Telling empowering stories, South Africans want to hear

Monday, 04 September 2023 10:37

Multichoice confirms season 2 of the standout drama series Shaka ILembe.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

MultiChoice today confirmed that the standout SHAKA ILEMBE drama series, which has won fans and rave reviews in abundance, has been commissioned for a second season.

The series is more than a sprawling TV opus and a dramatic reframing of the mythos of the mighty Shaka Zulu.

This Shaka origin story, a homegrown TV series six years in the making and a multimillion-rand production, is also a loud battle cry from South Africa's burgeoning TV and film industry to the global TV biz, producers and studios: See the quality, recognise the scale, stare at the locations and admire the talent in front of, and behind, the camera of what South Africa has and can bring to the screen.

While MultiChoice isn't willing to divulge a production cost number besides saying it's several zeros and it's the biggest drama series to come to prime time on DStv, the enormity and the cost of the show are self-evident in its sheer scale.

In the first season of SHAKA ILEMBE, Bomb Productions brought together 9 150 contributors, with 900 crew, including stunt people, dancers and musicians; 250 main and background actors; with a further 8 000 background actors in KwaZulu-Natal and Johannesburg, who made an appearance during the show.

More than 2 000 costumes were made, with the show using 420 wigs and hairstyles along with 8 000 strings of beads. The Johannesburg sets took more than nine months to build, with more than 750 000 bundles of grass used for thatching and more than 50km of reed grass hand-plaited the old-fashioned way into rope.

Speaking on the decision to renew the series, MultiChoice CEO General Entertainment Nomsa Philiso was appreciative of the support that SHAKA ILEMBE has gained. "MultiChoice is really committed to telling the SHAKA ILEMBE story, and this season 2 announcement confirms our intentions to honour the iconic figure of King Shaka with a continuation of his story on air."

She goes on to say, "The fact that viewers across South Africa, and indeed the continent, have been so passionately supportive of the show, tuning in to watch weekly, sharing their commentary online and really engaging with this layered story of the Nguni Kingdoms, has been fantastic. We are now looking forward to bringing season 2 to life."

The series introduced viewers to the Zulu, Mthethwa, Qwabe, Ndwandwe, Elangeni and Hlubi, with characters from the vast storyline quickly becoming household names. The bold Queen Nandi, young Prince Shaka, influential Princess Mkabayi, fearsome Zwide, mysterious Queen Ntombazi, loyal Ngomane, honourable Dingiswayo, and many more in a story that brimmed with love, war, loss, betrayal, sacrifice, and triumph.

Season 2 promises to unveil a new chapter of SHAKA ILEMBE, with new stars, characters and plotlines delivered with the same polish as season 1, with the stellar cast led by Nomzamo Mbatha, and the vast crew of the show having already laid out a foundation on which the epic story can be further expanded.