Blown away by the powerful storytelling in local shows, 'DiepCity', 'The Estate' & 'Rockville'

Zikhona Bali (Asanda), Kgaogelo Monama (Lerato), Nozuko Ncayiyane (Nox) and Nompumelelo Vilakazi (Snenhlanhla) are the leads in Mzansi Magic’s new telenovela, DiepCity. Picture: Supplied

Zikhona Bali (Asanda), Kgaogelo Monama (Lerato), Nozuko Ncayiyane (Nox) and Nompumelelo Vilakazi (Snenhlanhla) are the leads in Mzansi Magic’s new telenovela, DiepCity. Picture: Supplied

Published Apr 11, 2021


Wow, it’s been a truly fantastic week on the TV front with the arrival of two telenovelas - Mzansi Magic’s “DiepCity” and SABC3’s “The Estate” - and the return of “Rockville” for a fifth season on Mzansi Magic.

I was drawn to “DiepCity because it was helmed by Mandla N of Black Brain Productions. Just to put you in the picture, he is the brainchild behind the critically-acclaimed drama series, “Lockdown”.

And he proves his Midas touch once again with his powerful female anchors Zikhona Bali (Asanda), Kgaogelo Monama (Lerato), Nozuko Ncayiyane (Nox) and Nompumelelo Vilakazi (Snenhlanhla).

The story takes place in the heart of Diepsloot, a township where poverty is interlaced with crime, where hope is shadowed by disillusionment and where dreams are punctured by overriding despair.

This is where we find Lerato, Nox, Asanda and Snenhlanhla. Despite their happy-go-lucky demeanour, their necessitous background makes them easy prey for Elliot (Mduduzi Mabaso), a low-level gangster who is gainfully employed as a security guard in an affluent neighbourhood.

With access to sensitive information, he ropes in the close-knit teenage friends to break into the home of a wealthy family and relieve them of their valuables.

It’s an easy enough set-up. Elliot has inside information (including the code to deactivate the alarm), which he passes onto the girls.

But sometimes the best-laid plans go astray. And, boy oh boy, does this one go pear-shaped. Nox’s younger brother, Sibusiso (Tshiamo Molobi), who has just been accepted into a prestigious school, gets caught in the crossfire when the homeowner returns earlier than expected.

“DiepCity” masterfully captures the grittiness of township life through the eyes of its characters.

Kudos to the masterminds behind this telenovela.

The casting is on point. The characters are wonderfully fleshed out to give them a redemptive edge as victims of circumstance.

The storytelling is not just realistic, it is most profound.

Not too long ago, SABC3 got viewers excited when they announced “The Estate”.

Sdumo Mtshali as Solomuzi in SABC3’s new telenovela, “The Estate”. Picture: Supplied

Along with the fans, I partook in the giddy excitement around the telenovela, especially after sneaking a peek at the names attached to the show.

Seriously, we are talking about SA’s crème de la crème here.

And Clive Morris Productions has done a stellar job in establishing the interconnected yet polarised worlds of its key characters with land reclaim as the dominant theme.

On the one hand, you have the residents at Echelon Estate. And on the other hand, you have the neighbouring Thembalethu township community.

As far as narratives go, this one is a game-changer for sure as it magnifies the social disparity between the upper, middle and lower class.

In a world where money buys you clout, can it buy you peace of mind? That seems to be Solomuzi’s (Sdumo Mtshali) dilemma.

He is pushing for a development that’s strongly opposed by Shadrack (Don Mlangeni), a respected community leader.

There are several battles fought by the characters in the telenovela. And it is in many ways it is tied to economic vulnerability, corruption, power and inequality.

If you haven’t tuned in yet, do so.

And last, but not least, the fifth season of “Rockville” is here.

Talk about upping the ante, Ferguson Films does it in bucketloads.

Even if you haven’t caught all or any of the previous seasons, the storyline is gripping enough to stand on its own.

The opening frame is of a gravely injured JB (Shona Ferguson).

With his life flashing before him, he says, “Everything I’ve ever done, I’ve done to survive, to provide for my family. I’ve robbed, sold flesh, I’ve been the corrupt. But everything I’ve done, I’ve worked hard to redeem myself. All my wins and my failures have led me to this moment.”

With Covid-19 a part of all our lives, the writers have woven it into the narrative.

This season sees JB forced to revisit his criminal past to save Hotel Paradiso and it is done with the full backing of Lindiwe (Enhle Mbali Mlotshwa), who has grown accustomed to the high life.

With Sipho (Trevor Gumbi) by his side, JB revives his Black Diamond operation with Vicky (Gail Mabalane) overseeing things.

Of course, big moves in the seedy world means ruffling a few feathers.

And JB is about to feel the wrath of his new enemies.

The cinematography of the series is first-rate as is the storytelling, which delves into human trafficking.

Also, Thulisile Phongolo (Buhle) and Siyabonga Shibe (Kalashnikov) shake things up in the new season.

“DiepCity” airs on Mzansi Magic (DStv channel 161) at 8.30pm on weekdays. “The Estate” is on SABC3 at 7pm. And “Rockville” airs on Mzansi Magic on Sundays at 8pm.

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