Rhythm City cast. Picture: Twitter

The success of a show is largely dependent on how long it lasts on the telly. South African drama series, Rhythm City, which airs on e.tv has shown this success as it celebrates its tenth year anniversary.  

Set against the backdrop of the fast-paced South African music industry. 

The edgy action swings viewers between the streets and clubs of Soweto, the recording studios and radio stations of dynamic Jozi, with a wide range of fascinating characters.

Head writer, Zelipa Zulu-Rogers who oversees the writing process said she was overwhelmed and owed the show’s growth to the continual support of viewers.

“We are grateful to our viewers. They have allowed us to grow with them, kept us on our toes and made us even more passionate about what we do. And I'm not the only one. So many people have put in so much over the years. People that are no longer on the show- like Charlie Sapadin, Darrel Bristol Bovey, Craig Friemond, Byron Abrahams, Christian Blomkamp and of course the current writing team. It's an achievement for all of us,” she said.

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Roger joined the Rhythm City team as a junior writer and the only female on the team when the show was just a year old, now her responsibilities include overseeing storylines from inception to the draft phase, to treatment phase, to scripting and making sure that the producer’s vision for the show stays true.

Rhythm City through the years has always captivated viewers with authentic storylines that viewers can relate to, and although Rogers exciting said that all the storylines were her favourite, there was one that changed the course of her writing career.

“I knew I wanted to join Rhythm City writing team after the Pastor Ngidi and Rachael Phakati storyline. Where the pastor used his position to manipulate the show's super star. One that also still stands out for me, was the drinking and driving story line that saw Thula take the life of Puling's only child Matric. 

The message was relevant then, and still is so now. An irresponsible decision by one, with massive ramifications for so many,” said Rogers.

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While Rogers agrees that staying relevant to the viewers is a tough job, she said that she keeps her creative juices flowing by living and experiencing life.
“It's a lot of pressure to stay relevant, informative and entertaining and having to produce so much content in such a short space of time. But it is also very fulfilling. And I believe a writer’s work is only as deep as their experiences,” she said.

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Ten years into the grind and Rogers said that the team call themselves a family and will still work to produce the best storylines South Africa has ever seen.  
“Like any good family, We fight hard. And we love hard. Viewers can expect drama, drama, drama. And growth from the characters. Like our viewers, the show is evolving. We'll be taking more risks but still staying true to our DNA. Rhythm City is working to reclaim its spot on the top ten,” she said.

Rogers said, with instinct, structure, character, resonance and simplicity. you can take the simplest of topics and create the most beautiful of stories that will speak to everyone, anywhere in the world.

“I mean look at who just made our fan list - Bill Gates,” she said.