- An exclusive screening of the first episode of the Real Housewives of Gqeberha was held in the friendly city on Thursday evening, ahead of its premiere.
- It stars Norma Nicol, Buli G Ngomane, Liz Prins, Unathi Faku and Ashleigh Mather, who will give viewers a front-row seat into their lives.
- M-Net local entertainment channels director Shirley Adonisi said choosing the city for the fifth local instalment of the Real Housewives format was "a no-brainer".
The first episode might bring tears to your eyes and make you laugh until your tummy hurts, but make no mistake - there's plenty of drama in store for viewers in the debut season of the Real Housewives of Gqeberha.
Dubbed RHOGQ, the first season of the reality show premieres on 1Magic (DStv 103) at 20:30 on Friday. On Thursday, News24 attended an exclusive screening of the first episode at the Andante Country Wedding & Events Venue in Gqeberha.
READ MORE | Meet the Real Housewives of Gqeberha
In the country's fifth instalment of the Real Housewives format, set in the city known for its stunning coastlines and friendly residents, viewers are introduced to Norma Nicol, Buli G Ngomane, Liz Prins, Unathi Faku and Ashleigh Mather, who were all smiles for the cameras and dressed to the nines at the opulent and elegant-themed event.
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Speaking about why they chose South Africa's windy city for the show, M-Net local entertainment channels director Shirley Adonisi said it was "a no-brainer".
"We have so many other franchises, yet, because we're so diverse as a country and a continent, there are many spaces that our audiences don't get to see, and each province has its own nuances, its own cultural differences, its own unique flavour so you cannot compare the Real Housewives of Jo'Burg as well as Real Housewives of Durban, it's a totally different flavour," she said.
"We really felt, as channel, we would really love to explore this part of this world; it's beautiful - the scenery, the culture. It's just been an amazing adventure to just find these ladies, find the story, and we are super excited to put Gqeberha on the map."
About criticism that there are now too many Real Housewives versions in South Africa and across the continent, Adonisi said: "I don't think too many are ever a bad thing. I think we've all been in a space where we didn't have choice."
"I think as MultiChoice, as a company that has productions all across Africa, our aim is actually to expose as many corners of our continent as possible to people. When we find a format that we believe works for this space, why not? I think the beauty is that you have a choice as the viewer. You can choose which franchise is your favourite. From our end, our aim is to entertain and, in a way, educate. You see the glitz and the glamour, but then you also see that they are real people."
Showrunner Jemma Ford said the selection process to find and cast the women started in December 2021. She says viewers can expect "spice". "There's a lot of spice, coupled with humour".
In a panel discussion, the cast members agreed that while having cameras around them might have taken some getting used to, they got the opportunity to showcase the scenic city.
"I definitely think we are going to put GQ (as Gqeberha is also referred to) on the mother-buffing map," Ashleigh Mather told event MC Noluthando 'Nolly Nolz' Nqayi.
Salon owner Unathi Faku, and wife of the city's former mayor, said, "What happened between us I didn't expect. You have to watch and see. I was so surprised".
Socialite Liz Prins said, "I have met a wonderful person on this show – an awesome, awesome friend that I think will be a friend for me for life. I didn't come into the show expecting to make friends. I know what the show is about; I know that the ladies don't really like each other. But I've met someone, and she's classy and beautiful."
"And they deserve each other," quipped businesswoman Buli G Ngomane. She added: "Regardless of what happens in terms of action and drama, it is important that women are showcased in all of their fabulousness, at every turn, in every way - regardless of whether we get along or not".
Events planner at the Nelson Mandela stadium, Norma Nicol, said: "If you put five queens in one room, there's going to be fireworks. And then it always ends up with who's left standing".
A sneak peek
The first episode introduces each cast member, their brief history, and their families. However, contrary to traditional Real Housewives introductions, opulence and luxury do not take centre stage, except for the flex of having solar panels in one of their homes.
While the introductions might bring a tear or two, their first official meeting is guaranteed to leave them in stitches. Viewers can look forward to what promises to be a bold but classy and unique show, which brings plenty of spice and shade.
The Real Housewives of Gqeberha airs Fridays at 20:30 on 1Magic (DStv 103)