By Emmanuel Akitobi | Shadow and Act February 1, 2012 at 9:05AM
Screen Africa is reporting that South African film and stage veteran John Kani will star in that country's first locally produced telenovela, Inkaba, when pay-TV channel Mzansi Magic begins airing the program on March 19.
From Screen Africa:
The long-running series will tell an authentic, universal South African story that will play out over 208 half-hour episodes. Viewers will be able to tune into Mzansi Magic Mondays to Thursdays to engage with the realistic South African characters of Inkaba, whose lives are filled with drama and defined by their family history.
In another coup for the channel, Inkaba is privy to the incredible creative talent of the legendary John Kani. The famous and well-loved thespian, who has always shied away from big television productions, has declined big international movies and stage productions to be part of Inkaba.
Inkaba was the brainchild of Bra John, as he is fondly known. He will act as the series’ executive producer and will also breathe life into one of the main characters.
According to Lebone Maema, channel head: Mzansi Magic, Inkaba is the biggest venture the channel has undertaken to date. “In less than two years, Mzansi Magic has embarked on several exciting projects, but nothing matches Inkaba. We are extremely proud of our groundbreaking proudly South African telenovela. It’s a story with depth, exploring our heritage, customs, vernacular and current life challenges in an unprecedented, highly entertaining way.
But what, you may ask, is the difference between a telenovela and the soaps that have been dominating prime-time schedules for many years? And why has Mzansi Magic decided to explore this exciting daily drama format?
In contrast to the ongoing open-ended storylines of a soap, with characters coming and going along with the plot’s twists and turns, a telenovela has a clear beginning, middle and end… and numerous cliff-hangers in between. The characters are multi-dimensional and the cast remains the same for the duration of the series.
The telenovela has been a popular television staple in the viewing diets of South American countries – especially Brazil. It has also taken European countries such as Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands by storm.
A team of M-Net executives visited Brazil, the mecca of the telenovela, where they took note of the huge potential of the format for our television landscape. Their positive feedback was followed by intensive market research and an invitation to producers to pitch concepts for the Mzansi Magic telenovela.
Yolisa Phahle, director: M-Net Local Interest Channels, says bringing this fresh format to our shores is a coup for Mzansi Magic. “It’s the ideal vehicle to grab the attention of present-day viewers. It also provides the opportunity to tell a culturally rich South African story.”
Inkaba depicts South Africa’s diverse social landscape with the glamorous but fickle fashion industry as the backdrop.
The characters that inhabit this world soon realise that fulfilling their desires at all costs does not necessarily bring happiness and that there are ties that forever bind you to your past.
Inkaba will feature many celebrated South African actors and introduce new faces to the small screen. Mzansi Magic will reveal the cast at a later stage.
Inkaba is produced by Urban Brew and will be filmed in brand new studios built for the show.