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4 local teen dramas that came before 'Blood and Water'

Ama Qamata stars as the impulsive 16- year-old Puleng Khumalo in "Blood & Water". Picture: Netflix

Ama Qamata stars as the impulsive 16- year-old Puleng Khumalo in "Blood & Water". Picture: Netflix

Published May 20, 2020


When most of us look back at our journeys in high school, we are likely to find that those years played a big role in becoming who we are today.

For some it was the best years of their lives. Top of the food chain, they ran the school from their make-believe thrones.

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And for others, it was a miserable time as they were the victims of the fax kings and queens of high school. But whatever your experience may have been, it is likely still one of the years that had such an impact on you. 

Hence we sometimes gravitate to TV shows about high schoolers. From the scandalous glamour of "Gossip Girl" and "Elite"; the tragic feeling that was brought by "The O.C". and the lessons in friendship by "Dawson's Creek" and "One Tree Hill". Who can forget "Riverdale", "Sex Education", "Stranger Things", "Euphoria" and the recently released "Never Have I Ever?" 

The cast of "Blood & Water". Picture: Netflix "Blood & Water", which starts streaming on Netflix, Wednesday May 20, is the second African original from the streaming giant.

Starring Natasha Thahane, with Ama Qamata, Khosi Ngema and Thabang Molaba the trailer dropped this week. Set at Parkhurst College, a prestigious school for Cape Town’s elite scholars and academic overachievers, the story follows the exploits of the intelligent, proactive and impulsive 16-year-old Puleng Khumalo.

Puleng engineered her transfer to Parkhurst College to investigate the 17-year-old cold case of her older sister, who was abducted-at-birth.

The trailer showcases the antics of typical rich kids indulging in alcohol, drugs, big house parties and teenage fights. 

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Here’s a look at some South African teen dramas that were a hit with the audience. 

The Girl From St. Agnes

Lexi Summerveld played by Jane de Wet. Picture: Showmax The eight part murder mystery series set in a prestigious all-girls boarding school in the Midland, KZN follows the lives of three best friends.

Things are all fine until the most popular one is found dead. Although Lexi’s death is ruled by police as an accident, one of the teacher’s finds this hard to believe and sets out to uncover the truth.

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As the story unfolds, everyone has something to hide and things aren’t as it seems. St Agnes is a place where tragedies play out continually.

The show centres around themes such as misogyny, teenage sexuality, identity, rape culture, sexual assault and bullying. It shares a glimpse into the life of a South African teenager  privileged enough to attend an exclusive boarding school.

Streaming on Showmax

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Skeem Saam 

Scenes from "Skeem Saam". Picture: SABC 1"Skeem Saam" is one of the most watched shows in the country, boasting more than 8.8 million viewers.

The show, which is set in Turfloop, Limpopo, was originally about the adventures of Tbose and Kwaito, following the aftermath of their joyride and how they accidentally ran over the father of their schoolmate.

Now with them dealing with being adults and career drama, the story now centres on a new generation of Turf High students, who, like most teenagers with access to the internet, are even more mischievous and aren’t afraid to do things that will get them into trouble, even as troublesome as death. 

Airing on SABC1, Weekdays at 6.30pm


The Debeza Family: Luzuko Nkqeto, Lihleli Tini and Zikhona Sodlaka.  Picture: Supplied "Grassroots" is a drama set in two worlds - a rugby focused private school that boys all over the country dream of attending, including the protagonists, Monwabisi and Asanda.

It’s a story about two families, the Nalas and the Debezas and their battle for chieftaincy in their Eastern Cape Village. Not only are they rivals, thanks to their families, but also compete heavily in sport and love. They both wanted the rugby scholarship to get into the fictional St Sebastians, a top rugby school in Joburg.

The boys are also in love with the same girl, even though she has made her choice of who she wants.

This increases the hatred they have for each other and it’s made worse when the pair turn up at the school and find themselves having to share a room.

This builds up the tension between them, especially because there’s a lot of secrets they both have about their families. 

Streaming on Showmax


Cast of "Is'thunzi". Picture: Twitter Winnie came in as a fun, determined and hardcore heartbreaker who didn't need any friends, but then she, Londi, Thishiwe and Noxolo are joined together by the struggles they face.

They form the ultimate girl squad and navigate life’s obstacles, follow their dreams and form a bond that will not only push them over the edge, but also grow them in ways they never could have imagined.

The show’s lead actress, Thuso Mbedu, who plays the role of Winnie, everyone's saviour and the leader of their crew, “Ninjas” - was twice nominated for an International Emmy Award for her role in "Is'thunzi". The show was renewed for a second season due to its popularity. 

Streaming on Showmax

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