Lemogang Tsipa writes his own success story as the lead in ‘Killer Front Page’

Lemogang Tsipa as journalist Sol Mojalefa Phiri in ‘Killer Front Page’. Picture: Supplied

Lemogang Tsipa as journalist Sol Mojalefa Phiri in ‘Killer Front Page’. Picture: Supplied

Published Feb 26, 2024


While it was curiosity that drew me to Mzansi Magic’s new drama, “Killer Front Page”, it was the gripping storyline that kept me religiously tuning in.

Being in the media, I’m always curious to see how the industry is represented in such offerings.

Often, it isn’t a true depiction of the newsroom environment.

The world in which “Killer Front Page” unfolds is contained, though. I suppose it does help with the cost factor for the production house.

But its strength is the casting and the storyline.

Also, Lemogang Tsipa is a wonderful anchor as journalist Sol Mojalefa Phiri. Interestingly, the “Shaka iLembe” actor also makes a guest appearance in Showmax’s true-life drama, “Catch Me A Killer”.

His role here is a layered one.

On the verge of facing a failed career in journalism, a suicidal Sol is given a lifeline, so to speak, when his path crosses with that of a convicted criminal, Mandla (Thembikile Komani).

Fresh out of the joint, Mandla is looking to recover his stash from a past robbery. But he has to find a few people, one of whom is an elusive gang member Tinyiko (Zigi Ndhlovu).

The two strike up a quid pro arrangement, where Mandla shares his real-life story and, in so doing, Sol saves his career and lands the front page.

Sol’s editor at “The Joburger”, Fred Jobe (Pakamisa Zwedala), is over the moon with how the breaking story is received. And he pushes Sol to do more follow-ups, to keep the momentum going.

What starts as a redemptive comeback for Sol, who made a childhood promise to his father before he went missing to be the best in his field, turns dark when the lines between right and wrong blur.

Lemogang Tsipa as journalist Sol Mojalefa Phiri in ‘Killer Front Page’. Picture: Supplied

In getting the front page scoops, he abandons his ethics and colours outside of the line, too.

While he becomes the blue-eyed boy in the office, Black Gert (Emanuel Nkosinathi Gweva) smells something fishy. And he decides to look into Sol’s sudden successful streak.

But Black Gert isn’t the only one who’s suspicious. Police investigators Sis Connie (Linda Sokhulu) and her partner Rodney (Chumani Pan) are wary of the information in Sol’s lead stories, which eclipses their investigation.

With the station commander, played by Tina Jaxa, breathing down her neck, Connie becomes a dog with a bone in getting to the bottom of Sol’s involvement in a cold case.

Meanwhile, the bodies start piling up and Sol’s interaction with Mandla transforms and he becomes complicit in his dark deeds.

Then there is Sol’s relationship with his co-worker Palesa, played by Siphesihle Ndaba, which becomes a supporting story arc. Despite her being in a relationship, she cheats on her partner with him.

Their worlds are poles apart. She comes from money and he struggles to make ends meet and drives a rundown Toyota Tazz.

As the walls start closing in on Sol, he starts spiralling out of control, more so after Palesa gets engaged to her boyfriend.

Tsipa plays his role with gravitas. He nails all the nuances of his character as he transforms from a desperate journalist to a rising star at “The Joburger” to a cold-blooded killer.

His steely resolve is unsettling at times.

Jaxa delivers a peerless performance. Her character is ruthlessly ambitious and politically savvy. She is unforgiving when Connie blunders the investigation and leaves them with egg on their face.

Sadly, Connie’s dedication to the job has seen her personal life suffer. Her husband is forced to take care of their daughter while she buries her head in the investigation with little time left for her family.

As intimidating as he is, Mandla also has a soft spot where his family is concerned.

The writers of “Killer Front Page” masterfully explore the vulnerabilities of its characters in Catch-22 situations. They also unpack the downside of fame.

Overall, viewers will be left on tenterhooks to see whether Sol gets his comeuppance or gets away with murder.

∎ “Killer Front Page” airs on Mzansi Magic (DStv channel 161) on Sundays at 8pm.