CITY PRESS TV REVIEW: Mzansi Magic's dark and sinister, but fascinating drama The Herd

2018-07-22 08:56
 

Johannesburg - It’s a predictable plot perhaps: ritual sacrifice and cattle theft.

But Mzansi Magic’s drama The Herd is already getting people talking.

The Herd is produced by a few of the creators who were also involved in shows like Ayeye. 

The Herd is no different in pushing the creative envelope – from shooting on location to the subject matter, with which the cast seem to be fully engaged.

One of the principal actors, Winnie Ntshaba, who plays a witch in the series and was cast opposite Sello Maake ka Ncube, said she was not sure this was a character she would ever be able to play. But she has taken to this more sinister role well.

TAKE A LOOK AT THE SHOW HERE: 

“People might think that it’s all play-play but there are actually people who sacrifice family members for material gains,” she said.

Ntshaba said the script gave her the shivers and the prospect of portraying a dark role like this was exciting because audiences haven’t seen this from her before.

“The cast and crew also bring so much to the table. This story is a dark one but it is also extremely entertaining,” she said.

When the producers were looking for a location to film the production, they decided on Eikenhof, southern Johannesburg, where they found that many of the farms they went to had closed down because of cattle theft.

“The writers did well to add this narrative around that. It ties into the premise of our show about a man who sacrifices his wife so as to gain cattle. We join him as he is dealing with cattle being stolen from him,” Ntshaba said.

But producer Kutlwano Ditsele said that they didn’t feel the need to consult any real sangomas about the content of their show as it is purely make-believe.

“We were not trying to stick to the rules of sangomas because this is fictional and we made our own rules up in which love conquers all magic,” he said.

And although this may sound risky, the film’s execution makes it an enjoyable and gripping watch.

“I think as entertainers we have to know when to make things factual and when not to.

“I don’t think any sangomas should ever feel offended by this narrative because it is 100% fiction. Our job is to entertain,” Ditsele said.

This isn’t the only show tackling taboo South African rituals to keep the audiences entertained; e.tv’s Imbewu has been navigating a similar issue – but has also had to deal with the perils of actors with big egos.

Imbewu’s creators were forced to let go of one of their lead characters played by Mpumelelo Bhulose amid allegations he was difficult to work with.

The series tells the tale of a brother who is called upon by his family to provide his older brother’s wife with an heir. This is common practice and even prescribed in laws of tradition.

The Herd is holding down the Sunday night drama slot at 8pm on Mzansi Magic, which is the second-largest just after the telenovela slot.

This put pressure on the creators to rope in the finest actors and construct a compelling tale.

“This was a challenge. Full-on family viewing that the whole family can sit down and watch together,” Ditsele said.

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