Art imitates real-life in Mzansi hit series 'The Republic'
Homegrown shows keep getting better and better. Creators are pushing boundaries while, at the same time, remaining authentic with the grassroots storytelling.
And kudos to Mzansi Magic for always commissioning such topnotch slice of life shows like "Impilo: The Scam" and "The Republic".
I caught the latter show earlier this week and, boy oh boy, was I blown away.
Given that we currently have former President Jacob Zuma front and centre at the State Capture inquiry, I thought The Republic was gutsy; commendably so.
The series opened with a news commentator from NNC News providing an overview of the fraud and corruption trial of disgraced former President Zondo (Siyabonga Thwala).
There is a live crossover to reporter Marlize Van Rensburg at the Pretoria High Court, where there is a mixed reaction from the public. The money he stands accused of pilfering was meant to turn Tshwane in Africa’s very own Dubai and improve the lives of its indigent residents.
While he claims this is nothing more than a witch hunt by President Lufuno (Florence Masebe), she stands firm by every decision she has made in the last two years of her reign.
With tensions running high and loyalty terribly divided, her comments to her cabinet left no room for misinterpretation.
She said: “We were in the trenches together...Comrade Zondo is also a South African citizen. Every citizen must abide by the law. Our dear Zondo committed a crime. He must pay for it.”
To restore faith in the people, President Lufuno decides to go to Soshanguve to ask the community for forgiveness and reassure them that she will deliver on what was initially promised.
Meanwhile, things don’t go according to plan for the former President. Judge Mboweni finds him guilty and he is escorted to prison to serve out his sentence. But he isn’t too fazed as there is a greater plan in play and it involves holding President Lufuno hostage along with her spokesperson, Bridget (Masasa Mbangeni).
Amid the politically unstable climate, there’s Thabang, a fallen hero and Bridget’s soon-to-be ex-husband. They have a daughter together and Bridget is overprotective of her.
Other key characters include Clementine Mosimane as Gladys (Thabang’s concerned mother), Hlomla Dandala as the spineless Vice President and Seputla Art certainly seems to imitate real-life in The Republic.
The scenes depicting violent protests and riots are a sight that is relatable to every viewer. The casting is brilliant. Masebe is commendable stoic in the face of adversity. Her leadership is unimpeachable.
Mbangeni channels her inner Olivia Pope (The Fixer/Scandal) at first; then, circumstances reduce her to an unbalanced Mellie Grant.
Thwala is a powerhouse actor. He brings out his character’s cunning and charm with aplomb. And Sebogodi is compelling as a villain conflicted by allegiance to his boss and his people.
This gritty series is a must-see if only to marvel at the first-rate talent involved with it and the audacious storytelling, of course.