New Sesotho telenovela is about binding ties
Lithapo (Ties that Bind) stars industry giants such as Joyce Skefu, Seputla Sebogodi, Mangaliso Ngema, Israel Zulu and Sthandiwe Kgoroge.
The show is set in QwaQwa and develops in Johannesburg as a young man, Nolo, goes on a search to find his father to secure his birthright surname after the death of his mother.
Khojane Morai takes on the lead role for the first time. His mother, Likeledi, is played by veteran actress Clementine Mosimane.
With Nolo trying to make sense of the evolving modern world, the ghost of his mother as the living ancestor, narrates the story of Lithapo, in Sesotho, from the top of the mountains, having died abruptly at the hands of cattle thieves while trying to save her humble herd of cattle.
“She dies before her time and then the boy discovers he actually had a father who is alive in Joburg. Because she died before her time, her son didn’t go through the traditional process of tying a rope after being cleansed, so wherever he goes the mother is around him, watching over him, and he is the only person who can see her and talk to her,” Mosimane said.
The actress has been acting for 31 years and always makes time to prepare for her characters.
“This character is a living spirit, the way I prepared for her I just keep her humble and subtle.”
The cast also includes familiar faces including Angela Sithole and Kgaogelo Monama.
“It’s good to have them,” Mosimane said. “We have to work with them.
“They are so talented and professional. It’s a give- and-take relationship, we learn from them even though we have been in the industry for long.”
Filming of Lithapo began in early October on location in QwaQwa and continues in Johannesburg.
One of the issues the telenovela deals with is that of toxic masculinity. South Africa’s history of migrant labour has resulted in many families being fatherless and Lithapo puts a focus on the issues that arise from this.
Creative producer and QwaQwa native Makgano Mamabolo first sought counsel from the Bakoena Royal House in QwaQwa, and got the queen mother’s blessings before any shooting could begin for Quizzical Pictures.
Poet Napo Masheane, also from QwaQwa, worked as one of the story consultants throughout the development of the script to help ensure a well-crafted and carefully considered narrative from the heart of the Basotho people.
“People must watch the show with an open mind. A ghost is a spirit, a living spirit. I think in real life we also have people who visit us, sometimes we don’t see them but there is an aura around you,” Mosimane said.
Lithapo is screened on SABC 2 on Monday at 9.30pm.