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.

TV Plus (South Africa) - - DRAMA -

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.

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