THE SOUTH AFRICAN
TV AUTHORITY

Jozi-H

Genres: Drama

Rate:

6.7

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About the Show

Jozi-H is a Canadian-South African hospital drama television series created by Mfundi Vundla and Karen Briner and produced by Morula Pictures and Inner City Films Inc. which looks at the personal and professional struggles faced by an eclectic, international band of doctors, nurses and surgeons from South Africa, Canada, the US and Britain.

The series originally aired in Canada on CBC from 13 October, 2006 to 2 February, 2007. There are 13 hour-long episodes in the series.

The series originally aired in South Africa on SABC3 from 26 April to 19 July, 2007. It later aired on SABC1. See "Seasons" below for seasonal broadcast dates and times.

Episode Teasers

Synopsis

Ancient custom and modern cutting edge medicine square up for a head-on collision in Jozi-H.

Set in Johannesburg's world renowned trauma department at Johannesburg Metropolitican Hospital, Jozi-H is set in the new post-apartheid South Africa and looks at the personal and professional struggles faced by an eclectic, international band of doctors, nurses and surgeons from South Africa, Canada, the US and Britain.

Their stories take place on a frontier, where modern medicine meets traditional African healing, where groundbreaking HIV/AIDS research leads the way in the search for a cure, where diseases no longer found in the first world remain a deadly challenge and the volume of violent crime forces interns to become world experts on trauma in weeks instead of years.

Several of Jozi-H's key characters are on their own personal "tour of duty", struggling to deal with the challenges of life, love and medicine against an intense, ever-changing landscape.

These foreign surgeons, along with a local mix of doctors and nurses, band together to form a dedicated, overworked, underpaid team of health care workers.

Although each of them may appear different, inside and out, they are united in their effort to heal all those who enter Jozi-H.

Created by Mfundi Vundla and co-created by Karen Briner, the series was executive produced by Amos Adetuyi and Alfons Adetuyi and Mfundi Vundla. The head writer was Alyson Feltes.

Co-produced by Morula Pictures and Inner City Films Inc., the series was produced with the assistance of The Department of Trade and Industry South Africa, in association with the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa, the SABC and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Main Characters

Russell MonseurDr. Russell Monseur
Age:
36
Title:
Neurosurgeon
Nationality: Canadian

Russ is a visiting Canadian neurosurgeon who's regarded as one the very best in the field in the world.

Raised in Manatoba, half native, half white, he paid a steep price for not quite fitting into either culture.

At the age of 7 he was plucked from his Reserve north of Winnipeg to be schooled by a Christian group at a federally sanctioned residential school. Russ's life at the residential school was traumatic.

Unlike his classmates, Russ could pass himself off as white. His father's a full blooded Cree, but his mother is a white francophone, and unlike his two brothers, he resembles her in looks and temperament.

His classmates resented him, seeing him as a symbol of white man's oppression. Until he honed a wicked left hook, Russ suffered a lot in the schoolyard and at bedtime. The Brothers themselves instilled in him a lifelong distrust of white authority, a hatred of Christian teaching (since it was often accompanied by a belt or a cuff to the ears).

It was mid-way through high school that a caring and committed teacher took the wayward, angry Russ on. She instilled in him a desire to use learning as a way out of the black hole of the school. She helped him get a scholarship to finish high school in Winnipeg, outside of the system that kept its boot on his neck.

Unfortunately, freedom from the boot meant a departure from anything that connected him to his past. At Etienne Brule High School, Russ was an amazing student, a handsome, if wary, young man. No-one saw his "native-ness"; in turn he revealed it to no-one. His parents, he told people, were dead. They were certainly dead to him.

The world was now his oyster. And while that was a relief and a joy, Russ still experienced black rages against his past losses. In some ways, he felt and will always feel, that the ladder he has been given to climb may be whisked away in a moment.

His divorce from a wealthy white woman, her accusation that he is somehow a fake, brings that insecurity right to the fore. The end of his marriage is still raw. Having tried to take on WASP values, his ex made it obvious that she thought he’s not accepted in her world and never will be. They tried to conceive for years with no success but after three months with her new boyfriend she is blissfully pregnant. Russ fears that the problem is with him.

Russ needs to go where nobody knows him, or his failings. The Russ who arrives in Jozi in Episode 1, is a brilliant neurosurgeon, visiting for a year.

De Villiers is a fan, Moroka is a little more wary having put forward a number of black candidates for the post Russ now fills. Part of his job at Jozi is to choose and help train a new neurosurgeon. Moroka chooses Ingrid for him, a move that Russ resents as he senses her heart remains in Trauma.

Russ’s relationship with Nomsa, a sangoma trainee and nurse, begins to open him up to aspects of his past he’s tried to forget. He crashes spectacularly and creates his own punishment to expiate whatever it is he feels he has done.

Jenny LangfordDr Jenny Langford
Age:
28
Title:
Surgical Registrar
Nationality:
Canadian

Dr Jenny Langford is a paediatric surgical registrar who knew she was ready for a bigger challenge long before she graduated from medical school.

On a six-month scholarship in South Africa, she’s only been in Jozi for about 6 weeks when we first meet her in Episode 1.

Life all started swimmingly for Jenny. There was a time when it seemed there wasn’t anything she couldn’t do. She was in love with a guy she met at medical school then they had Luke, her spina bifida son.

She’s spent years single mindedly balancing the conflicting roles of mother to a child with medical problems and being an aspiring surgeon. Her posting to Jozi was a difficult choice, intended to catapult her ahead in a difficult specialty. She’s at Jozi to get as much experience as she can in as short a time as possible.

Her relationship with Sipho therefore takes her by surprise. Starting with confrontation and a shared political passion, it blossoms into an affair and then a relationship. Sipho cares for his twin nieces, orphaned by AIDS, so he understands the joys and hardships of being a parent. He also has deep roots in SA.

Deep down Jenny knows that all of this will make it harder to leave SA when the time comes. She doesn’t want to think that far ahead. It’s the first time in a while that she’s been able to feel anything.

Jenny becomes increasingly frustrated that drugs to treat (and even cure) her very young HIV/AIDS patients are available but an inflexible bureaucracy stands in the way. She also worries about creating a generation of orphans. She is not sanctimonious, just a young woman used to "doing" and not above pushing hard and even breaking the rules in the process.

In her quest to help HIV victims get medication she can rub people up the wrong way. Because she speaks her mind, Jocelyn, among others, are wary of her.

She tries to be a good person to all around her especially Luke by bringing him over to SA to live with her when his Dad and new wife can’t cope. At first she struggles to find a caretaker for him and a suitable place to live, but Sipho and Mike come to the rescue.

Zane JaraDr. Zanemvula "Zane" Jara
Age:
34
Title:
Consultant Trauma Surgeon
Nationality: South African

Dr Zane Jara is a consultant trauma surgeon who comes from humble beginnings - although you'd never know it from his expensive wardrobe.

Zane has come far fast and intends to go further. He is more committed and in tune with what’s going on and with what the hospital needs than many of the hospital's staff.

He sees the hospital as a stepping-stone to the society he wants to help build and protect: he is a public soldier for the new South Africa. He spars with Moroka who feels he’s given more to this country than anyone. Moroka is also aware that Zane is nipping at his heels, bending De Villiers's ear about plans that he has for administrative changes.There’s no love lost between these two powerful black men.

Zane doesn't seek wealth in itself. He is much more interested in control and being beholden to no-one. With good reason. He’s from a Xhosa family and grew up in Soweto. He was tough in his youth, but not as tough as his brother King who he has a very complex relationship with.

King protected Zane by chasing off the bullies and put Zane through school with the money he got from drugs. Then King killed a rival and Zane cut him off, a rejection that hurt King more than any pain he suffered at the hands of the police or his villainous rivals.

However, Zane found himself without the money to finish medical school. Hating himself, he took cash in envelopes left in his locker. He knew where they came from. He could feel the blood on them. It's going to have to come to light at some point, Zane knows. Hopefully not at the end of a gun.

Zane likes his women to be star struck - at least that’s what he always thought. But with Ingrid, Zane found a thrilling degree of feistiness and pedigree. When she began untwining herself from him, he was floored.

His recovery from their near marriage has been rocky and filled with hurt. Prathima, the young PR rep for Jozi, promises finally, maybe to take that hurt away. But the spark between Zane and Ingrid also threatens to re-ignite.

During the first season, King re-enters Zane’s life, attempting to extract cash pro quo and get Zane to treat a gunshot victim who he claims is a colleague. Zane puts his professional reputation at risk, as well as his life. Having rejected his brother so completely, he reacts with brotherly instinct.

Ingrid NyokaDr. Ingrid Nyoka
Age:
28
Title:
Surgical Registrar
Nationality:
South African

Brainy and beautiful Ingrid Nyoka is in her third year of a five-year rotation in General Surgery, preparing to specialise.

She's also the daughter of a disappeared anti-apartheid activist. As a young girl, Ingrid saw her father dragged away from their family home. His body was never found, but everyone assumes he was murdered by the Secret Police.

The family escaped to England and Ingrid's come back to SA, wanting to connect with her homeland and feeling an obligation to participate in the new Democracy.

Her cousins resent her and her family because her mother did not go to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. This means they won’t help her trace the remains of her father. Contact between the cousins is sporadic at best.

Ingrid and Zane were close to marriage, until she realized she was feeling frightened, commitment phobic and stifled. She had come back to SA to participate as a doctor and to reconnect to her own roots. Instead, she felt herself being trapped by Zane. So she ran, giving herself the freedom to miss him now.

She has recently started a relationship with Saul, a Jewish architect she met in a support group for families of the disappeared, but the sparks between Ingrid and Zane are close to reigniting when Zane is shot. She vows to give up any residual claim on him if he survives, but it is too late to mend the relationship with Saul.

The arrival at Jozi of the man she remembers from the night of her father’s disappearance in need of urgent medical care tests every ounce of her commitment to the Hippocratic Oath. His presence intensifies her quest to find her father’s remains.

Ingrid swallows her own prejudice and requests help from Johann Botha who represents, for her, the worst of the old regime. But in finding her father’s body, she also discovers things about him that she didn’t know – like his second family.

Moroka is aware of her background and supports her through the discoveries about her father. He also goes to great lengths to keep her at the hospital after her relationship with Zane turns bitter following their breakup.

Mike BellmanDr. Michael "Mike" Bellman
Age:
36
Title:
Surgical Registrar
Nationality: British

Dr. Mike Bellman is a surgical registrar who always shows a great deal of compassion and care for his patients and is well liked by everyone.

An emergency room doctor and older than one would expect for someone in his relatively junior position, he’s been honing in his performance since the death of his family in a car accident for which he was responsible.

He won’t play the competitive game within the hospital and has avoided taking the exams that would allow him to specialize. Jocelyn and the nurses love him because he shows respect, stays late, writes clearly and brings in English treats sent by his mother. He has time for people.

Mike also has a quirky, off-beat, very English sense of humour. This is part of what Lizzie finds attractive about him and it is something that irritates Greg. Mike is a runner, and, until he finds a career focus, has a penchant for gambling on the outcome of cases.

The son of a high achieving doctor who was a friend of De Villiers, Mike went to an English boarding school. He trained in London, but De Villiers took him on out of respect for the memory of his old friend when Mike needed a change and a job after the tragedy.

Choosing emergency medicine is at some root level, a way of Mike punishing himself for the loss of his family. Mike’s very sexually shut down. He is attracted to Lizzie but she is the one who makes the advances. Their initial sexual encounter leads to his revelation of his guilt for the death of his family and results in his running away from her.

Greg NashDr. Greg Nash
Age:
32
Title:
Senior Vascular Surgery Registrar
Nationality: American

Dr. Greg Nash is a senior Vascular Surgery Registrar who's visiting from Atlanta, Georgia.

He's super confident about his abilities but his arrogance can wear thin and he's sarcastically referred to as "the vein guy" by his colleagues.

He hails from a high achieving family, with almost oppressive expectations. His older brother, Ray, is a noted plastic surgeon and his doctor father advised his Greg not to go to Africa.

Greg gives short shrift to people not doing their job properly. Initially he feels that the disease, not the patient, is what is important so his bedside manner is lousy.

He can be funny and charming and loud. To him, he’s carrying on a game with the Vendor, not fully understanding the edge on which the man lives. He’s a small Republican, able to ignore status, and believing that the American Dream can be the African Dream too. After all, it worked for him.

You just have to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour and go for it. Greg doesn't have much time for people who don't take care of themselves – he has that kind of judgmental attitude only Southern Baptists can own. He doesn’t swear or drink, and avoids the bar.

So he's blinkered- but sometimes in a good way. He can have a conversation with Thabani, the Vendor, he's faithful to Lisa, his long-term girlfriend who his family thinks will be the ideal mate to accompany Greg’s success. This makes his relationship with Thandi very unusual for him, and the blossoming of his feelings for her is accompanied by a great deal of guilt and denial.

Greg’s arrogance is real but it carries its own elements of charm. He is capable of generosity and gentleness, as we see with Lisa and then with Thandi and Kwame but he is also very full of himself.

He has no sense of the hierarchy unless he’s the one at the top. He clashes majorly with Zane and also with Mike who gets great enjoyment from pricking Greg’s balloon.

Secondary Characters

Dr. Elize "Lizzie" Hirsh Title: Senior Gynecology House Offer
Nationality:
South African

Although Dr Lizzie Hirsh is a good doctor, she can't seem to resist indulging in rebellious, self-destructive behaviour and battles the demons of her drug dependency.

In many ways she’s like her late mother or at least she feels she was closer to her mother than her brother and sister were but she's haunted by the fact that her mother committed suicide three years ago.

She doesn’t care about her family’s wealth and cares less about the way in which they amassed it, which might explain why she’s currently working at Jozi-H.  She is considered the black sheep of her family because of her apparent commitment to the underprivileged.

She really knows how to let her hair down and increasingly uses drugs to get through the days. She’s drawn to Mike and learns that he killed his family accidentally. Although she doesn’t reveal much about her family to Mike, he can see that there’s tension between her and her siblings.

Both Mike and Russ try to protect Lizzie from herself but she has to find her own reasons for cleaning up her act if she wants to keep on being a doctor.

Dr. Leonard "Leo" September
Age: 30
Title: Senior Paediatric Surgical Registrar
Nationality: South African

Leo is an excellent doctor who enjoys a great rapport with his young patients. He’s on the verge of taking his final difficult fellowship exams so he devotes every free moment to studying.

Like most doctors he’s a little too committed to his job to the extent that his wife, Charmaine and daughter, Nadia, leave him. Because he witnessed domestic violence in his youth, he takes it really badly when his best friend, Benji beats up his wife, Paula.

Leo’s lonely and doesn’t have much to talk about with anyone but after initial antagonisms and disputes, he bonds with Jenny, while making it very clear that he’s got a bigger ego and is higher up the pecking order than she is.

He doesn’t like the idea of traditional healers in the hospital context and is often cold to Nomsa. He uses work to mask deeper problems in his personal life. When he is hit on by a guy in a bar he doesn’t resist. Could he be bisexual?

Jocelyn del Rossi
Age: 38
Title: Trauma Nursing Sister
Nationality: South African

Jocelyn has a heart of gold and is fully committed to the hospital and to everything and everyone in it. When Glinda is caught stealing Jocelyn is the one who defends her and turns a blind eye to the collection the staff takes up when she doesn’t get paid.

But she likes to play things by the rules - which can cause her to butt heads with Jenny. Her husband spends a lot of time at sea and she doesn’t have kids. She wanted to have them, but couldn’t.

She doesn’t mind spending all her time at the hospital as there’s no one to go home to. She has a special bond with Zane whom she’s known since his early days as a doctor. Her relationship with Ingrid intensifies as the series progresses.

Nomsa Mangena
Age: 30
Title: Nurse/Sangoma
Nationality: South African

As well as being a trained trauma nurse, Nomsa is also a Sangoma in training. Some doctors are afraid of her, and some, like Leo, disapprove of her using traditional methods in the hospital. But many people are drawn to her because of her quiet authority, and cheerful tranquility.

She’s a mother of two (10 & 8) and her mother looks after her kids while she works. Nomsa tried to ignore her Sangoma gift for years. The father of her children - her childhood sweetheart - left when she kept getting sick and was irritable due to ignoring her calling.

He wasn’t big enough to embrace her Sangoma gift but she still has residual feelings for him. She lives in the small house in Alex where they previously lived together. He now has another family.

Nomsa's had a couple of relationships since her husband left but they haven’t worked out. She’s decided that it’s better not to go that route at the moment while she’s focusing on her training. The training has been a long journey for her because it is very expensive and she is saving money for the final stage.

She is attracted to Russ but the ancestors warn her to be wary of a connection with him.

Nthato Moroka
Age: 40's
Title: Head Trauma Surgeon
Nationality: South African

He’s set to take over De Villiers’ job when he retires. He’s very patriotic and there’s tension between him and Russ partly because Russ got a position that Moroka believed a local candidate deserved.

He was sent by the ANC to go and study in Hungary, and was/is still married to a white woman and has two boys with her. At the moment they are separated and he’s been trying to win the right to see his kids since his return to South Africa.

He understands where Ingrid is coming from because he’s a returnee himself. Despite being well-educated, he’s still in touch with his cultural roots.

Prathima Choudry
Age: 23
Title: Public Relations Officer
Nationality: South African

Prathima, the young hospital PRO, is going out with Zane who’s on the rebound from a failed relationship with Ingrid. She is only too aware that Zane is still emotionally attached to Ingrid.

She’s ambitious, but not driven; well-connected; well-off and not tribalized. She has an influential father and comes from a large, traditional Indian family in Durban.

Her family connections and affirmative action have got her the job at the hospital. She’s good, but sometimes she’s out of her depth. But wants to be the best at what she does - since this is a route to independence from the family.

Her family, especially her father, does not approve of her relationship with Zane. She matures through the painful relationship with Zane and becomes more aware of what she wants.

Sipho Ramthalile
Age: Early 30's
Title: Human Resources & Activist

Sipho is an AIDS activist who also works in Human Resources at the hospital. He’s charismatic, handsome and really passionate about fighting for AIDS victims, because he lost his twin brother to the disease.

In his passion for the cause, he ruffles a few feathers and is even capable of exploiting people for the movement’s ends, like he does at first with Jenny. In Jenny he initially thinks he’s found someone who can help get publicity for PACA but he soon becomes emotionally involved with her.

He has taken responsibility for raising his brother’s twin daughters, so he understands more than the others what Jenny is going through. He helps Jenny in whatever way he can including finding a nanny for Luke.

Like Zane, he does want the best for this country and the people in it. He wants to give people jobs, not take them away. He wants to stop going to funerals.

Ayesha Safiya
Age: 24
Title: House Officer

A practicing Muslim and junior doctor, Ayesha initially has a difficult time standing up for herself in the face of Greg and Zane who bully her every chance they get.

She doesn’t feel too comfortable giving advice to older people about their sexual behaviour as we see with Dumisani and his two wives. Mike is her ally, subtly protecting and encouraging her.

Rudolf De Villiers
Age: 63
Title: Hospital Superintendent
Nationality: South African

Rudolf is a left-over from the old regime. He has a long history with the hospital and remembers Glinda as a beginning nurse. He also has a stern side, which is to be expected from someone in his position.

He knows that democracy has had its drawbacks; that he is fighting a sometimes losing battle to keep the hospital in nurses, doctors, drugs and even toilet paper. He hates the pilfering.

He also feels Dr. Moroka nipping at his heels and suspects that Moroka hopes that he’ll retire before his time. De Villiers has taken Zane under his wing ever since he met him as a bright young doctor.

He appreciates his staff and their hard work during difficult times like the soccer stampede crisis, but has difficulty in communicating this.

Mapunyane Chilembe
Age: 22
Title: Nurse
Nationality: South African

Mapunyane's not nearly as patient as the rest of the nurses. She’s the type of nurse you’re likely to find in a public hospital, constantly complaining about being underpaid, having terrible working conditions etc.

She’s quite vain and concerned about her appearance. Unlike the other nurses, she’s very harsh and judgmental when it comes to the patients. This could be because of her youth or because she’s not in the right “job”. She won’t give an inch to someone like Jenny. However, she can be surprising.

She jumps to Jenny’s aid when she is pricked by an angry parent, and there are unguarded moments when she shows tenderness and concern to patients. She has a daughter and is in a relationship with a taxi-driver.

Glinda Valimbe
Age: 34
Title: Nurse
Nationality: South African

Glinda has three kids (all “choice assorteds”) and started stealing from the hospital to be able to give her cricket playing son the things that he wants. She’s caught out and promises never to steal again if she can keep her job.

She’s a good nurse who seems to know what she’s doing and is liked by her peers. She hasn’t really had that much luck with men and decides that getting back together with one of the fathers of her children (who’s a taxi driver) might be a good idea.

It turns out to be fatal as he infects her with the HIV virus. The hospital refuses to pay for her medication because she was infected prior to working for the hospital. This causes her great distress and suffering and through it all Sipho does his best to support her.

Rocky Naylor
Age: 38
Title: Paramedic
Nationality: South African

Rocky loves his job and he’s really good at it. Accidentally killing his daughter is not only a turning point in his life but it changes him as he understands what Mike went through as well after killing his family.

He might have difficulty coming back to work after losing his daughter, but it remains to be seen. His relationship with his wife is very strained by the accident.

Sandra Smit
Age: 26
Title: Nurse
Nationality: South African

Unlike Mapunyane Sandra is caring and kind. She jokes around with Limpy, tenderly cares for him, and doesn’t seem to have a problem with anyone. She is very reserved, doesn’t talk much about men or her love life – if she has one. She’s the complete opposite of Mapunyane.

Simon Elliot
Age: 29
Title: Paramedic
Nationality: South African

Simon's a jovial guy who enjoys his job but he can be deeply affected by cases. He has a long-standing friendship with Zane - partly due to their bonding over soccer. He’s loyal to his colleagues, particularly Zane.

Limpy Robinson
Title: Hospital Property

Limpy's a constantly tipsy, ever-present guy who everybody loves to hate. He’s the hospital’s property, a street beggar who provides some comic relief especially for the nurses who get to deal with him. He really doesn’t get along with Mapunyane - but maybe under it all they have a love-hate relationship.

Thabani
Title: Vendor
Nationality: South African

Thabani's a jolly and easygoing guy who works the hospital as a vendor, providing humour along the way.

He’s also a man struggling to make a living. Giving credit is not good for his business - which is the source of his grumblings about Greg.

Jozi-H Cast

Seasons

There are 13 episodes in one season

Season 1

Channel: SABC3 | Premiere: 26 Apr 2007 | Finale: 19 Jul 2007 | Thursdays, 20h31
Channel: SABC1 | Premiere: 15 Jul 2010 | Finale: 7 Oct 2010 | Thursdays, 20h30
Channel: SABC3 | Premiere: 30 Nov 2012 | Finale: 22 Mar 2013 | Fridays, 20h00


Starring

as
Dr. Elize "Lizzie" Hirsh

as
Dr. Greg Nash

as
Dr. Ingrid Nyoka

as
Dr. Jenny Langford

as
Dr. Leonard September

as
Dr. Michael Bellman

as
Dr. Nthato Moroka

as
Dr. Russel Monsour

as
Dr. Zanemvula Jara

as
Jocelyn Del Rossi

as
Nomsa Mangena

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