Sindi Dlathu. Picture: Supplied

When The River first aired on our screens in January last year, its opening scene was a bang, literally. Viewers saw Lindiwe Dikana (played by Sindi Dlathu) rush into her Pretoria mansion and shoot herself in the mouth.

We were then taken 12 months back to where the story really began, and last week we made it back to the present day where Lindiwe is in the hospital fighting for her life. It’s been a roller-coaster for fans of the show.

I personally found The River to be stressful at times, but always entertaining.

Stars like Dlathu, who was just nominated in the best actress category for a telenovela at this year’s South African Film & Television Awards, and Hlomla Dandala, who plays her on-screen husband, have kept us at the edge of our seats.

So have other members of the stellar cast, from Moshidi Motshegwa to Ferry Jele and new faces in the industry like Galaletsang Koffman.

In season one we saw Lindiwe, who owns Khanyisa Diamond Mine, go through many trials and do just about anything to get her way.

Her son Andile, played by Lunga Mofokeng, tried to kill himself after telling his family he was gay, which exposed how homophobic his mother was.

Her husband cheated on her which saw them go to divorce court, but they later decided to fix their marriage, and we saw the township of Refilwe revolt against her, all while she killed a few people and played her dirty games.

Dlathu, who is best known as Thandaza on Muvhango, said that although The River has kept her busy, she loves it. “Being on this show is probably one of the best experiences of my career.

“I’ve done things that are beyond my wildest dreams, and I work with some of the most amazing people that the industry has to offer. Like my guys who play my family members in the Dikana household,” she said.

With The River having all the right elements of a hit drama including celebrated writers like Phathutshedzo Makwarela and Gwydion Beynon, its success was inevitable.

However, Dlathu did not expect it.

“I never expected Lindiwe to be so popular. I think when you’re going into a new project, you do your absolute best and hope that the viewers will find something that they like about the show and the character,” said Dlathu.

The star also said that one of the biggest challenges about playing Lindiwe is letting go.

“Letting go, and learning to surrender to the character and not judge her has been the biggest challenge.

“I personally don’t know anyone like Lindiwe, so I had to find the truth about her in all the madness that she gets up to. I like that she has limits though.

“There is absolutely nothing that is off limits for her,” she added.

The actress also said that she does not like Lindiwe’s deep-rooted homophobia and how cold she can be towards her children sometimes.

Now in its second season, anything seems possible for the Dikana family, but looking back on season one, Dlathu said she enjoyed every storyline.

“I’ve been lucky in that all my story-lines have been so much fun. From Lindiwe dealing with Veronica to her wanting to demolish the houses of Refilwe.

“It’s two completely different stories that showcased different sides of her, but they were both beautifully done”.

Although she was tight-lipped on what to expect in season two, she did say all eyes will be on Lindiwe as the truth unravels, and she is exposed for the liar and manipulator that she is.

* The River airs Monday to Friday on 1Magic (Dstv channel 103) at 8pm.

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