The world is obsessed with period dramas. From Vikings to Poldark, Vanity Fair and Young Victoria, we just can’t get enough of shows set centuries ago. But if you notice, there are no African period dramas that tell stories about what life was like on the continent before colonisation.
That changes today, thanks to Mzansi Magic’s new drama, Ifalakhe.
Created by Stained Glass Productions, Ifalakhe tells the story of power-hungry kings and their kingdoms, specifically the Okuhle tribe, who wage war against the Khanya people who have been raiding their cattle and killing their women and children. Khombindlela, the king of the Okuhle Tribe, also has to deal with his tribe on the brink of suffering harsh repercussions from a prophecy that hangs over his head.
I spoke to the director, Mmamitse Thibedi about the show, which airs on Sunday on Mzansi Magic at 8pm.
Stained Glass has been producing shows that are all about African stories. Was that your focus this year, to tell these stories? From eHostela and now Ifalakhe?
Absolutely. We have wanted to re-tell our stories from our perspectives for the longest time. We have been making sure that we tell credible stories about our history and current situations, one where the audience will be able to relate to and is relevant to their lives and their history.
Ifalakhe is set pre-the formation of the Zulu kingdom and colonialism. How much time did it take to develop the story and going back into the history of the Nguni nation?
It’s a period story, and so, that did need a lot of research from our team. We have been working on this since 2016 until now, so it has taken us a very long time to develop the story, including getting all the cultural nuances right, the wardrobe and what symbolism the clothes had and how life was like back then.
It’s an original story, but were the creators inspired by other stories on formation of different nations and tribes?
We looked at previous stories and folklore like Shaka Zulu, Cetshwayo and other African kings and tribes. We looked at why there was this need to always conquer other tribes. But there were major consequences to this, and we explore this fully in Ifalakhe.
'Ifalakhe' premieres on Mzansi Magic (DStv channel 161) on Sunday, October 6 at 8pm.
Watch the trailer below: