlangeni Nawa, Kgomotso Christopher, and TV goddess Michelle Botes, among others.

Legacy is created and produced by the award-winning Tshedza Pictures, owned by Phathutshedzo Makwarela and Gwydion Beynon, who have created successful shows including The River and SABC2’s Xitsonga series Giyani: Land of Blood.

“The key thing is to understand what the customers need, and it is part of our DNA to run a successful business. We are operating in 50 countries and each country has different audiences, and they like to watch video entertainment in their own languages anywhere at any given time. We have to make sure that we give viewers what they want,” said MultiChoice chief executive Calvo Mawela.

Read | Blood Psalms: Not just a TV show, an African epic fantasy

He added that Africans were hungry for stories told by people within their communities.

“If you have good content, people will always come to you,” Mawela said.

. Catch Inconceivable on M-Net (DStv channel 101) every Thursday at 8pm, and Legacy from Monday to Thursday at 7pm

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