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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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Imagine If Africa Ruled The World? NEW Series Explores

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Noughts + Crosses

• Noughts + Crosses is based on Malorie Blackman’s award-winning novels
• It became the no. 1 show across all channels when it premiered on 5 March 2020 in Britain
• Largely shot in South Africa, with SA’s Masali Baduza in the lead role
• Also starring BAFTA winner Jack Rowan (Born to Kill, Peaky Blinders)
• 82% critics rating, Rotten Tomatoes


“Over 700 years ago, the Aprican Empire invaded Europe. Aprica colonised the continent and reached as far as Albion. Albion has been under Aprican rule ever since.”

So begins Noughts + Crosses, a controversial six-part BBC One series that has just started screening on Showmax and M-Net, with new episodes every Thursday night from 23:30.

South African Masali Baduza (Trackers) and BAFTA winner Jack Rowan (Born To Kill, Peaky Blinders) play Sephy and Callum, two star-crossed lovers in the tradition of Romeo and Juliet.

Sephy is the privileged daughter of the Home Secretary, Kamal Hadley, while Callum’s mother, Meggie, is the Hadleys’ housekeeper. While Sephy and Callum grew up together, they may as well have lived in different worlds.

Noughts + Crosses

Shot largely in Cape Town, the series also stars Paterson Joseph (Peep Show, The Leftovers) and South African actress Bonnie Mbuli (Invictus, Wallander) as Sephy’s parents, Kamal and Jasmine, with BAFTA nominee Helen Baxendale (Cold Feet, Emily in Friends) and Tribeca winner Ian Hart (Professor Quirrell in Harry Potter) as Callum’s parents, as well as Josh Dylan (Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, The End of the F***ing World) as his brother Jude.

The alternate reality love story is based on the multi-award-winning 2001 novel by former Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman, which was included in both BBC’s list of the 100 Novels That Shaped The World and in The Guardian’s 100 Best Books of the 21st Century. Grime superstar Stormzy, who has a cameo in the series as newspaper editor Kolawale, calls the five-book series “my favourite books of all time.”

Noughts + Crosses

“What I wanted to do was have the black people in my story not as victims, but celebrating their own culture,” says Blackman. “I remember the first time I wore an afro at school, I was sent out of the class for being a troublemaker. It was this thing of black people being penalised for wearing our own natural hair. The celebration of African culture in myriad forms gives a different sensibility to what has been on TV before.”

“Prior to reading Malorie’s books, I had never heard of a world that existed where Africans were the ruling class,” says Baduza. “It was unique and it made me feel warm inside, to imagine a world where this could be a possibility.”

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“As a black African, I have never seen a television show that showcased our being or our ways, in a way that was given a place and was acceptable, until now,” says Mbuli. “It is quite a feeling to walk onto set and feel seen as a person, and feel like your hair and the way you wear it, or the way the people in your world wear their clothes or what they hold dear, is suddenly important and is being given a platform. It is shocking.

“Then you realise that you have spent your whole life without it, that you have never switched on a TV and seen that. That too is shocking. I sometimes walked onto set and started weeping.”

Visionary short film director Kibwe Tavares (Jonah, Robots of Brixton, Robot & Scarecrow) executive produced the series and steered the creation of its Afrocentric world, where everything has been rethought, from the language to the architecture, from beauty norms to the colour of plasters.

RELATED: HOW SOMIZI AND MOHALE’S WEDDING SPECIAL MADE HISTORY!

In one powerful scene, Callum cuts his finger and Sephy gets him a plaster, which is too dark for his skin. For context, South Africa has only had ‘skin tone’ plasters for black people since 2015, while in the UK, Tesco has just this year released multi tone plasters – and claims to be the first supermarket there to do so.

“There are so many small moments that a lot of people wouldn’t think about, like the fact that flesh coloured plasters are not the flesh colour of anyone but white people,” says Joseph. “It is an insidious, tiny, incremental knock to you as a citizen of any country to be told what normal is in those casual ways… Working on this drama has exercised all of our minds and made us super aware of everything.”

Noughts + Crosses was the number-one show across all channels when it premiered on 5 March 2020 in Britain. The series has a 82% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with The Guardian hailing it as “vital viewing”, The Telegraph as a “must-see”, NME as “must-watch TV”, RadioTimes as “a series on the cusp of greatness”, and The Evening Standard as “properly incendiary.”

Of course, the glowing reviews weren’t universal: The Independent predicted “this race reversal drama will induce hernias in right wing commentators” – and they weren’t wrong. Trolls took to Twitter to denounce it as “deeply racist”, “anti-white tripe” and “race-baiting.”

Blackman was having none of it. “Btw, to those accusing me of being anti-white or stating I must hate white people to create such a story as Noughts and Crosses, I’m not even going to dignify your absurd nonsense with a response,” she tweeted. “Go take a seat waaaay over there in the cold, dark and bitter haters’ corner.”

Noughts + Crosses was shot in South Africa with mostly local crew, including award-winning cinematographers Jamie Ramsay and Giulio Biccari, Emmy-nominated casting director Christa Schamberger, costume designer Dihantus Engelbrecht, hair and makeup designer Nadine Prigge, and production designer Shane Bunce.

The African links don’t stop there either – Screen International 2018 Star of Tomorrow Koby Adom, born in the Ivory Coast and raised in Ghana, is one of the two directors, while the soundtrack includes Ghana’s Kiki Gyan and Ebo Taylor; Mali’s Salif Keita; and South African artists Bongeziwe Mabandla, Mlindo The Vocalist, and Umlilo.

As Stormzy put it on Twitter, “This is 100% groundbreaking… I haven’t seen nothing like it on British telly ever.”

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Delicious Details on the Cake! – Somhale Wedding Special

It’s the ‘cake from the ceiling’!

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Somhale-Traditional-Wedding web
Photo Credit: Austen Malema

According to Somgaga, it was actually his love, Mohale Motaung, who made the most outrageous requests for their two weddings, like a 30-tier cake.

We called up Kelly Jayne’s Cake Boutique, the mother-and-daughter duo behind the one-of-a-kind wedding cakes at the couple’s traditional and white weddings, to get the details about working on the celebrity wedding of the decade.

The cake(s) for the traditional wedding

“When they came in for their cake-tasting, Somizi told us he wanted an upside-down wedding cake for their traditional wedding in Kibler Park,” says Kelly.

Somhale-Traditional-Wedding wedding cake

“We created two upside-down cakes for Somizi that were five tiers each and suspended from the ceiling. Between the two hanging cakes was Mohale’s cake, that had 10 tiers. Each tier was a different flavour and the flavours they chose were Crème Brule, death by chocolate, coconut & lemon, salted caramel & whisky, and Amarula.”

RELATED: SOMHALE WEDDING SPECIAL MAKES STREAMING HISTORY!

The cakes were covered in fondant icing, all-white with edible gold leaf, says Kelly, who has been running her baking business for the last nine years from their studio in Northlands Decor Park in Randburg.

Somhale-Traditional-Wedding wedding cake

The cake for the white wedding

“The colour scheme for Somhale’s wedding in Muldersdrift was all-white, and the cake had to match,” said Kelly. “Somizi wanted the cake to look like it was floating in the air.”

The nine-tier cake was suspended in a Perspex box for all 240 guests to see.

How do you cut and serve a wedding cake that’s in a floating box, we wanted to know? Apparently, there are all sorts of trade secrets at a lavish wedding like this one.

RELATED: TEA ON THE THE BACHELOR SA SEASON 2 CONTESTANTS 

Kelly confides that the wedding cakes are always transported to the venue in separate layers before they are assembled on-site. There is a separate cake kept in the kitchens – all the same flavours and frosting chosen by the couple – that’s served to the guests after the official cutting of the cake.

More delicious details

There were no old-fashioned cake toppers on the wedding cakes, but the couple did have their initials in gold on top of the cakes for the traditional wedding.

Kelly estimates that it took 15 people to make all of the cakes, both those on display and the cake served to the wedding guests. If she had to guess, they used well over 1,000 eggs to make all that deliciousness.

This is not the first celebrity celebration that Kelly Jayne’s Cake Boutique has baked for; they also made Winnie Mandela 80th birthday cake and baked a special cake for Carte Blanche as well. Kelly says the most common favour that couples ask for is carrot cake.

The four-part wedding special is currently streaming on Showmax.

Discover New TV News and Exclusive Interviews and Album Reviews on QuenchSA.com!

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5 Most Anticipated SA Celebrity Reality Shows in 2020!

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Khanyi Mbau to premiere in 2020

It appears the unscripted format continues gaining popularity with South African television viewers. Just look at how successful Kwa Mamkhize and Zodwa Uncensored have been.

In 2019, a record number of viewers tuned in to watch Living The Dream With Somizi, Being Bonang, Survivor SA and amongst others the premiere season of locally adapted international reality franchise, The Bachelor SA.

It’s clear channels and streaming platforms have invested further into the commissioning of reality shows, which means local audiences will have more to look forward to in the first quarter of 2020.

We’ve rounded up five most anticipated South African celebrity reality shows;

KELLY KHUMALO

While the tea on Kelly Khumalo’s looming reality show has been scant at best, QuenchSA has reliably learned that the reality show will in fact premiere exclusively on Showmax. With this, the show will be joining Somizi’s wedding special as one of the unscripted celebrity shows that have been confirmed to be Showmax original premieres.

Kelly Khumalo's reality show will premiere in April 2020 on Showmax exclusively

Kelly’s upcoming reality show will lift the veil on her personal life. Photo Credit: Instagram/Kelly Khumalo. Picture by Kwezi Khumalo

That alone suggests that the folk over at DStv and Multichoice are shifting their focus on linear television and paying more attention to their digital property. Along with the changing objectives, reality is at the centre of moving audience across platforms.

Khumalo is already one of the most talked about South African celebrities, so a visual document of the pop singer’s life is exactly what has been ordered.

Kelly Khumalo has been a fixture in the tabloids for the last decade for her burgeoning career in music, her impressive vocal range, her string of celebrity relationships with high profile entertainment figures, and other highly publicised scandals.

Most notably, however, viewers might also be tuning in to see whether or not she will be engaging openly with the much talked tragic death of her late boyfriend, former Banana Bafana captain Senzo Meyiwa.

KHANYI MBAU

Mbau often prides herself on being one of the first South African celebrities to push the envelope. And honestly, she’s not reaching!

Khanyi Mbau to premiere in 2020

Fans will be keen to see the fascinating going-ons in the life of Khanyi Mbau (left), pictured with his social media sensation brother Lasizwe (right) Photo Credit: Gallo Images/Oupa Bopape

At just 22 years old, the media personality was already a viral sensation thanks to her publicised opulent lifestyle.

She became a fascinating figure over her open book policy, which found her indulging in public displays of her expensive whips, twin Lamborghinis with her wealthy ex-husband Mandla Mthembu.

Though, we were all shocked last year to find out she once shared him with Zodwa!

Her rise to the crest of pop culture predated the advent of social media, which means she gained a huge following even before the world came to know the Kardashians.

As her life was being frequently splashed all over mainstream media, with that one iconic interview she did with Deborah Patta bolstering the frenzy around her, she began crafting a career in media. She first took on the popular character of Doobsie on SABC 2 soapie, Muvhango. Then more roles, book and endorsement deals.

And much like Kim Kardashian, she’s been able to sustain her fame with her continued presence in pop culture.

Though, following her explosive divorce from Mandla, that attention was primarily fuelled by her work, her impeccable fashion sense, her flirtations with the music industry, as well as constant rumours of skin lightening. The rise of her viral social media sensation brother, Lasizwe, has also ensured that she remains a mainstream culture fixture.

On the show, yet to have a confirmed title, we expect all these elements to be part of the magic. Her talk show on e.tv was a great success because she’d always been fearlessly honest about who she is, even if it makes some a bit uncomfortable.

Fans would want to see the growth that has led her to finding love outside the transactional relationships she’s openly had in the past, how she’s sustained longevity in a game so fleeting, her interactions with her family (including, of course, Lasizwe!), and her glamorous lifestyle.

EVODIA MOGASE

Known to her fans as Madame, the alter ego that propelled her popularity during the first season of the Real Housewives of Johannesburg, Evodia was the undisputed breakout star after the franchise had aired a successful season in South Africa.

Evodia Mogase and Mercy Mogase's reality show to premier on Mzansi Magic in 2020

Evodia and her daughter Mercy Mogase, a.k.a ‘The Versaces’, looking glamorous at the Real Housewives of Johannesburg S1 Reunion taping in Randburg, Johannesburg. Photo: Instagram/Evodia Mogase

Her famous quotables saw her become not only a fan favourite on the show, but also a meme that kept on giving on social media. And along with the fascinating relationship with her daughter, lifestyle and health fanatic Mercy Mogase, it was clear from the get go that Evodia had what it takes to carry her own spin off show.

RELATED: EVODIA MOGASE AND BRINNETTE’S TEA-PARTY SCREAMFEST ON RHOJ

Slated to premiere on Mzansi Magic, DStv channel 161 sometime around April, the show offers viewers a deeper drill into Evodia’s life. We are are being promised glimpses into her personal and professional lives — such as her friendships (it’s quite a high profile network of friends, including Somizi and Athania “who’s the real own of the Porsche SUV Brinnette was accused of faking as her on season 1 of RHOJ).

SOMIZI

In as much as we are amped for the fifth season of Living The Dream with Somizi, it’s the four part wedding special that we are even crazier about! Dubbed the “wedding of the decade”, Somizi’s nuptial to Mohale, to whom he got engaged by the Eiffel Tower in Paris, had every South African A-lister in attendance.

Entitled Somizi & Mohale: The Union, QuenchSA has revealed here that the highly anticipated show is a four-part special distilling the celebrity couple’s journey to marital bliss. The reality special will showcase the newlyweds uniting their families and in a spectacular blending of their respective Zulu and Sotho cultures!

RELATED: WHAT TO EXPECT ON ‘SOMIZI & MOHALE: THE UNION’!

From their traditional wedding in Kibler Park in Johannesburg in September 2019 to their white wedding in Muldersdrift today, Somhale’s four-part wedding special is a front-row seat to one of the most historic, heartfelt and not forgetting fabulous weddings in South African celebrity history.

Expect romance, gorgeous decor, dazzling chandelier cakes, premium champagne and multiple costume changes. Somizi & Mohale: The Union premieres on Showmax today on Monday, February 24th!

PENNY PENNY

We didn’t know how much we needed access into Papa Penny Penny’s life until the show was commissioned and premiered on Mzansi Magic in 2016. The show documents the colourful life of legendary Tsonga disco king Penny Penny as he navigates life as a musician, polygamist, a father of 17, community leader and son to his 90-year-old mother.

The show, which trends every time its on air thanks to its never ending supplies of pleasant surprises, meme worthy moments, topical points that trigger debates and conversations, as well as Penny Penny’s vibrant life.

The show also departs from the Nguni-centred landscape of local interest programmes, especially in the unscripted format, to give us sightings of other cultures. In many ways, this is a reflection of the Shaka Bundu hitmaker’s legacy.

His XiTsonga sounds echoed throughout the country, in a manner that paved the way for the likes of Sho Madjozi, King Monada and Makhadzi, who are all representing Limpompo in contemporary culture.

Discover New TV News and Exclusive Interviews and Album Reviews on QuenchSA.com!

 

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