Not so Plein ’n simple
Suit up and get your political swag on! 90 Plein Street is back for a fifth season with a brand-new fixer.
It’s been a while since viewers last checked into the always-tumultuous office of now-President Dineo Nkgatho (Thembi Mtshali-Jones). But after more than a year away, the political minds of 90 Plein Street (2007- current) are back and there’s no shortage of drama. As season 4 ended in mid 2015, the honourable President and her team were facing an internal rebellion, while the passionately naïve commu- nity organiser Lerato Maduna (Orecious Makgaretsa) was struggling to find her feet in the high-stakes political game. Fortunately, there’s a new power player stepping up this season, in the form of the President’s Director General Andile Grootboom, played by Presley Chweneyagae (hijacker Tsotsi in Academy Award-winning 2005 movie Tsotsi). According to Presley, his character is set to play a crucial role in keeping things together when a personal scandal threatens to derail President Nkgatho’s career. “I truly see Grootboom as a pillar in the show and I think those around him will too,” Presley hints.
Tell us more about your character. General Andile Grootboom is such a complex person. He’s quick and he wants things to be done properly. He is an established politician and very well informed on the way things work. I think that he is a good guy, but he also experiences complications in his personal life. What was the most challenging part about playing Grootboom? This is the first time that I’ve done television work and it’s quite fast-paced. Since I’m used to longer film productions, this was a challenge, but we got there [Laughs]. And are you politically inclined like Andile? [Laughs] No, I’m interested in the politics of South Africa, like our people, but I’m certainly no politician! How did you prepare for such a political role? I read a lot of South African stories and news reports. I also looked closely at the dynamics of the South African political landscape to better understand Grootboom’s world and how it’s changing on a weekly basis. So is there anything that you dislike about Grootboom? Let’s just say that he’s a… very particular man. He goes to extreme lengths to get what he wants. What about this role won you over? I like to play roles that portray real South Africans. I also got to film in my own language [Setswana] and that was great! Being able to work with people I know was fun – there’s this nature of sharing and contributing on set. I was fortunate that everyone made sure the environment was conducive to bringing out the best in all of us. And how do you want viewers to react to Grootboom? I watch the news every day and I just want Grootboom to come across as a real South African politician. This is, after all, a real South African story.
ON THE AGENDA THIS SEASON
• In episode 1, Lerato’s moved to Tshwane to start her job as presidential youth advisor but an accident scene involving school kids is going to open her eyes to the realities of her job. • Episode 2 (7 December) sees Andile Grootboom caught between obeying the President’s orders or following someone else’s instructions. Plus, it seems there’s a mole in the President’s office. • And in episode 5 (28 December), Grootboom and President Dineo are forced to hide secrets when the Public Protector’s office comes snooping…
Andile has his hands full.
President Dineo is going to keep her office busy.