‘S'phiwo’ set to break spiritual calling stereotypes

Zenokuhle Maseko and Nozuko Ncayiyane in “S’phiwo”. Picture: Supplied.

Zenokuhle Maseko and Nozuko Ncayiyane in “S’phiwo”. Picture: Supplied.

Published Nov 27, 2023


Mzansi Magic is set to take viewers on a journey into the supernatural when it’s latest local drama, “S’phiwo” (Gift) airs early next year.

In a world where storytelling meets the spiritual contracts of ancestors, “S’phiwo” offers a unique viewpoint through the connected lives of two extraordinary girls destined to fulfil a legacy much greater than themselves.

The premiere episode, which starts on January 8, introduces a vibrant Nothando ( Zeno Maseko), who is eager to experience university life to its fullest, and Zodwa (Nozuko Ncayiyane), a young Sangoma whose spiritual depth and seriousness make her stand out from the crowd.

An unexpected rooming mishap brings their worlds together, triggering a series of incidents that reveal the undeniable power of their connection.

The drama intensifies with a murder mystery on campus that draws them closer to their true calling – a bond destined by the ancestors.

“For me, we come into this world as individuals but somehow we are all connected, by our genes or religions, so the story looks at two girls who meet in university and how they learn that their lives are intertwined somehow,” said director Nthabiseng Mokoena.

Upon reading the script Mokoena, who is well known for directing popular shows like “Fatal Seduction” and “The Wife” among others, said that she found the storyline very interesting.

“I really liked the script and the first thing I thought was that I want to make it look beautiful and not something that we don’t accept.

“I feel like cultural stories, especially when it comes to sangoma callings have stereotypes attached to it. So I wanted to make it beautiful and showcase it as something that can be accepted and that can bring about something good. I hope it reads like that when the viewers are watching,” she said.

Speaking about the directorial process, she said that a lot of work went into it.

“The lead actresses have acted before but are also new to the industry so there was a lot of work to be done with them, and for ourselves as well in respect of researching the cultural aspect.

“I had to engage more with the writer and producer about the concept, understand what their feelings where when they came up with it, I also spoke to the actors to find out their journey, how far they were comfortable with going and how we could make it comfortable for them,” she explained.

“It came out beautifully because all of us were committed to making it a positive story ” she explained.

Meanwhile, Mokoena described the story as one of self-discovery, a battle against unseen forces, and proof of the idea that we are all connected in profound ways.

“We tried to keep it natural and show how the calling world works and how to receive that gift, but there are also themes of love, friendship, denial, betrayal, death and education. It is also a vibe,” she said.

The ten episode series is led by Maseko and Ncayiyane, along with Sabelo Nkosi as Solomzi, Ngele Ramulondi as Takalani, and Obakeng Makube playing Nathi.

Mokoena’s advice to viewers who tune in is to enjoy being “taken on a different journey into a world you thought you knew.”

“You are going to go on a journey of something you thought you knew, but now it is different in the way it has been told. Every week is going to keep you on the edge of your seats until you come to the point were you can’t take it anymore.”

“S’phiwo” will premiere on Monday, January 8 at 8pm on Mzansi Magic (DStv channel 161) and will be available on Catch Up and on DStv Stream.