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