LOOK: ‘Shaka iLembe’ premiere event celebrated African royalty as stars stole the show on black carpet

Thandeka Dawn King. Picture: Supplied

Thandeka Dawn King. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 15, 2023


The African-inspired premiere event of the highly anticipated “Shaka iLembe” was a dazzling night, filled with glamour and all things African royalty.

The Montecasino cinema complex was transformed into a beautifully decorated setting that took guests on a trip to the historical setting and showcased Nguni culture.

Mzansi’s cream of the crop showed up dressed to kill from Dawn Thandeka King, Hope Mbhele and Sthandiwe Kgoroge along with Lemogang Tsipa, Mondli Makhoba, Senzo Radebe, Thembinkosi Mthembu and Wiseman Mncube to Mduduzi Mabaso.

Mduduzi Mabaso. Picture: Supplied

This guest list was so A-List it even included former president of South Africa Kgalema Motlanthe and Zulu royalty.

Celebrity guests walked the black carpet dressed in their best interpretations of the theme of “African Royalty” and there were hardly any misses along with the stunning African-inspired hairstyles.

Stars opted for comfortable looks, African-inspired and, of course, oozed royalty.

Sthandiwe Kgoroge. Picture: Supplied

Zandile Nhlapho, Ziya Xulu, Lethabo “LeJoy” Mathatho, Nelisiwe Sibiya, Nompilo Maphumulo, Penny Lebyane, Baby Cele, Khanyi Mbau, Winnie Ntshaba and Ntando Duma brought the A-game to the carpet that was made from animal skin.

Organisers put a lot of effort into the decor and creative aspect of the event. They even had a photographic installation by visual artist Trevor Stuurman but missed the memo on handling all the chaos that comes with such an event.

Several stunning backdrops pulled many of the well-known faces away from the main black carpet but they can’t be faulted for doing so as either the lighting was acting up or there was a queue to move down the media line.

The decor at the premiere event. Picture: Supplied

While many journalists are familiar with the who’s who of the entertainment industry, it’s not easy keeping up.

Red-carpet event organisers should consider having cards with an individual’s name as they walk the carpet, to help avoid confusion.

Now, while some celebrities understand the game of the red carpet, some want to have high standards when asked to take a picture using a cellphone. Apologies, not all of us work for TV stations.

And can the TV crews stop exhausting our beloved celebrities because by the time they reach the digital and print platforms, they already want to leave the carpet to enjoy the event?

It’s safe to say that time is just an illusion. Now I’m certainly no timekeeper, but sadly the event was behind schedule by an hour. Event MC, actress Ayanda Borotho, who stars as Queen Mfunda, apologised on the organiser’s behalf for the delay.

Before the private screening began, iconic musician Mbuso Khoza, together with vocal powerhouse Ann Masina, gave a moving performance of songs from the series soundtrack.

The cast made a beautiful entrance accompanied by imbongi (poet) but we couldn’t see much of it as the cinema was dark.

The premiere event was executive producer Nomzamo Mbatha’s moment to shine but whoever decided that it would be logistically sound for her to walk the black carpet after the screening missed the mark.

Ringo Madlingozi. Picture: Supplied

Creative director Angus Gibson from Bomb Productions took to the podium to give a lengthy speech about the journey of creating “Shaka iLembe”, calling it a “passionate engagement”.

He praised the entire cast and crew for their dedication to the historical series, which viewers should expect another season of.

Gibson during his speech shared about chasing away the Americans, referring to the CBS television drama “King Shaka”, which was reportedly in production last year.

Despite an odd moment or two, that included me briefly not having a seat, the “Shaka iLembe” premiere event was a beautifully created experience that put celebrating the history of uShaka and the series at the forefront with beautiful displays of costumes and props.

Sello Maake kaNcube and his wife Pearl. Picture: Supplied

Other celebrities spotted include Sjava, Luthando 'BU' Mthembu, Nonkanyiso Conco, Lance Stehr, Ringo Madlingozi, Sello Maake kaNcube and his wife Pearl, Robot Boii, Khaya Dladla, Blxckie, Zolisa Xaluva, Winnie Ntshaba, Ihhashi Elimhlophe, Linah Ngcobo and Ntombi Mzolo.

The show premières on Mzansi Magic (DStv channel 161) on Sunday, June 18, at 8pm.