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Exclusive: Lawrence Maleka Steadies Himself For A Busy Year

New Clash of the Choirs host Lawrence Maleka was on the hot seat as we discussed his move to join the singing competition, his sex symbol status and plans for the year. Feast!

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The sizzling third season of Clash of the Choirs got a new face lift with new host Lawrence Maleka taking over the reigns from her majesty Bonang Matheba after two successful seasons. After a successful 2015, Lawrence let us in on his plans to dominate South African television screens with the reassurance that he never sticks to the same type of roles. Never short of words, the new host declared that he is unphased by the task that lays in front of him, already confident that this is going to be another highly successful season. Check it out.


QuenchSA: Who is Lawrence Maleka?

Lawrence Maleka: He doesn’t know, I’m just trying to find out. Professionally I’m a television personality and an actor. That’s Lawrence in a nutshell.

QuenchSA: How did the Clash of the Choirs gig come about?

LM: I was called in for a screening, I did the screen test and I was called in a couple of days later to do another one. Then about two weeks later I was told I had the job.

QuenchSA: Has it been a smooth transition, working with such talented and established cast members?

LM: I find that when you work with a group of professionals it makes life so much easier. If you have a professional stance yourself, you meet other people and other creatives and you guys generally come to the consensus that the product is more important than any personal issues, I think you are bound to make magic and I think that’s exactly what I found with Clash of the Choir crew and team. I think everybody cares about the final product more than individual wins and I find that so refreshing, its really remarkable to work with a team like that.

Lawrence Maleka QuenchSA: Do you feel any pressure filling the stilettos left by Bonang Matheba?

LM: No! I don’t feel any pressure at all! I said this before, for me its not about who did the show before me. I’m there to give the best that I can and then some. I never really dwell on who did the show before me or how the show was done. I think when the channel called me in for the screening they knew exactly what my abilities were and the kind of persona I would bring to the show. So they kind of knew what they were looking for when they picked up the phone and called me. For me, I’m always in competition with myself, that’s how I look at it. I feel no pressure whatsoever. I have seen Bonang do season one and two and I think she was incredible, I’m not better than nor am I less than what she is I’m just different and I bring about the difference.

QuenchSA: What sets this season apart from the last two?

LM: More than anything the difference comes from the unexpected twists that come in within the show. We’ve got a new judge this year which is going to bring about a different flair, we’ve got guest judges that are going to be coming in within the show that are going to bring in about a different flair. My presentation style and method of deliver is going to bring in a little twist within the episodes. More than that its just going to be fun!

QuenchSA: Occupying Mzansi Magic’s Prime Time slot must be daunting. At a personal level, how do you deal with the reaction received on twitter and other media platforms?

LM: For me it’s humbling when you hear great things about your work. In the line of work that I do, I’m a servant to the South African public. I present my work in the hopes that the South African public will love it, and if they love it they will buy into it. Literally my career is dependent on the South African public, if they don’t buy then my product is not good enough and I have to go back to the drawing board. In the same breath you have to take constructive criticism. If there’s a resounding call for you to try something else you try something else. I think that’s the glory and the curse of talent, you at the mercy of the people who receive it. My mom and dad told me that I’m going to be great, so I’ve been brainwashed ever since. I’m open to any type of feedback, it can only make me better, but I must say I’m glad they liked it, if they didn’t I would’ve been devastated.

QuenchSA: How do you juggle your many roles as a presenter, actor and entrepreneur?

LM: I think the biggest thing is making time. As a television personality and as an actor you pick your characters wisely. For me I’m one person that doesn’t want to consistently play the same role, I always look for something that challenges me. The next role that I play I can guarantee that it will be different from the role I play on Isibaya. In terms of my entrepreneurial things, I work with an incredible team in all these platforms, I give credit to my team, they get me prepared, they hold the fort down. I think having an incredible team is important.

Lawrence

QuenchSA: Do you consider yourself a sex symbol?

LM: No! (Laughs) Not at all. I used to be a big boy, by big I’m being politically correct. I used to be very fat. I used to be a 46 two years ago so I can never resonate with being a sex symbol, don’t even know what that means.

QuenchSA: What are Lawrence Maleka’s pet peeves?

LM: It has to be time. People who are don’t respect time and are unprepared, that gets to me. People who are unaware of what’s happening outside themselves. I do understand that people everyone is allowed a modicum of selfish but there comes a point where its not about you.

QuenchSA: Apart from Clash Of The Choirs, what else can we expect from Lawrence in 2016?

LM: In 2016 one of the biggest thing is I’m definitely going to be cementing my craft and my work as a television host and as an actor. My character on Isibaya, there’s going to be a lot of developments there. So I expect South Africa to have a love hate relationship with me due to that. The character on Isibaya is going to develop a bit more. There’s another television opportunity that I’m going to be on as well as another acting opportunity that’s going to be on later during the year but we will keep you abreast will all of that information. But the biggest thing right now is just being a Powerball host and doing the best that I can on that platform on eTV being an actor on Isibaya and being the host of Clash of the Choir. those are the three projects that I’m going to be cementing in 2016 then the second part of 2016 there’s going to be more projects. What I can promise is whatever space I occupy its not going to be the same thing, there’s always going to be a distinctive difference I think is what I’m trying to do especially within the acting space and that is what I’m bringing in 2016.

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Netflix

Squid Game Ending Explained; We’ve Been Scammed

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We’ve been had, and Squid Game is here to prove it.

When the end of the South Korean horror drama arrives on the ninth episode, the winner finds himself harrowed by what the coveted prize has cost his soul. In the rat race for survival, along with a better life that hinges on the never ending hustle, there’s no time to stop and see the horror our lives become. By the end, we see how the winner has sold his soul for a crappy deal that came with a few toys, and a happy meal.

A group of 456 players are mysteriously invited to take part in a set of children’s games for a grand prize of $38 million, which will be enough to give the winner the financial freedom they desperately need. The players are selected from different walks of life, with the burden of excessive debt being their biggest motivation to give the Game a go.

The first of deepening terrors comes during the first game, when the players discover that penalties for losing in the challenges will be death. DEATH. Horrified, the players initially vote to leave and return to their lives.

This noble departure doesn’t last long; their material realities as fugitives on the run from debt collectors only highlights the glow of the precious promise they’ve now left behind. When they return for the second time, they now consent to their highly probable deaths.

Led by Lee Jung-jae, who plays Seong Gi-hun, a taxi driver with a gambling addiction, the South Korean series has become somewhat of a global phenomenon. Now the most streamed Korean series of all time, Squid Game is also said to be on pace to dethrone Bridgerton as the most streamed series in the history of Netflix. And it’s with good reason. Squid Game is a trip.

Survival is the drive. The blues of a broke life pile up for Seong Gi-hun, who’s daughter is being taken away to the US by her mother and step father. His mother is battling deteriorating diabetes and even in her frail condition, is still working hard to make ends meet. It’s during the peak of his frustrations that Gi-hun is randomly invited to take part in the Game.

After accepting the offer, he finds himself in a discreet location along with 455 players, who are also drowning in debt. The players are kept under an authoritarian system of surveillance. Masked guards in pink suits keep the scene under control under the supervision of the Front Man. Gi-hun allies with other players, including his childhood friend Cho Sang-woo, as a the most strategic way to survive the bloody challenges.

Amongst those that end up in this team is player 001, a frail old man who who became his “gganbu”. Sae-byeok, who was also in the team, was killed by Sang-woo, Gi-hun’s childhood friend, team member and flip-flopping ally. Several other team members had to be killed by their team mates, which revealed the wickedness of the games.

In the end, Gi-hun’s victory came without an apology. He had to defeat a close ally in the games, the old and frail player 001. They’d bonded throughout their time, but in the end he had to advance himself against those he’d built alliances. As the games progressed, the players found themselves having to face tough calls. Someone else has to die for you to make it another day.

After a series of brutal games, it comes down to childhood friends Gi-hun and Cho Sang-woo. They’d played different games, with Sang-woo having played hard and stopping at nothing to win. Gi-hun is mad at Sang-woo for a series of betrayals, including him stabbing Sae-byeok to her death. In the end, Gi-hun wins when Sang-woo apologised and kills himself.

Yet despite emerging a winner, Gi-hun finds that the cost of becoming an overnight billionaire has bankrupted his soul. For a year following the day his bank account was loaded with a nine zero figure, he didn’t touch the money. After all, he returned to find his mother dead on the floor. One of his motivations was getting the money to get her medical help over her advancing diabetes.

THE ENDING

Gi-hun is clearly troubled by the bodies upon which his new wealth rests. A year passes and he hasn’t touched the money – even oddly reverting to old patterns of asking for loans to get by. It might be late to be so concerned about the moral questions surrounding the games now – the long and short of it is he won and his life has changed.

Later, he is shocked to find out that the “gganbu” who had to be killed after losing to him in a game of marbles, was never really killed.

In a shocking plot twist that changes everything – he also finds out that the old man is in fact the creator of the games! Finding him in a medical bed after receiving a mysterious invite to the location, Gi-hun discovers that the man’s real name is Oh Il-nam, an obscenely rich fella who created the games in 1988 (the same year Korea hosted the Olympics for the first time) purely for their entertainment. We already know by now that ‘the VIPs’ are a bunch of morally bankrupt elites who find pleasure in watching the poor masses slaughtering each other for money in a broken system. Where have we heard that before?

Although his participation in the games as player 001 was a farce, what he told Gi-hun back then, that he had a brain tumour, had been true. And of course, he challenged him to another sick game. A man had been freezing to death on a street pavement, and Oh Il-nam challenged Gi-hun to guess to bet on the odds that someone who help him when the clock strikes 00:00 at midnight. As Gi-hun wins, Oh Il-nam dies.

We assume this marks the end of the games. However later in the episode, Gi-hun sees the man who recruited him doing it to someone else. He runs to stop what is happening, but arrives at the exact scene late, the train has already taken off. Later on the way to boarding a flight, he turns and calls a number. “I can’t forgive you for everything you’re doing,” he tells ta man we assume to be In-ho. He turns back, clearly about to begin his new mission.

What we know now, is that Oh Il-nam created the games to tickle the sick tastes of his sick rich network. But he is now dead. Who is now behind the games? This, and Gi-hun’s passionate manifesto, are strong indications that next season of the series is already shaping up to a different arc. It’s his final transformation, and he is ready to take down the operation and those behind it. He won’t allow people to be “horses” for the entertainment of wealthy elites.

We know that In-ho shot Jun-ho in a bid to stop him from alerting the police about the games. The signal was bad, delaying the delivering of the evidence Jun-ho had been trying to send in several texts, right up to the moment the moment he plunged from a cliff and hit the water. What we don’t know is whether the messages were really not delivered. There’s also no conclusive evidence that Jun-ho is dead.

Potentially, the biggest lesson from season one is that our relentless pursuit for material success in a punishing money system kills us.

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Netflix

First Look at HBO’s Game of Thrones Spin-Off ‘House of The Dragon’

DRACARYS!

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Things look promising for HBO’s upcoming drama series, The House of Dragon. The highly buzzed Games of Thrones prequel’s first visual teaser has been met with much fanfare, raking in more than 8,6 million views on Youtube within two days of its arrival.

The House of Dragon

Photo Credit: HBO via Twitter

First reactions and buzz around the epic teaser have been strong indications that the series, slated to premiere in 2022, is off to a good start despite the infamous final season slump suffered by G.O.T. And it could mean that maybe, just maybe,  the world ready to let old baggage go.

The House of Dragon, created by an entire different team, will arrive about three years since the cold winter. The cast includes Matt Smith, Paddy Considine and Sonoya Mizuno who will be bringing to life a different era of Westeros.

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Midnight Mass is Creepy With A Dark Subtext and You Need To See it

‘God’s angel’ had sinister plans for the town.

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The reign of terror plunges a small and quiet town to ashes when the arrival of a charismatic yet mysterious priest coincides with the return of a disgraced young man who has just been released from prison.

While Riley (Zach Gilford) initially finds that Crockett Island and its 127 residents – along with his childhood sweetheart Erin (Kate Siegel) – still conduct a mundane existence, Pastor Paul (Hamish Linklater) soon changes that.

Midnight Mass

“The LORD’s angel”‘s life giving blood comes scams locals into horrible mistakes on Midnight Mass.

When the island’s much loved Roman Catholic senior priest takes a trip to the pilgrimage and never comes back, an energetic new priest takes his place at the Holy Land church. And while his arrival brings with it a new wave of spiritual revival amongst the island community, something sinister begins to haunt the town.

With each episode, the esoteric occult that powers Paul’s ability to perform astounding miracles and mesmerise the islanders, slowly gains dominion over the unsuspecting community. Instead, they begin taking up a renewed interest in the church as word of mouth spreads about the signs and wonders. Much like Jesus Christ was able to draw crowds wherever he went, the appearance of Paul’s supernatural power is able to attract even those who’d remained sceptics their lives.

It’s the blending of the sacred and the sinister. The taking of communion that has been contaminated with demonic blood, which functions as the miracle drug promising eternal life.

We soon find out the miracles come at an unthinkable cost.

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