Set in Ancient Africa, the action-packed epic Blood Psalms follows Princess Zazi (Bokang Phelane) as she battles a world-ending prophecy to navigate her people through ancient curses, long-standing tribal vendettas and the wrath of the gods.
Co-creators Layla Swart and Jahmil XT Qubeka were responsible for South African Oscar entries Knuckle City and Sew The Winter To My Skin. They’ve assembled an incomparable cast, with nine SAFTA winners – Bongile Mantsai, Hamilton Dlamini, Hlubi Mboya, Mothusi Magano, S’dumo Mtshali, Siv Ngesi, Thishiwe Ziqubu, Warren Masemola and Zolisa Xaluva – and all your faves, from Enhle Mbali Mlotshwa to Lemogang Tsipa, Faith Baloyi to Faniswa Yisa, Mandisa Nduna to Niza Jay, Richard Lukunku to Sello Maake KaNcube, Thabo Rametsi to Thando Thabethe, Thembekile Komani to Zikhona Sodlaka, and many more.
“Without doubt, the best TV show ever created in Africa”
Early reviews are glowing, with CityPress giving the African fantasy 4.5/5 stars, TVMzansi calling it, “Without doubt, the best TV show ever created in Africa”; Leon van Nierop “the biggest and most spectacular production of a local series yet”; TimesLive “African fantasy at its finest”; IOL “mesmerising;” and TVPlus “breathtaking.” Watch it here.
Steinheist has set a new record on Showmax for the most first-day views of any documentary series, ahead of the SAFTA-winning true crime phenomenon Devilsdorp. Both Showmax Originals are produced by IdeaCandy.
Once billed as “the Ikea of Africa,” Steinhoff employed more than 130 000 people on more than 40 brands across four continents. Steinhoff-owned companies every South African will know include giants like Ackermans, Incredible Connection, Morkels, Pennypinchers, PEP, Russells, Tekkie Town, and Timbercity.
On 5 December 2017, CEO Markus Jooste resigned amid an investigation into accounting irregularities, and Steinhoff’s share price plunged by 90% in a week. This wiped over R200 billion off Johannesburg’s stock exchange, the JSE – and off ordinary South Africans’ pensions and investments.
Steinheist, which was called “truly world class” and “riveting” by BizNews, has given Showmax audiences an insider glimpse into the biggest corporate scam in South African history. Cape Talk’s Pippa Hudson praises Steinheist as “excellent storytelling that demystifies the Steinhoff collapse for the layman. Every South African needs to watch this, if only to amplify the chorus of voices asking the question: Why hasn’t Markus Jooste been arrested?” Watch it here.
Political thriller series County 49 has broken the record for the most first-day views on Showmax in Kenya, claiming the spot previously held by The Real Housewives of Lagos.
Set in the fictional Bwatele County, County 49 follows Nerimah Mkung (Wakio Mzenge), whose role as the new governor is put to the test when she’s taken hostage by a mysterious group who’ve had enough of the county government’s corruption and are now demanding what’s rightfully theirs – their money, in billions and in cash. Whether she lives or dies lies in the hands of the very capable, disgraced officer Malik Maka (Peter Kawa), whose estranged wife has also been kidnapped, alongside the governor.
County 49 is directed by Likarion Wainaina, known for Kenya’s first superhero film Supa Modo, which is also Kenya’s most-awarded film with over 50 international awards including Best European Film for Children from the European Children’s Film Association and Children’s Jury Special Mention in the Generation 14Plus category at the Berlin Film Festival 2018.
The Standard praises Country 49 as “enthralling”, calling the show “an explosion of action” and “a highly relatable tale of political pressure” that “keeps viewers at the edges of their seats.”
Other recent local highlights on Showmax include:
• EXPIRY DATE topped the Showmax movies charts. Unlucky in love, Musa (Mbulelo Katise from The Queen) decides to play Expiry Date with his brother, a game where they date and break up with multiple women according to a pre-set timeline. But when it turns serious, Musa is faced with a choice. Set in Maboneng, the romcom is directed by SAFTA winner Sihle Hlope (Lindela Under Lockdown), and co-stars Ishmael Songo (Mpande Zulu in The Wife), Ntando Duma (The Queen) and SAFTA nominees Mapula Mafole (Unmarried, Rhythm City) and Winnie Ntshaba (Generations).
• MURDER IN PARIS is a political crime documentary that traces the motives for the assassination of anti-apartheid activist Dulcie September. The story travels from the heart of Paris in March 1988 to the pursuit of justice in 2021. An official selection at Cinema du Reel, Murder In Paris has won 11 awards so far, including Best South African Documentary and The Human Rights Award at Durban International Film Festival as well as Best Director (Enver Samuel) at The Jozi Film Festival. Murder In Paris won Best Sound Design for a Documentary at the 2022 SAFTAs, where it was also up for Best Documentary, Cinematography, and Editing.
• LION: THE RISE AND FALL OF THE MARSH PRIDE follows the most filmed pride of lions on Earth as they battle for survival in Kenya’s famous Maasai Mara Reserve. A tale of shifting loyalties, bloody takeovers and sheer resilience, the lions’ story is told by those who filmed them, tried to protect them and lived alongside them, as well as some who ultimately wanted them dead. Naturalists, guides, vets and conservationists in Kenya and the UK offer their unique perspectives on the life of these lions, while the Maasai, who live and graze their cattle next door to the pride and have themselves been forced to give up their nomadic way of life, speak about the challenges of coexisting alongside these wild animals in the modern world.
GAIA | Stream from 31 October
An injured forest ranger (SAFTA nominee Monique Rockman from Nommer 37) is saved by two off-the-grid survivalists (Silwerskerm winner Carel Nel from 4 Mure and SAFTA nominee Alex van Dyk from Die Stropers). But what starts out as a welcome rescue grows more suspicious as the son and his renegade father reveal a cultish devotion to the forest.
Set in the Tsitsikamma National Park, Gaia won Best Cinematography at South By Southwest (SXSW) as well as Best Film, Director, Editor, Sound Design and Hair and Make Up at Silwerskerm. The ecological horror has a 85% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with Decider hailing it as “a standout at South By Southwest” and describing the film as a “psychedelic-mushroom Cronenberg-via-del-Toro eco-body-horror creepy-creature freakout … visually potent … strange, beautiful and disgusting.”
Gaia is a breakthrough for director Jaco Bouwer, who was up for Best Director and won Best TV Drama at the 2022 SAFTAs for 4 Mure, a five-part kykNET series set in one hotel room with different stories in different genres each episode.
As Variety says of Gaia, “As a stylistic calling card for Bouwer, it portends bigger things and bigger budgets, showcasing a quivery facility with atmosphere and crafty technical nous that recalls his compatriot Neill Blomkamp at the outset of his career.”
HUISGENOOT WARE LEWENSDRAMAS: VLEES EN BLOED | Weekly from 11 October
Huisgenoot Ware Lewensdramas: Vlees en Bloed is a gripping spin-off of the popular VIA true-crime series revisiting true-life stories that made the headlines from the perspective of the journalists who covered the cases for one of South Africa’s oldest and best-loved publications.
Vlees en Bloed focuses on the most shocking cases of familicide in South Africa, investigating some of the darkest family secrets, how a traumatic childhood can lead to dangerous behaviour and even looking at the satanic panic of the early 1990s.
Sometimes the person you should be afraid of most is sleeping under the same roof as you.
THE RANAKAS S5 | Binge from 10 October
One of SA’s most beloved reality families is back in Season 5 of Mzansi Magic’s hit series The Ranakas. A spin-off of Dineo’s Diary, the popular reality TV series follows the lives of this lovable multigenerational family as Mama Siba Ranaka fields pandemic challenges to the family business and Ntate Ranaka searches for his sister, while Manaka continues to pursue her farming dreams, and Dineo decides to take a backseat for a while. Binge all five seasons of ups and downs of life in this real South African family as they share the good times, and face the bad – together.
Also look out for the reality series Wang’kolota (13 October), Umndende (17 October), and Suxoka (24 October), as well as the launch of a Moja Love collection on 17 November, including X-Repo S1, Teenage Pregnancy S1, Lekunutu S2, Dlozi’lami S3, and Uyajola 9/9 S7. Moja Love was recently named the most popular channel in South Africa by The Sunday Times’ GenNext Survey.
To see everything on Showmax in October 2022, including the blockbusters The Lost City, Venom: Let There Be Carnage and The Suicide Squad, and international series like The White Lotus S2, Minx, The Rehearsal and P-Valley S2, click here.
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