Grass­roots tack­les theme of man­hood

Drama set in the sport or rugby

Sowetan - - Timeout Television/music - By Siphilile Shelembe

Grass­roots is a fresh never-seen-be­fore com­ing-of-age story about two boys from ru­ral Eastern Cape who get scouted dur­ing a trial rugby match and land a schol­ar­ship to en­rol at a Jo­han­nes­burg pri­vate school.

They leave behind the life they know and are thrown into a new school, and a new world where they have to nav­i­gate through their iden­tity, family feuds and defin­ing what man­hood means to them.

Oros Mam­pofu plays the lead char­ac­ter of Mon­wabisi and Lih­leli Tini por­trays Asanda.

More star power comes in the form of the likes of Zikhona Sod­laka, Ler­ato Mve­lase, Justin Stry­dom, Con­nie Chi­ume, Sibulele Gcil­it­shana and Du­misani Mbe­mbe.

Mark Madai, the com­mis­sion­ing edi­tor at M-Net, says the TV show puts an em­pha­sis on man­hood and what it means to be a man.

“They ex­plore what is man­hood through­out the story... Is it a phys­i­cal thing? Is it an emo­tional thing? Is it emo­tional ma­tu­rity?

“So those are the kind of themes we fo­cus on,” he says.

This en­gag­ing story will also be a con­ver­sa­tion starter with its themes of trans­for­ma­tion, family se­crets and ad­dress­ing some of the trans­for­ma­tive is­sues that South Africa faces.

“It’s also about black iden­tity in what is con­sid­ered the pre­serve of ‘white iden­tity’ in the sport of rugby,” says Madai.

“We are used to sports dra­mas that deal with sports such as soc­cer as those are more fa­mil­iar to the masses of our peo­ple, so it is an in­ter­est­ing, fresh dy­namic.

“It’s also a multi-pro­tag­o­nist youth drama about brother­hood which in many ways is also fresh,” he said.

Madai says the sto­ry­line will be told with au­then­tic­ity and will be re­lat­able for ev­ery­one.

Madai hopes Grass­roots will fuel en­gag­ing and cru­cial three-di­men­sional con­ver­sa­tions about where South Africans find them­selves 25 years af­ter democ­racy.

Khayelihle Dom Gumede, the chief creative of­fi­cer at Clive Mor­ris Production­s, says the show will help South Africans to ad­dress and deal with is­sues.

“In many ways, the show deals with the source of mas­cu­line iden­tity and what in­forms it in a new way.

“It is a crit­i­cal con­ver­sa­tion to be had at the mo­ment given the amount of gen­der-based vi­o­lence, pre­dom­i­nantly against women, and vi­o­lent crime.”

Grass­roots was filmed over six weeks and is sched­uled for re­lease next month on 1Magic and Show­max.

/SUP­PLIED

Luzuko Nkqeto, Zikhona Sod­laka and Lih­leli Tini in ‘Grass­roots’.

Senzo Radebe and Con­nie Chi­ume.

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