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Sticks and Stones

SABC1, Wed­nes­days, 8.30pm

Sticks and Stones has, in the few weeks since it pre­miered on our screens, be­come the third most-watched drama se­ries on SABC1.

When the chan­nel launched a bunch of new shows last month, it came up with the slo­gan “bheka mina ngedwa” (watch only me) – and it’s work­ing.

Much like cre­ator Thandi Brewer’s pre­vi­ous work, End Game, Sticks and Stones is a po­lit­i­cal thriller with a strong fe­male lead.

It tells the story of Palesa, played by Talitha Ndima, who gets fired from her con­struc­tion job be­cause she’s a woman.

De­ter­mined to suc­ceed, she ap­proaches the head of the com­pany, Thabo Mo­gale, played by Trea­sure Nkosi (for­mally Tsha­bal­ala), who is im­pressed with her and gives her a sec­ond chance.

Mo­gale’s lazy and spite­ful son Lwazi, played by Litha Booi, is in­censed and he and Palesa clash head-on.

Dis­crim­i­na­tory prac­tices at the con­struc­tion com­pany are the or­der of the day, yet they do not stand in Palesa’s way – all she wants is to suc­ceed, prove her­self to her de­trac­tors and ul­ti­mately pro­vide for her grand­mother and sis­ter who live in a shack and are des­per­ately try­ing to make ends meet.

Liv­ing in a poor black com­mu­nity is harsh and comes with is­sues like shack fires, shat­tered dreams, loan sharks, small-time crooks and crime as a means of sur­vival. All this is tack­led in Sticks and Stones. The se­ries man­ages to get view­ers hooked with­out re­ly­ing on tricks and glam­our. Will it win awards? We cer­tainly hope so. Even if it does not, you can’t take away from its grip­ping so­cial mes­sage, nor from the in­trigue of the show. View­ers clearly iden­tify with the story line, and that should be enough to carry this au­then­tic view­ing ex­pe­ri­ence through. – Siyabonga Sit­hole

PHOTO: SABC1

HARD HATS Talitha Ndima (right) plays tough-as-nails Palesa

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