Shallow water

Anxiety is a bitch. At the beginning of this month, my Dude was sprawled across our sofa couch as sun rays licked and lulled him into sleep while he pretended he was really concentrating on this stupid movie he insisted we watch. His eyelashes curved up as salutation. When I was much younger, I used to religiously read Demetria L Lucas’ blog. On the day of the bad movie, I’d just stopped going down a rabbit hole of really old posts from her blog. I stopped because of this line: “TV is like the water in Cape Town. Cold. Is swimming where I am settling or is it sensible?” It jumped out at me and placed a cold hand around my throat. I looked at Dude but he was asleep. See, the night before, I’d had this long dream about auditioning to present a music TV show. The dream had a myriad of famous people as cast and I woke up before I could find out the most important thing: did I get the job? And the line from Demetria’s (we’re on a first name basis in my head, you know) blog snatched the air out of my throat because when you know the next step is bringing your brand of music journalism to television but there are too many obstacles, you wonder if the Universe got your calling mixed up with someone else’s. A bit of context: Demetria was recounting a tale told by someone who was not having luck in her career until she went “where the water is warm.” That means instead of doing what is expected and failing, she took matters into her own hands and became a creator. Then she was successful. Demetria was interested in pursuing television but the obstacles in her way kept making her think maybe the water is warmer where she was then: writing. But she had already received massive success in the writing world so was she settling? I haven’t been even slightly as successful as Demetria. Her path is hers. But I do tend to wonder if it’s the Read More …

On: Tjovitjo

SABC 1’s Tjovito is the disruptor of the drama genre we’ve been waiting for, writes Helen Herimbi As I drive out of a tar road and onto a mixture of gravel and broken bottles and potholes, I spot a man on his knees on a patch of grass. He is kneeling in front of an old man wearing an off-white robe. And then? I wonder aloud. “Hhayi, that’s just where the prophet does his consultations,” Sibusiso explains to me in Zulu. He is one of the crew members on the set of SABC 1’s new drama, Tjovitjo and he’s directing me to the complicated location in Crown Mines, south of Johannesburg. Having seen a few episodes of Tjovitjo, I know this is going to be a polarising 26-episode drama series. Bomb Productions is great at producing dramas that hold up a mirror to the majority of South Africa but not since their controversial Yizo Yizo has a drama been this reflective, nuanced and interesting. Produced by Puo Pha, the production company that gave us series like Society, this drama is the second coming of disruptors in the drama genre. But what is it about? Viewers are introduced to MaFred, a pantsula dance leader who is troubled by more than what the viewer can see. He straddles the line of being feared and revered by his community and is in love with a girl who only has 50 cents to her name until her birthday. Tjovitjo has segue-ways that let us into the worlds of other characters in this destitute community. Other stars of the show include Rapulana Seiphemo, Harriet Manamela, Hlengiwe Lushaba, Ntosh Madlingozi and Jabulile Mhlamba. MaFred is the kind of character who seems like a bad guy – sitting upon a dusty thronelike chair – that you can’t help but root for. But as the award-winning filmmaker, Vincent Moloi, who is Tjovitjo’s director, says, it’s not that simple. “This is not your traditional villain and protagonist story because everyone has a good and bad side,” he explains in between shooting an emotive scene between two actresses. “There’s no Read More …