JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, May 25, 2022/ — MultiChoice and Bomb Productions are proud to announce that production on the epic drama series, Shaka Ilembe, has commenced and is currently filming in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, providing jobs for over 8 000 people.
Set in the 1700s, Shaka Ilembe tells the story of the making of the iconic African king, with iterations from his early childhood through to adulthood.
The two key actors playing Shaka are the incredibly talented Lemongang Tsipa (adult king) and newcomer Ntando Zondi (boy king).
The star-studded cast is headlined by Amazon’s Coming 2 America’s breakout star, Nomzamo Mbatha, who plays Queen Nandi, the revered mother of Shaka, with Thembinkosi Mthembu starring as King Dingiswayo and Wiseman Mncube in the role of King Zwide. Mbatha will also executive produce the series.
“Being able to bring this important story to the screen with such stellar talent speaks to the heart of MultiChoice’s ongoing commitment and investment in our local entertainment industry. We are committed to telling great African stories and this is a proudly African series told through the lens of Africans for the very first time,” said Yolisa Phahle, CEO of General Entertainment & Connected Video at MultiChoice.
“I am honoured to bring the giant that is Queen Nandi to life. History will remember those who informed its people of where we come from, to better understand who we are. I am fortunate to be part of a project that is much bigger than ourselves and to tell this story in our own language. Impi iyeza!” expressed Mbatha.
“It is a cast with deep talent,” added Angus Gibson, Creative Director at Bomb Productions. “It is magical witnessing these performers bring life to characters we only know from the history books. When the cast arrive on set, fully dressed in wardrobe and hair from the period, I am blown away.”
The production has been six years in the making, consulting historians, academics and family descendants, including the late King Goodwill Zwelithini and Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi. “This is our appointment with history; we want to capture the authenticity and deepen the understanding of this era,” explained Nhlanhla Mtaka, an executive and cultural advisor.
Striking a balance between historical authenticity and drama is crucial to the plot. “We want people to learn about our history and culture, but we also want to keep viewers glued in anticipation.
This drama seeks to uncover nuggets of history, but creates narrative in the gaps by putting known characters alongside fictional characters in order to keep the story moving,” Phahle continued.
MultiChoice is the biggest funder of local content in Africa – producing content in local languages with local actors, and telling stories that resonate culturally. This production comes off the back of multiple successful co-productions such as Trackers, Reyka and most recently Recipes for Love and Murder.
The group’s production quality and their ongoing partnership with international production companies allows for worldwide appeal and promotes South African talent on a global stage.
About MultiChoice Group:
MultiChoice Group (MCG), which listed in the Main Board of the JSE on 27 February 2019, is one of the fastest-growing video entertainment providers globally, delivering entertainment products and services to 21.1m households across 50 countries on the African continent. Its track record of more than 35 years is reflective of a commitment to provide audiences with only the best local, sport and international content.
MCG’s strong partnerships with distributors, installers and telecommunication companies, along with its well-established payment solutions, competitive pricing and choice of viewership packages continue to secure its place in the global market, while also providing solutions unique to the African market.
Its direct-to-home (DTH), digital terrestrial television (DTT) and over-the-top (OTT) solutions enable the business to stay relevant and aligned to changing consumer habits while capturing new markets. Content is at the very core of the business. MCG aims to deliver quality content anywhere, anytime and on any device through a comprehensive video entertainment offering at different price points. As pioneers in African video entertainment, MCG plays an important role in making information and entertainment easily accessible to Africans.
MCG aims to secure content rights cost-effectively in a manner that is reflective of the diversity of its audiences. Its substantial portfolio of content which is made available across the group’s platforms (DStv, GOtv and Showmax) includes award-winning local content (a key differentiator in its service offering), a world-class sports offering (with production capabilities) and access to international content.
MCG has superior technology capability through the security solutions that Irdeto, its technology company, brings to the group. These solutions enable MultiChoice to protect its investment, create new offerings and combat cybercrime.
With more than 50 years’ expertise in software security, Irdeto’s software security solutions and cyber services protect over 6bn devices and applications for some of the world’s best brands.
About Bomb Productions:
The Bomb Shelter is a respected leading production company based in Johannesburg South Africa. For over 21 years, Bomb has produced some of South Africa’s most iconic and ground-breaking television drama.
The cult youth series, Yizo Yizo, received critical acclaim and awards around the world, and was screened at the Venice Film festival – their hit show Isibaya broke audience records and garnered awards seven years in a row, including over 30 SAFTA awards.
The team steering Bomb are responsible for many acclaimed projects, including the Oscar-nominated Mandela, Son of Africa, Father of a Nation, as well as Granada Television’s flagship documentary series 7 Up South Africa, which was nominated for a BAFTA. They were also behind the double Sundance winner Amandla, a revolution in four-part harmony as well as the pan African hit drama Jacob’s Cross, which ran for eight seasons.
Other projects include Ayeye, Zone 14, The Road, Isithembiso, House of Zwide, and Sekali le Meokgo, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival. Lupita N’yongo starred and co-directed on Bomb’s ground-breaking series Shuga (seasons 1 and 2).
Bomb has produced over 1 000 hours of television drama and is currently in production with the epic historical drama Shaka Ilembe.