Local / 10 October 2019, 4:00pm / Debashine Thangevelo
Okay, I’m obsessed with "Ifalakhe" since catching the first episode of Mzansi Magic’s new home-grown drama.
The brainchild of Stained Glass Productions, who brought us the hit telenovela series, "Uzalo", this 13-part series seems destined for the same success.
Unsurprisingly, fans have been going gaga over the show, too. One viewer even likened it to "Game of Thrones" (sans the budget, of course).
African culture, history and mythology dovetail beautifully in this epic tale set in pre-colonial South Africa, where two kings go to war.
"Ifalakhe" opened with an intense fight scene in the rain. The battle between the two warriors was reminiscent of the clash between M’Baku and T’Challa in the movie "Black Panther".
Water has symbolic meaning, especially when Khombindlela (Bheki Sibiya), the Okuhle king, turns to the gods/ancestors for help. With the queen and his second wife with child, the king yearns for an heir after fathering seven healthy daughters.
Meanwhile, there’s trouble brewing between the Okuhle and Khanya tribe. The latter are accused of stealing cattle and killing children and women. When a meeting to resolve the issue goes south, Khombindlela declares war on King Ndukuzakhe (Bheki Ngcobo) and his people, who are skilled hunters.
Unable to bear witness to the Okuhle tribe losing on the battlefield, Khombindlela calls for the tribal drum, known for its special powers, to be brought out. Unsurprisingly, they win the war, which results in the beheading of King Ndukuzakhe.
But there’s a cross to bear for defying the gods, Khombindlela is told of a prophecy that will befall his unborn sons.
The firstborn will unify kingdoms and be a powerful leader. But he is advised to kill the second born, who’ll bring nothing but destruction, darkness and death. Khombindlela finds himself in a conflicted situation when the midwife to the second queen is artful with the truth about the time of the birth of his second son.
The battle for supremacy has only just begun and the desire to be victorious sends some characters spiraling down a dark path where witchcraft becomes their salvation.
"Ifalakhe" is a poignant story of a bygone era where power, superstition, rivalry and manipulation thrive to ensure ample nail-biting tension.
Moving on: if you’re a fan of reality shows, "First Dates SA" is a must-see. The local version starts on BBC Lifestyle (DStv channel 174) on Wednesday, October 16, at 8pm.
At a recent screening of episode one, the media were in stitches being a fly on the wall on the dates of some of the most quirky and interesting singles out there. We’re talking about people from different age groups, cultures and professions.
Sometimes, it’s not so much the awkwardness of the dates but the lack of filter when shooting the breeze that is highly entertaining.
Ifalakhe airs on Mzansi Magic (DStv channel 161), Sundays at 8pm.