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18 Best South African TV Shows in 2018 (So Far)!

We are living in somewhat of a Television golden age, and South African TV content has just about everything for everyone to binge on! Here’s our list of the 18 Best local TV shows in 2018

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THE RIVER 

When you launch a Premium channel despite overwhelming opposition from subscribers who feel unimpressed by your current offerings for their coins, you’ve got to go in for the kill. And The River is one hell of a winner for 1Magic.

Best TV shows in South Africa

Photo Credit: IOL

The telenovela premiered in February this year, along with M-Net’s newest (or rebranded) baby. The channel’s flagship hit follows the lives of two families; the Khumalos and the Dlaminis. The Dlaminis are led by the fiercely ruthless Lindiwe (Sindi Dlathu), who’s married to Zweli (Hlomla Dandala), with whom she’s raising a beautiful family.

They lead a beautiful lavish life while the Khumalo’s struggle to make ends meet. The families may exist on different economic continuums, but a past with a diamond that built the Dlamini dynasty’s wealth binds them as much as Beauty, the Khumalo’s adoptive daughter, is in fact Lindiwe’s abandoned biological daughter!

ABOMAMA S1

An all female main cast is everything we keep asking for, but Abomama Bomthandazo is certainly that and so much more! The latest Parental Advisory Production sees them stepping beyond their love/dating show formula to bring forth a refreshing take on themes of sisterhood, survival and morality in South Africa.

Best TV Shows in South Africa 2018

The show follows four women who soon turn their stokvel into a money laundering scheme when they they find themselves plunged int o the dark crime underworld. The ladies soon find themselves having to straddle their old innocent worlds and their new roles as calculating participants in the dark worlds of illicit dealings. In order to survive, they must also play the game and topple old devils in their turf!

LOCKDOWN S3

The worst thing that can happen to a show you love is when it loses the plot, which typically takes somewhere between the second and third season. Fortunately, Lockdown S3 is arguably the show’s most gripping yet.

Best TV Shows in South Africa 2018

Hunger for power and revenge in prison. Image: Supplied

And the appearance of US actress, Tichina Arnolds, merely added to the working mix of perfect ingredients for this prison drama, which chronicles the lives of South African from different walks of life as they navigate the harsh and gritty realities of life in prison.

UNMARRIED S1

A breath of fresh air, this was! First of all, Thembisa Mdoda nails her character as a certain Thembi, unsatisfied with her ‘mediocre’ hubby and struggling with the chankuras as she is raising two kids with him. Then there’s Brenda (Renate Stuurman, what an actress. She cries on cue!), the embodiment of a successful, driven and fierce badass. But as it happens, her love life is a nightmare.

Best TV shows South Africa 2018

Unmarried follows the lives of three friends Brenda, Thembi and Lesego. Photo: Supplied

Slay Queen Lesego starts off being the girl who leading a lavish lifestyle financed by transactional relationships with men, until we step into a dark, traumatic past that informs her decisions now. And until season, boy will we miss Bodyguard Bae!

THE QUEEN  

The Queen has become that show where everything that can possibly happen actually does happen, just not how you thought and, certainly, not to who you thought! This year came with a few high profile deaths, bomb attacks, gun shoot downs and of course, that showdown between arch enemies Harriet and TGOM.

Best TV Shows South Africa 2018

If we could summarise this show, we’d say its a representation of how we are living right now. That’s what makes it work!

MUVHANGO

Long before the current wave of television shows centered on the portrayal of the unexplored traditional themes and realities in various South Africa cultural frameworks, Muvhango was already a refreshing thrill for viewers who sought something different. They did it first, they did it well. And they’ve been doing well enough to inspire a whole era of creative synergy focused on telling stories that take it back to basics.

Departing from popular mainstream narratives, the drama turned soapie started out chronicling the lives, relationships, family conflicts of vhavenda families. In it’s near two decades on air, the show has both sustained its position as the most authentic soapie – thanks to its transformative traditional anchor, explosive storylines and stellar direction – as well move things forward to reflect the life we are living right now.

ISIBAYA  

The critically acclaimed Mzansi Magic telenovela-turned-soapie is a beautiful portrait of South African life at its most exciting to watch. The award winning Mzansi Magic ratings smasher came in, blew up the game and shifted the whole landscape.

Best TV Shows South Africa 2018

Exploring family disputes, royal rifts, taxi violence and many other multi-layered themes central to the South African black experience, the BOMB production continues offering viewers a rare cinematic glimpse into the families behind the R90 billion a year taxi businesse, complete with feuds over taxi routes, royal squabbles, polygamy and more. Although admittedly, some of the soapie’s main storylines have become a bit malarkey, the show holds still as a solid fave. For now.

KHUMBULEKHAYA

This show can be on air for decades. Having already been on air for over ten years, the show is premised on the search of long lost family members and reuniting them with their loved ones.

It doesn’t matter how far apart they are, or how long the ties were cut, Andiswe Gaelesiw will travel to the ends of the world to reconnect loved ones. There’s obviously the fair share of drama because these are real people and real stories.

But the show’s focus has not been to exploit that trauma, but rather to act as a neutral platform for reuniting families, and sometimes a support system for those involved. Khumbul’EKhaya has also led to a surge in similar shows being commissioned

REAL HOUSEWIVES OF JOHANNESBURG 

The show aims to get viewers privy to the lives of Johannesburg’s most pampered housewives, and they’ve done so quite impressively! The NBC Universal franchise has already peaked in the US, and continues being popular with most of the Housewives shows now having been on air for almost and over ten years, depending on premiere dates.

Real Housewives of Johannesburg

The RHOSA production presents a lush picture of the most lavish lifestyles in this part of the world, along with a good dose of shade, enviable wardrobes and, from what we’ve seen so far, sufficient champagne for those dramatic dinners where the girls typically confront each other. The show features monied housewives Brinnette Seopela, Evodia and Mercy Mogale, Christall Kay, Lendy Ter-Mors, and DJ Naked’s wife Naledi Willers. Salute to Sonia Mbele for nailing the format.

PROJECT RUNWAY SOUTH AFRICA

If you’ve been following the American edition of this design competition since the first season, you will relate to how elated I was finding out it was being brought to South Africa! Although that excitement came with a dash of anxiety thanks to how we’ve tortured the design/fashion show format in a few botched attempts (except amongst other gems The Intern, though!), the fact that Khanyi Dlomo and her Ndalo Media had secured the rights to produce the show locally calmed my nerves and restored good chakra.

Best TV Shows South Africa 2018

Presented by Lerato Kganyago, judged by xxx with Gert Johan-Coetzee taking on Tim Gunn’s coach/mentor role for the aspirant designers, the show has been such a delight to watch! The production quality is through the roof and the level of talent in the building is mind blowing. The hallmarks of a fun competition show are all here – with the right hit of adrenaline in the mix because of the workroom pressure the faves must endure and surmount to get closer to those career launching prizes.

BEING BONANG 

The first season of Bonang’s reality television was yum, but barely went past entrée. The SA media Queen addresses this on the very last diary session, which she shares with her cousin Pinky Girl, saying “we were a bit nervous the first time.”

Best TV Shows in South Africa 2018

Photo Credit: Supplied

The second season delved a little bit deeper and we got so much more juice! Partnering with Legend Manqele to bring us the second chronicle of South Arica’s most powerful celebrity, Being Bonang distills her adventures, both professional and personal, in the most exciting and fun way.

There was barely a Sefiso this season and much less AKA, with whom she broke up in between the seasons, but there was more Lorna Maseko, more potent quotables, more PinkyGirl and her adorable personality. There were less photoshoots and more laughs and goofing around with the girls. More family, more glam and more splits… thanks to the acrobati Lorna Maseko, who kept the supply open in that flexibe department. We want a season 3.

LIVING THE DREAM WITH SOMIZI  

There’s absolutely nothing not to love about Somizi. He’s an energetic and infectious in real life as he is on television and elsewhere, by the way.

The much celebrated Media King, who has stood the test of time more than we’ve come to know to be possible in our show business, brings his larger than life personality to everything he does. Living The Dream with Somizi continues down this path and invites viewers to every aspect of Somgaga’s vibrant.

Best TV Shows in South Africa 2018

With his cute AF fiancé in tow this season (the two are said to have signed a multi million rand deal for a wedding special in the next season), things have gotten even realer. Less talked about is how his relationship with Mogale, and how navigates that with the hectic demands of the spotlight, really trails as the single most mainstream representation of queer romance on primetime television right now. We love ourselves Somgaga, who’s as unfettered on the show as he is unrelenting in being as loud about expressing himself as you can get!

IMBEWU: THE SEED

The Best Shows in South Africa 2018

Photo Credit: Supplied

One side of the Bhengu family has been keeping a secret from the other for many years, with treachery and tumult never more than a step away… is how the drama begins its plot line. One side of the Bhengu family has been keeping a secret from the other for many years, with treachery and tumult never more than a step away.

SURVIVOR SA 

It’s not easy nailing a format so popular already. Still one of the highest rated shows ever, with 35 seasons and counting, you are adapting for local audiences a turf that has become a playground for the most dedicated following there is! Yet Survivor SA is really holding its own.

Shot in the stunning Phillippines, the sixth season of Survivor South Africa saw 18 locals try to outplay, outwit and outsmart each other during this once in a lifetime opportunity. Blindsides, conniving, plenty of backstabbing, alliances and of course that breathataking scenery made this one bingeworthy. Oh, a couple of hotties in here and I think most of you know who we are talking about so let’s leave it there.

IDOLS SA

The original version of the show revived this year and still missed the mark. In Madiba land though, Idols SA is still very much alive with possibility!

Best Shows in South Africa

Idols SA judges Somizi, Unathi and Randall, as well as host ProVerb. Photo: Supplied

The singing competition has just about every right ingredient for a fun Sunday watch ahead of the new week. The judges critiques (or just laughs and, or tears) are just as entertaining as the many attempts at belting that open themselves for wide circulation in MEME streets.

It’s not just all laughs though, the show continues unearthing some pretty fine gems, with some pretty breathtaking vocal talent blowing audiences away during the live shows. There may be nothing exactly wow on the show anymore, but the little elements make for some super fun, family friendly viewing.

TAKE ME OUT MZANSI 

The dating game show returned with an elevated texture on VUZU AMP last year, wrapping up the season in February this year.

Best TV Shows in South Africa 2018

Hosted by the hilarious Phat Joe, who’s jubilant butt jiggles whenever someone gets a date are a dead give away that he really is a ‘Prince of Passion’, the revived show was a good for laughs as it was for some romantic, wishful thinking! Unlike other dating shows (there seems to be one of every channel, for every hour, now.), Take Me Out Mzansi was fun, cheerful and funny without having to humiliate anyone for it. Just saying.

UTHANDO NESTHEMBU S2

Two years ago, a reality show chronicling the worlds of spouses in a polygamous marriage blew up and became the highest rated show on Mzansi Magic! It also became the most talked about, trending at #1 for every episode.

Best TV Shows in South Africa

In 2018, the show kept its cool and gave us just the right in bites in every single that makes you want to grab popcorn. The show is about businessman Musa Mseleku and his four wives, namely MaCele, MaNgwabe, MaKhumalo and Mayeni (application for 5th which was shut down by the ladies this year). We get to see the dynamics of the marriages, the sisterhood of the wives and the reality of everything most aren’t expose to.

OUR PERFECT WEDDING 

Some people are tired of the wedding reality show, but there’s no turning away. A firm Sunday fave, Our Perfect Wedding distills the exciting journey into marriage, as each episode features a couple as they prepare for their traditional nuptial and white wedding ceremonies.

Along with the drama and hysteria that comes with this high pressure arrangement is plenty to chuckle about. A lot has happened on OPW; iconic moments involving everything from unforgettably ‘overwhelming’ kisses to dramatic cake topples, but the show still centres on love. We will be watching still, for a little while longer…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 Binge Worthy South African Shows and Doccies On Showmax Right Now

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Kwakuhle Kwethu on Showmax
Photo Credit: Supplied

Now that many of you will be having plenty of free time to binge, uninterrupted, on some good stuff, here is some South African content you can stream now on Showmax!

BUDDHA IN AFRICA  | DOCUMENTARY

In a Chinese Buddhist orphanage in Africa, a Malawian teenager finds himself torn between his African roots and Chinese upbringing. Once the star performer with dreams of becoming a martial arts hero like Jet Li, Enock is now in his final year of school and has to make some tough decisions about his future. Will he return to his relatives in his home village or study abroad in Taiwan?

Set against China’s expanding influence on the continent, Buddha in Africa provides a unique insight into the impact of cultural soft power on the identity and imagination of an African boy and his school friends growing up between two cultures.

Directed by South African Nicole Schafer, Buddha in Africa won Best South African Documentary at this year’s Durban International Film Festival, was the opening night film at Encounters, and screened at HotDocs. It’s currently screening to sold-out audiences at IDFA, arguably the world’s top documentary festival, as part of their prestigious Best Of Fests line-up.

TRACKERS | SERIES

Based on South African author Deon Meyer’s best-selling novel of diamond smuggling, rhino poaching, and an international terrorist plot to attack Cape Town, Trackers has already shattered viewership records to become the most popular show on M-Net in 2019, beating out even smash international hit shows like Game of Thrones.

It’s the first show ever to dislodge M-Net’s untouchable Sunday Night Blockbuster Movie Premiere slot – and earn more viewers – and is trending at the top of the charts on Showmax.

A co-production between M-Net, HBO-owned US network Cinemax (Warrior, Banshee), and Germany’s public broadcaster ZDF, Trackers stars SAFTA nominee James Gracie (Semi-Soet), multi-award-winner Rolanda Marais (Die Byl), Thapelo Makoena (Generations), Sandi Schultz (Die Spreeus), Trix Vivier (Waterfront), SAFTA winner Emmanuel Castis (Erfsondes), and British actor Ed Stoppard (The Pianist). Tsha Tsha star Sisanda Henna’s performance as villain Inkunzi has already landed him a leading role opposite Megan Fox in her upcoming film Rogue.

THE HERD S1-2 | SERIES

28 years ago, Bhekisizwe Mthethwa (Sello Maake Ka Ncube) was fired from his job at a butchery due to his leg injury. With no job and a hungry wife and baby, Bheki sought out the guidance of the local witch, MaMngadi (Winnie Ntshaba), who promised him a bright future if he was willing to make a great sacrifice.

When we meet Bheki in the present, he’s married to MaMngadi, with three more children, Muzi (Sparky Xulu), Nkosana (Paballo Mavundla) and Dumazile (Cindy Mahlangu). But when Bheki must choose a successor to his cattle business, his big sacrifice still weighs heavily on his soul, even as his children go into battle over what each believes to be rightfully theirs.

This hit Mzansi Magic supernatural drama was nominated for Best Drama at this year’s SAFTAs and recently won the Jury’s Special Prize at the Seoul International Drama Awards.

CARNAGE S1 | REALITY

Mad Max meets Top Gear in the Kalahari in this insane reality show that pits motorheads against one another in weaponised mutant cars.

In this steampunk desert challenge, six teams transform ordinary vehicles into lethal weapons, then face off in three brutal arenas designed to push their cars to the limit. Then they’ll go up against monster mutant trucks – the massive Pusher, the evil Shredder, and the lethal Finisher – to either earn a place in the final or on the scrapheap.

Hosted by Lethal Bizzle, Vick Hope and former cricketer Freddie Flintoff, this is top-notch popcorn TV.

STROOP | DOCUMENTARY 

Stroop: Journey into the Rhino Horn War is a gripping wildlife crime thriller of a documentary that takes the viewer on a rollercoaster ride between Africa and Asia. Two first-time filmmakers, award-winning editor Susan Scott (The Last Lions) and 50/50 presenter Bonné de Bod, embed themselves on the frontlines of the rhino poaching crisis, where they are given exclusive access to the war as it unfolds on the ground.

Carving out six months for the project, the two women quickly find themselves immersed in a world far larger and more dangerous than they had imagined, only emerging from their odyssey four years later.

This hard-hitting South African documentary has ignited world-wide awareness of rhino poaching, screened at numerous film festivals and picked up 25 awards to date. Earlier this month, Stroop took the 2019 Video Media (Long Form) award at the prestigious SAB Environmental Media of the Year awards.

One of the film’s characters, renowned wildlife rehabilitator Karen Trendler, was also honoured with the Nick Steele Memorial Award for Environmentalist of the Year – the top nod at the award ceremony. Stroop also won Best of Festival at The International Wildlife Film Festival and was shortlisted for the presenter and impact awards at Jackson Wild, arguably the Oscars of the wildlife film world.

OTHER GOODIES TO WATCH ON SHOWMAX 

Other recent local releases on Showmax include Dream: The Lebo Mathosa Story, Desmond Dube’s hit pyramid scheme crime drama, Impilo: The Scam (Mzansi Magic); the Cape Flats high school telenovela and Dineo and Solo’s journey to marriage on  Kwakuhle Kwethu: Dineo & Solo’s Wedding.

One of QuenchSA’s Top SA Shows to watch this year,  Living the Dream with Somizi, gave us glimpses into Somizi and Mohale’s journey to marriage. You can follow the two as they start involving their families in their love story.

Discover What To Watch and The Latest TV News!

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Unathi Under Fire For Xhosa Joke On Idols SA

Unathi has since apologised over the joke.

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South African TV News: Unathi Nkayi criticised for Xhosa comments
Photo Credit: Supplied

Unathi Nkayi has come under fire for advancing a joke about the Xhosa nation being tired of “holding the country on their backs.”

The joke, which first emerged after the Springboks won the World Cup under captain Siya Kolisi’s leadership, caused a stir when the Idols South Africa judge enacted it on Sunday night’s episode of the singing competition.

Two weeks ago, Kolisi became the first black captain to see the national rugby side bring the World Cup trophy home. And along with being celebrated for this milestone, some took it a step further to bring up the fact he is also Xhosa.

MZANSI TV NEWS: HARMONY KATULONDI TO HOST ‘THE TASTE MAKER’ 

So when Unathi sang Luyolo’s praises following the delivery of a stellar performance on the show, she went on toss out one for the culture. Except, it appears, the timing, platform and context in which the comment landed has proven to have been inappropriate.

Viewers have taken to social media to lambast Nkayi’s choice of words as they fear her joke could potentially inspire voting along tribal lines, a political landscape to which serious historical tragedies attend.

If the judge’s comments do indeed hold enough power to influence the direction of the votes, as suggested by some, the credibility of the votes could be questioned.

MORE TV NEWS: 5 SOUTH AFRICAN TV SHOWS YOU SHOULD BE WATCHING!

Aware of how her remarks could trigger a furore, Unathi immediately apologised during Sunday night’s show and clarified that she had just been joking.

Stay on QuenchSA For The Freshest SA TV News and Join the Conversation By Leaving Your Comment In The Comments Section Below, on Twitter and Facebook

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Top Billing Cancelled After 27 Years

And we are so stressed.

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SABC 3’s long running premium lifestyle TV show, Top Billing, has been canned.

The Tswelopele Production, which has been chronicling the lavish and opulent lives of the South Africa’s most monied, along with all the fine experiences in travel and home, will this week be airing its final episode after 27 years on air!

QuenchSA understands that the curtain call episode will be airing this Saturday, October 19th.

Despite reports that she’s unhappy with the SABC’s decision to roll the credits permanently on her production company’s flagship show, Tswelopele Productions maintained a positive spirit in their press statement.

“This show exemplifies excellence and sophistication in arts, design, decor, fashion and broadcasting, creating countless jobs in its many years on air”, they expressed. “It has been quite a ride and it is fitting that after 25 years, we salute this season as our final one”, it says here.

Sowetan has reported that the cash strapped SABC’s decision to pull the plug on the show is down to the cost involved with producing it, which are estimated to be between R500 000 and R800 000 for each episode.

Further to this, the show’s ratings are said to have plunged since it was moved from it Thursday slot to a Saturday.

Viewers are devastated by the blind side, lamenting an end to lush scenes of a life towards which they aspire.

“What’s the point of being rich if Top Billing can’t confirm it to the world?”, one Twitter wrote, amongst many others sharing this sentiment.

Lerato noted the role played by the show in igniting her passion for architecture, which would later become her career path.

Your thoughts?

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