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‘Lebo M – Coming Home’ Lands on Showmax

“I have no clue who the guy the gossip papers have been writing about is.”

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Lebo M – Coming Home, the latest Showmax Original reality series, is now streaming. The reality show will be showcasing the life of one of South Africa’s most successful musicians, Lebohang Morake, affectionately known as Lebo M.

The Soweto-born singer and composer is the first voice you hear in The Lion King, a highlight of Hans Zimmer’s Oscar-winning soundtrack.

 The subsequent stage show became the highest-grossing Broadway production of all time, while Lebo M also executive produced the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, has had his songs streamed over 250 million times on Spotify alone, and won the 2020 DStv Mzansi Viewer’s Choice 1Life Legend Award.

Having achieved his first musical break at the tender age of nine years old, Lebo M – Coming Home takes you behind the scenes on that illustrious career.

Tshepiso in Lebo-M-Coming Home. Photo: Nick Boulton from-Lampost

There’s so much here; From his memories of the 1976 Soweto uprising to details of his accidental exile in Lesotho as a teenager. He also opens up about the time spent living on the streets in the US, staying clean for the last 15 years, as well as overcoming alcohol addiction. And – you might have never known this – he recorded the opening line of The Lion King in one rushed take!

Ketso in Lebo M – Coming Home . Photo: Nick Boulton from Lampost

The story Lebo M tells of the night he won a Grammy will undoubtedly put a smile on your face. “I received a Grammy in 1994, the same year South Africa welcomed its first black President,” he says. “I was in a toilet when my name was announced; security ran with me out the toilet, through an aisle onto the stage to accept the award.”

Mthunzi in Lebo M – Coming Home. Photo: Nick Boulton from Lampost

It’s been 26 years since that memorable Grammy night, and Lebo M is now comfortably nestled in his new home at the opulent Blair Atholl Golf Estate with his third wife, Angela, his 95-year-old mother and four of his children. “Celebrity, success and fame are largely a perception,” says Lebo M. ”There are average human beings behind the myths.”

Though the 56-year-old has enjoyed a successful career in entertainment, he admits that he’s found his role as a family man tougher going. “Yes, there’s a lot of conflict with me and my kids that comes from my kind of work, how they were brought up and brought up in two countries,” he says.

But, now more than ever, he is determined to tackle the challenge head-on. “I don’t have a problem being challenged by my children,” says Lebo M. “They challenge me a lot; they’re brought up that way. But I challenge them also.”

Refilwe in Lebo M – Coming Home . Photo: Nick Boulton from Lampost

Lebo M has helped raise nine kids: Zakiya, Nthabiseng, Refilwe, Tshepiso, Mthunzi, Ketso, Letti, Lulo and Thembalethu, who tragically passed away.

His son, Tshepiso, recently became a father himself but his relationship with Lebo M is strained at the beginning of the series. They particularly clash over Ayanda, Tshepiso’s girlfriend and mother of his baby; Lebo M distrusts her and refuses to invite her to the housewarming in Episode 1.

While these kinds of tensions make for great drama – perfect for a reality tv show – why would Lebo M do this? He’s notorious about his privacy, so why lay it all out for us to see?

He admits it’s terrifying. “This has been the scariest moment in front of the camera in my life. I’ve never felt vulnerable in front of the camera as a performer but this time, it’s different. It’s about that aspect of my life I always preferred to be private. Now, I’m feeling rather overexposed.”

But he credits the South African tabloids with helping him develop a thick skin. They’re part of his reason for agreeing to the show. “I feel the need to say, ‘Hello South Africa, I have no clue who the guy the gossip papers have been writing about is. The one who’s been married a million times’.”

He hopes the reality series starts a conversation about fatherhood in South Africa. “There’s not enough conversation around fatherhood,” says Lebo M. “I don’t necessarily say I have had a perfect father-mother relationship with the mothers of my children. But a conversation around that also, I think, is equally important given where society is, where the mindset of men is. I don’t necessarily agree a lot with South African men’s fathering attitudes or stances.”

And Lebo M hopes his story can inspire. “In the past, I loved the idea that very few people could put the name Lebo M to the face. But I’ve realised over the years that my work and career can have a positive impact on young people in my country of birth, especially those who come from my humble beginnings.”

Lebo M – Coming Home is the debut reality series from Dopezuluboi Productions, founded by Teddy Geldart, who directed two seasons of Being Bonang and was executive producer of the SAFTA-winning Living The Dream With Somizi S4 and this year’s other hit reality show, Kwa Mam’Mkhize.

Lebo M – Coming Home is the third Original reality series this year from Showmax, after Somizi & Mohale: The Union broke the overall first-day viewing record on Showmax and Life With Kelly Khumalo became the fastest Showmax Original to top one million views.

Additional episodes of Lebo M – Coming Home are coming first to Showmax on 9 December and 16 December 2020, when all 10 episodes will be ready to binge.

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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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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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