If ever there was a time for a medical drama, it’s now. The coronavirus has thrown so many lives into a precarious balancing act between work and personal, and none more so than those working on the frontline.
SABC 2's new medical series, Vutha follows the journey of the Daveyton community through the medical professionals who serve them.
The setting is Edward Dondolo Hospital – a fictional facility that’s a furtive breeding ground of colourful characters and high-stakes drama.
We speak to Ntokozo Mbuli, the creator of the show, about what viewers can expect from the channel’s first medical drama that’s hitting your screens every Thursday evening.
Mbuli is from Daveyton and she saw the production as an opportunity to explore a world that people don’t know that much about.
“The reason it is a medical drama is because when Clive Morris Productions was shooting the telenovela, Ashes to Ashes, there was a period in the storyline when we had to shoot in a hospital for a significant amount of time. I realised then that I wanted us to produce a medical drama,” she says.
“The foundation of the story is based on various experiences I’ve had with people I’ve encountered over the years. I am surrounded by doctors – I have a family full of doctors and other people close to me are doctors and their daily stories inspired the characters I created.
“The important thing about this story is that although it is a procedural series about the goings on in a hospital, it is a human story too, about love, loss, loyalty vs betrayal, manhood and womanhood, greed – all the themes that make for a dramatic storyline.”
Mbuli is particularly passionate about this project.
“I’ve been working in television in excess of 20 years, and never have I been as touched by a body of work as I am by this story. It’s not just about healthcare – it’s a testament that meaningful messaging can come out of entertaining storytelling,” she says.
“I don’t want to give the story away too much, but the relationships between the characters and the medical cases they deal with will spark important conversations about issues that are relevant to South Africa today.
“Each of us is going to see ourselves somewhere in the story,” she adds.
Location and lockdown challenges
The medical series was shot at a hospital in Marlboro called Busa Med.
“The experience was excellent and they made a large area available to our team. However, having to stop for lockdown caused many challenges as when we returned we could not go back to the same area in which we first filmed, but we had to make it look like it was,” says CEO of Clive Morris Productions, Clive Morris.
“We were also limited with the amount of time we had in the ward after lockdown, so we had to shoot at a very fast pace. These were challenges we overcame as a team.
"It was inspiring for me to see Ntokozo’s dream of a medical drama come to fruition. Her contribution on set was immeasurable and it was a great joy for me to work with her.
“Kudos must also be paid to head writer, Sunni Faba and her team for incredibly well-crafted scripts, and also to our creative team, Genna Lewis and Manchester Mahapa, for the brilliant work done developing this show,” he adds.
SABC 2 Programme Manager, Jacqui Hlongwane is looking forward to the premiere of the show.
“We are very excited to bring to our audiences another brand new and hot drama; this time a medical drama,” she says.
“With a star-studded cast that we managed to assemble, viewers are in for a real treat and will no doubt emotionally connect with the characters and this intriguing story from the first episode.”
Meet the cast
- Kabelo Moalusi - Kgopotso Moabe
- Ayanda Bandla - Anelisa Moabe
- Miranda Ntshangase - Phiwe Madikizela
- Mmarona Motshegoa - Naledi
- Lebo Motaung - Mamba
- Siya Raymond Sepotokela – Tumelo
- Leroy Gopal - Ayitey Asumadu
- Dumisani Mbebe - Mzwakhe Masilela
- Molobane Maja - Mologadi Mahlangu
- Busisiwe Lurayi - Lungile Asumadu
- Boikie Moditle Pholo - Bra Joe
- Sipho Mbele - Ngwazi Mahlangu
- Kopano Kasu - Mmabotse Mahlangu
Vutha premierered on Thursday, 3 September, at 9.30pm.
See teaser below: