Lockdown season three cast and crew Nelisiwe Sibiya, Stevel Marc, Mmabatho Montsho,Tichina Arnold, Manaka Ranaka, Lauren Jenae, Dineo Nchabeleng, Celeste Ntuli, Mandla N and Khulu Skenjana. Picture: Matthews Baloyi/African News Agency (ANA)

The cast for the third season of Mzansi Magic’s popular drama Lockdown is ready to show viewers what it’s made of. With the addition of US actress Tichina Arnold, show producer Mandla N said this season was going to be even more riveting than the previous two.

“The story required an American who came to Africa for a quest of the diamonds stolen by Zola Nombona’s character.

“We wanted to expose and direct the cast and see how they would pair with an American,” Mandla N said.

“Tichina is doing scenes with 80% of the cast members, on 13 episodes, something that’s never been done before.”

Arnold, who has been in the industry for 37 years, said she was thrilled to work with a majority black cast.

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“This was an amazing experience for me - just being with a black group of people. I’ve never experienced an all-black crew and it’s good that it is integrated.

“The way everyone works with Mandla was refreshing to see. God has blessed me to be around some amazing people, and for me to come all the way here was so worth it.”

Mandla N said he had high expectations from Arnold, expecting her to want sushi and fancy things on set, but the Everybody Hates Chris star was not a diva at all.

“She made it so easy for us and connected a lot with the actors and actresses. It’s always about the story. For this season it was so good that anything else just didn’t have a chance.”

Season three also comes with new faces. Manaka Ranaka, Celeste Ntuli, Dineo Nchabeleng, Khulu Skenjana and Stevel Marc will take on new characters.

Lockdown is a drama series based on the lives of inmates at a female prison.

The second season saw the talented Pamela Nomvete take on the character of a governor at the prison, and we got to see her acting prowess on screen again.

Arnold said being able to work with the likes of Chris Rock and Martin Lawrence had helped her keep her comedy chops up, but with Lockdown it was a different situation altogether.

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“It’s about me being able to learn. Just because I have 37 years doesn’t mean I know everything. I’m here in a different situation.

“The cast have already had two seasons and are in a rhythm. I had to jump in and get in where I could and fit in. Lockdown is in its own lane; it’s the truth.”

Skenjana and Marc are part of the small male cast that add to the strong female presence.

Ntuli, who is mostly known for her role on the telenovela Isibaya and her comedy, said she had been waiting for this opportunity.

“This show has changed me literally from day one because I’ve had to change my hairstyle that I’ve had for 12 years. I’m not crying because I felt like for the first time people are going to see me beyond the blonde hair and the comic, and see something totally different.

“I’ve wanted to work with Black Brain Pictures for a while, and from January I was like something is coming. When he called I said ‘Thank God I listened to my instinct’.”

Ranaka’s character was written with her in mind, according to show writer Mmabatho Montsho. Ranaka has always wanted to be part of the show.

“I spoke first and said I was going to be on that show. The fans spoke, the second season came and nothing happened, so I decided to allow time to take its course, and here I am in season three. I love how raw the show is,” Ranaka said.

She chose not to read the script over again, thus allowing her to be able to watch the show like viewers and be entertained once it airs on Mzansi Magic.

Nchabeleng is another newbie who will bring the #FeesMustFall issue to light.

“It was a perfect story for me, as I love what it speaks to. My character comes in with a mission and she’s an activist. I’ve been doing a lot of airy-fairy things, but this is so relevant and close to my heart because I had friends who have been part of the movement because they went through arrests and legal battles,” she said.

* Lockdown season three premieres on Mzansi Magic on July 9.


The Star