Ama Qamata and Cindy Mahlangu in "Blood & Water". Picture: Neo Baepi / Netflix
Ama Qamata and Cindy Mahlangu in "Blood & Water". Picture: Neo Baepi / Netflix

'Blood and Water' is far from perfect but it’s a lot of fun to watch

By Jamal Grootboom Time of article published May 20, 2020

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Netflix’s second Africa original series “Blood & Water” is the type of teen drama that is a joy to watch for any age demographic. 

Set in Cape Town in the fictional Parkhurst College, “Blood & Water” follows the exploits of 16-year-old Puleng Khumalo (Ama Qamata ), as she engineers her transfer to the school to investigate the 17-year-old cold case of the abducted-at-birth older sister she's never met.

As most of you know, when it comes to teenage angst-filled shows I usually try to avoid them at all costs. 

However, there are exceptions such as “Sex Education”, "Stranger Things", "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" and “Gossip Girl” that have found a place in my heart. 

And now “Blood & Water” - or “Gossip Mo’ghel” coined by Twitter user @fagtanica - has found a place too. 

This show is very much a blend of “Gossip Girl” mixed with some “Elite” and a sprinkling of the “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” with a Mzansi flair.  

This show has a mystery, a bunch of rich entitled teens and relatable characters set among the beautiful Cape Town cityscape. 

"Blood & Water" is paced pretty well for its short season and overall the cinematography is world-class. 

However, the dialogue and acting is touch and go. 

Ama Qamata does a stellar job as Puleng and Dillon Windvogel gives a very authentic performance as Wade Daniels - who’s stuck in the perpetual friend zone. 

Another fave is Cindy Mahlangu as Zama Bolton. We all know that friend who likes living on the edge and will push you into situations that might not be a good idea at the time, but you end up having a good time - she’s the "ghel". 

This isn't the case for the entire cast though. What I think happened is that the characters aren’t leaning into their tropes enough and end up falling short playing their character a bit too small. 

The swimming coach Chad Morgan played by local TV presenter Ryle De Morny is a great example of this. 

He’s great to look at, but it stops there and he gives a mostly wooden performance in a role that could have been so much more. 

Overall the show needs to breathe in scenes more. Hopefully, if it gets renewed for a second season there will be more episodes allowing the screenwriters to let the audience sit in scenes and build more tension. 

I'm not going lie, the plot is a bit shaky. You have to suspend your sense of disbelief a lot in this show.  

While in the initial trailers it looked as if once again there was going be no LGBTQI+ representation. I’m glad to report that one of the main protagonists turns out to openly pansexual, getting themselves into very hot and steamy situations with members of the same and opposite gender. 

The music score is refreshingly subdued, and this time around whenever a local song was used, it never felt out of place or distributed an ongoing scene. 

Look, this show is by no means perfect but it has the potential to fill a void that been missing in locally produced content. 

I’m fully behind “Blood & Water” aka “Gossip Mo’ghel" and hope it does get a second season.

*"Blood & Water" is streaming on Netflix 

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