Wednesday, January 21, 2015

SABC1's new telenovela, Uzalo, set to take on Mzansi Magic's Isibaya from 9 February in the same timeslot of 20:30 for 3 days a week.

The SABC first rejected the pitch for the show and forced the producers to retool it, but now, 3 years later, the new Zulu telenovela Uzalo from Stained Glass Productions will finally make it to TV.

The ambitiously filmed KwaZulu-Natal local drama Uzalo will starts on 9 February at 20:30 on SABC1 - trying to win back some audience share and viewers for the SABC against the Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) telenovela-turned-soap soap juggernaut Isibaya in the same timeslot.

Each half hour episode which SABC1 will broadcast from Mondays to Wednesdays from 9 February, revolves around the Mdletshe and the Xulu families, straddling the world's of crime and church.

Uzalo is set in KwaMashu in Durban and also filmed on location in the township's F-section since December 2014.

Despite several production and writing challenges SABC1 and the production company believe that the new telenovela following after Generations - The Legacy in the 20:30 timeslot will keep viewers tuning in.

SABC2 plans to have its own telenovela on the air this year, and told TV critics in 2014 that it is looking at July 2015 to start its own local telenovela - the South African public broadcaster's second one.

One of president Jacob Zuma's daughters, Gugulethu Zuma-Ncube is the producer of Uzalo, together with Pepsi Pokane, with the playwright-producer Duma Ndlovu now writing the scripts after several other writers were initially tasked with producing scripts but left.

SABC1 describes Uzalo as "a provocative, bold and authentic narrative that tells the story of two family dynasties and the two young men who carry their hopes and legacies as they face the complexities of money, family and love".

What is means is that Uzalo will revolve around two sons of two families - one "good" and one "bad" and the conflict and friendship between them and their families.

The KwaMashu-born Bheki Mkwane from Isibaya on DStv's Mzansi Magic channel supplied by M-Net, will now appear in the rival localdrama Uzalo as patriarch pastor Melusi Mdletshe. Leleti Khumalo plays the pastor wife Zandile Zulu.

Other Uzalo stars include Khumbulani 'Kay' SibiyaNaymaps Maphala and Mpumelelo Bhulose and Dawn Thandeka-King.