- Showmax launched its first original series, Blood Psalms, on 28 September 2022.
- The series is about a princess who battles a world-ending prophecy.
- The cast members share the challenges they faced while filming, which - for some - was the nudity.
On Wednesday, 28 September 2022, Showmax launched fantasy series Blood Psalms. The first two episodes, which are now streaming, went straight to number one on the streaming platform.
The star-studded cast features Enhle Mbali Mlotshwa, Hamilton Dlamini, Hlubi Mboya, Mothusi Magano, S’dumo Mtshali, Thando Thabethe, Thishiwe Ziqubu, Warren Masemola and Zolisa Xaluva, among others. So, it comes as no surprise that the show is already a hit.
The action-packed series follows Princess Zazi (played by Bokang Phelane) as she battles a world-ending prophecy to navigate her people through ancient curses, long-standing tribal vendettas and the wrath of the gods.
Among the impressive features of the show is the quality of the production, the costumes as well as the use of multiple languages in the dialogue.
Speaking about the inspiration for the series, the producer of the show, Layla Swart, says it was inspired by African history.
“I think Blood Psalms is a yearning more than anything else. It’s a look at a history that has never been depicted before, that we always wanted to see. Blood Psalms draws from elements of a multitude of African mythologies and looks at various different tribes in Season 1 - the Akachi, the Uchawi, the Ku’ua, the Chini, and Great Nziwemabwe as they migrated south from Kemet - which is now Egypt - and formed their cultures,” she says while director, Jahmil XT Qubeka, explains the setting of the series.
“Blood Psalms is set 11 000 years ago. It is an action-adventure series that invites us into a world that no longer exists, a time before the Great Flood changed the world. If they want to call it the African Game of Thrones, I’ll take that mantle on. If you love Game of Thrones, you're gonna love this show. But what we really want to do is create heroic archetypes for the African child. If you look across the entire landscape of cinema and television, there are no archetypes for the African child,” he says.
TRUELOVE caught up with some of the characters who shared more about their roles and the series:
Mothusi Mogano (King Letsha)
“King Letsha is obsessed and is scared that he might lose his kingdom, because of that he does a lot of horrible stuff,” Mothusi explains.
“The series is quite complicated and there are no two-dimensional characters, so the audience will definitely find someone to relate to and engage with. Being naked most of the time was pretty challenging while shooting for the show,” he adds.
Sello Motloung (Ancient Monarch)
“I play the character of the ancient monarch, who is the father of King Letsha. I think what most people can look forward to about the series is the number of conversations that the show will open up. It will be discussed in schools and during dinner by families. Viewers will be glued to their screens because this show is something that is about us, as Africans, and the beauty about this show is that we speak our own languages,” he says before adding how he prepared for his seTswana role.
“Even though I’m a seSotho speaking person, my character is Tswana and I had to do my research by speaking to people in Botswana as well as in South Africa in order to prepare for this show,” he adds.
Faith Baloyi (Queen Assili)
Faith says, “Queen Assili is the chief matriarch of the Uchawi tribe, but she doesn't dwell with her tribe. She currently serves as a magician for King Letsha and the Akachi tribe. However, she is using her powers for her own gain. Not only does she manipulate King Letsha but the Akachi kingdom is also controlled by her. She is trying to restore the power that has been lost for her own people and her own kingdom, so a lot is at stake. She will dispose of anyone and use anyone, including our own children. She's a ‘horrible’ human being; viewers are gonna love to hate her.”
Sello Maake kaNcube (Nkamanzu)
“Blood Psalms is an amazing television series ever to be made in Africa, by Africans. If this show will do anything for you, it will correct your worldview about Africa and what it is about,” he says of the Showmax original.
Richard Lukunku (Senator Jabari)
Richard says, “Great Nziwemabwe is like what Rome was, where Rome is the capital and the rest of the world are provinces of Rome. The southern provinces are at war and Senator Jabari is sent to come and ensure that everything runs well. It's an interesting role, you know that you've got the power of the kingdom behind you. If you don't like something, you're going to say what you're going to say. If you feel disrespected by the king, you're going to exercise the power that's being given to you.”
Mandisa Nduna (Burutti)
“Burutti is a teenager who grew up as an orphan. Although she attempts to navigate and find her individuality within her tribe, she can't shake the feeling that she does not belong. Burutti yearns to explore the world outside of her tribe. As an 18-year-old, she believes that there has to be more to life than what she currently knows,” Mandisa says.
“My character had to do a lot of physical stunts. I had to undergo vigorous physical training for the role - from deadlifts to squats, you name it! I should've known that by doing so much physical training, I was definitely going to be challenged when on set. However, a particular scene that pushed me to my limits was when I had to hang upside down - that was extremely difficult to do. But in the same breath, I thoroughly enjoyed doing my own stunts. It was a challenging yet beautiful experience,” she adds.
Bongile Manntsai (Hlengu)
"Hlengu is a true warrior; he believes in war and fighting. He is constantly defending himself and is always ready to fight. He is very barbaric and intimidating. Whereas on the other hand, I'm naturally a soft and reserved guy - the complete opposite of who Hlengu is. So, portraying Hlengu was a fun challenge. I thoroughly enjoyed pushing my limits to bring this character to life," Bongile says.
Don't miss our top stories, sign up to the TRUELOVE newsletters now!