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CityPress - - Voices -

zansi Magic’s new drama, Igazi, de­buted in the hotly con­tested Sun­day night prime­time slot three weeks ago and the ini­tial re­ac­tion from view­ers was luke­warm. Some view­ers – and even a deputy min­is­ter – com­plained bit­terly about ac­cu­racy. The show was ad­ver­tised as a Xhosa drama about the con­flicts within a royal fam­ily set in the East­ern Cape and Joburg. IsiXhosa is the dom­i­nant lan­guage spo­ken in the se­ries, yet view­ers did not wel­come the use of what is seen as amaMpondo clan names and at­tire by the se­ries’ fic­tional Xhosa royal fam­ily. The show, say crit­ics, deals with Pondo cul­ture by sub­sum­ing it with an­other sep­a­rate cul­tural group, en­cour­ag­ing cul­tural stereo­typ­ing. But the se­ries was al­ready fully pro­duced, so th­ese el­e­ments could not be changed.

It ap­peared as if the cri­tique could harm the show, but by episode two, au­di­ence re­ac­tion was largely pos­i­tive. By the time the third episode was broad­cast, it was clear that Igazi has be­come a big hit. The episode trended on Twit­ter hours be­fore the ac­tual broad­cast – just the an­tic­i­pa­tion of what was com­ing was enough to get fans go­ing.

Cre­ated by Fer­gu­son Films and staffed with a team of skilled cre­atives, Igazi shows the ex­traor­di­nary lengths mem­bers of a fam­ily will go to in their fight to claim the throne of their mur­dered king. Led by a stel­lar cast (Vatiswa Ndara, Nomhle Nkonyeni), the se­ries also fea­tures four of the 16 ac­tors who left Gen­er­a­tions dur­ing the wage dis­pute in 2014.

Aside from the act­ing tal­ent, there are quite a few things the show gets right. Its fan­tasy/hor­ror genre gives it an edge, it is writ­ten well and the di­rect­ing veers away from the kitsch. Igazi treats its view­ers like adults who un­der­stand and en­joy fan­tas­ti­cal themes, and also re­spects them by in­fus­ing good pro­duc­tion val­ues.

The fan­tasy/hor­ror genre has en­joyed a resur­gence world­wide. Igazi’s cre­ators were in­spired by the suc­cess of Game of Thrones to make some­thing as en­ter­tain­ing but us­ing lo­cal sym­bols and themes. So ex­pect snakes in­hab­ited with

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

ALL IN THE FAM­ILY The cast of the now-hyped drama Igazi

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