Zone 14 is a South African television drama series produced by Angus Gibson for The Bomb Shelter and set in a typical township location which focuses on the daily lives of two warring families - the Sibiyas and the Molois - and the Tiger Boys, a soccer team with high aspirations in the league.
The series premiered on SABC1 on Monday 7 November 2005, at 20h30. See "Seasons" below for seasonal broadcast dates and times.
Season 4 premiered on SABC1 on Wednesday 13 July 2011, at 20h30. New episodes broadcast on Mondays and Wednesdays at the same time. There are 104 episodes in the fourth season.
Zone 14 puts a spin on the usual soapie by locating it on a typical township street with two families, the Sibiyas and the Molois who own a soccer team, at its heart.
Life happens on the street. Here soccer bosses, small time traders, aspiring players, beauty queens, factory workers, gangsters and the jobless live side by side, sharing stories and laughter, falling in love, fighting battles and dreaming.
Zone 14 tells the stories of Soweto that have never been told before, from the fun of hanging out at the local tavern, to washing cars for money, and styling your hair at the local salon while sharing stories about falling in love.
The soccer team, The Tiger Boys, has fought its way up the 2nd division and is tipped to win the league and move into 1st division. All player's hearts are set on joining the Premier League.
Over the course of the series we share the heartaches, triumphs and failures of the team - the rivalry, corruption, courage and dreams of the players, coaches, wives, and girlfriends.
The fans live, dream and eat soccer - provide the energy, passion and heart no matter what. They know every detail, every story, every goal and every failure. The rich history of soccer feeds into their everyday conversation - past heroes and their legends, the changing styles, tactics and play of the game.
While Zone 14 reflects the world of football, it is not only about soccer. It is also about the meaning of the game for everyone involved: winning and losing, personal victory and obsession, the pursuit of power, hope for a better life and the meaning of success. It is about the personal challenges off the field in everyday lives, including the struggle to earn a living, the sweet pain of falling in love, the setbacks of illness, and the powerful lure of money.
There are budding romances, broken hearts and deceiving spouses. There are personal hopes and dreams threatened daily by the realities of survival - dreams of education, careers and families, some successful and some never realised.
In Zone 14, times can be harsh and unpredictable but people celebrate life and find humour amidst pain, and companionship with neighbours and friends.
A year has passed in Zone 14 and much has changed; but the feud between the Molois and the Sibiyas still rages on in the battle for control of soccer in Zone 14.
All eyes are on King, the central hero, whose task it is to build a new Tiger Boys side that will crush the new bling soccer team that has infiltrated Zone 14.
Tiger's tavern is booming and Mdu has opened a local surgery on the street with Selina as his nurse. Business at the funeral parlour has never been better.
The Molois have moved house and Digger is sporting a shiny new BMW and his new line of luxury coffins appears to be selling well.
But there seems to be more than meets the eye to Digger's new wealth. Who is Mr Big, who seems so close to Stella? How have the Molois funded a new, more up-market home and a highly financed soccer team?
Are King and Nina finally able to rekindle their love affair, freed from Jungle and Sindi? Will the Sibiya family survive the terrible secret that has been unearthed after 25 years?
The second season kicks off the week before the final game of Mvela season. Tiger Boys are in a crisis. They fear that they will be relegated. They need to win their final game by 2 points in order to stay in the Mvela league.
All eyes are on King as he prepares for the final match of the season. Match day arrives, however Sting - the Tiger Boys’ star striker - is missing. Sting’s disappearance on such a crucial day haunts the community of Zone 14.
The central drama of the series kicks in when Stella – Tiger’s scorned mistress - discovers a devastating secret. This secret is the perfect ammunition for Stella to get back at Tiger.
A woman scorned, Stella seizes the opportunity and she blackmails Tiger. Stella threatens to jeopardise his family’s happiness and leaves Tiger faced with the hardest decision of his life: choosing between his love of soccer and the love of his family.
In order to cover up Stella’s blackmail, Tiger is forced to lie to his son King whilst protecting the women in his life, Lebo and Nandi. Tiger tells King that Tiger Boys has no future with him as coach, and so, a reluctant King gives up Tiger Boys because he feels he has failed his father.
All this conflict leaves Tiger Boys in tatters and the community feels betrayed. They can’t believe that Tiger has relinquished the dream to take Tiger Boys to the PSL. For now, Stella is victorious.
It is at this point we see the rise of Stella’s new team - “Stella Stars” – who fast become the darlings of Second Division. Tiger publicly tries to save face, but privately mourns the loss of his team.
The tensions between Tiger and King deepen as King feels deeply betrayed by his father and he leaves the Sibiya home determined to pick up the pieces. On a mission to prove Tiger wrong, he sets about building a new team that will crush the Stella Stars.
Stella flaunts her success, but King is determined. King buys a team from the Vodacom league at an auction. King puts his heart and soul into this team – the Mighty Bombers - transforming it from a rag tag squad of no-hopers to a triumphant force that will defeat the Stella Stars.
King’s journey is a tough one: he has to face financial and emotional obstacles as his ambitions place his relationship with Nina in serious jeopardy.
As the series drives towards its mid-point the divide between the rival families and teams grows deeper. What started as a feud between Tiger and Stella infects the hearts of the people on the street.
The battle lines are drawn between the supporters of the former Tiger Boys - now known as the Mighty Bombers - and those of the Stella Stars.
This David and Goliath battle comes to a head when the two teams face each other on the field in a Vodocom league fixture match. Stella Stars thrash Mighty Bombers using devious means. The Mighty Bombers are bruised but not defeated. King continues to inspire the team to greater heights.
Throughout the series the more intimate dramas of the street continue to play against this backdrop. Nina and King are enduring the heartache of a miscarriage as well as the drama of King’s illegitimate son who arrives one day on their doorstep, a 17 year-old hell raiser.
While King is a father figure to many young players as he mentors and supports his team, he is unable to mend his relationship with this boy who is filled with rage at having been abandoned by his father at a very young age.
Their relationship comes under strain and Nina seeks solace from Mdu. The young doctor has found short-lived happiness with Pinky, but his plans of a happy married life are cut short when she abandons him at the altar.
Vuvu, in turn, is romancing the wife of Mr Big, the heavy-weight drug lord, and battling a cocaine addiction that will eventually lead to his undoing.
In the 3rd Act of the series, Nandi experiences a number of visions in which she is guided to a revelation relating to Sting’s disappearance. Tiger finally reveals the truth to King that Stella blackmailed him. Father and son find forgiveness and are re-united.
Together, they join forces, enabling King’s team of young players to thrash the Stars and emerge as the best team in Gauteng. King is triumphant as the evil doings of the Molois are exposed.
At the climax of Season 2, Stella and Digger were busted for dealing drugs and hauled off to jail. King's soccer team won through to the 1st division and the community celebrated.
Sizwe "miraculously" arose from his wheelchair and walked to the tavern where he declared to a shocked Tiger and Nandi that he wanted access to his daughter, Lebo.
As Season 3 begins, outraged that Sizwe is claiming Lebo as his child, Tiger attacks Sizwe. Nandi pleads with Tiger not to kill Sizwe - she just wants him to admit that he raped her. But Sizwe denies the allegations, and states that Nandi was not an innocent in their sexual encounter.
Outwardly Sizwe pretends to be a changed man. He claims his "miraculous" recovery has turned his heart and he wants to bury past hates and start again. Tiger exacts a promise from Sizwe to keep his mouth shut about Lebo's paternity; they are all concerned about her frail emotional state.
Sizwe and Tiger's conflict ceases – on the surface at least. King's marriage proposal to Nina is seen as a solidification of the truce and Sizwe welcomes King into his family.
Sizwe secretly plots to weaken the foundations of the Sibiyas by reinventing himself as a "man of God" and working to win over the community by restoring his good name and legitimising his business practice.
Publicly he denounces Stella and Digger's drug empire, however when he realises that drugs will be sold in Zone 14 by someone else, he decides to take matters into his hands.
Aided by his deadly apprentice, Sledge, Sizwe makes a deal with a drug dealer, Duke, which positions his funeral parlour at the axis of a lucrative distribution network. His only rule – no drugs are to be sold in Zone 14. While Sizwe masquerades as an anti-drug crusader, his empire grows in neighbouring areas.
With first division promotion, King reclaims the name and legacy of the Tiger Boys and assembles one team from the old Mighty Bombers and Stella Stars. Management seeks to professionalise the team, which involves controlling all aspects of the player's lives.
King makes Sgonondo captain and gets him to implement a strict fitness regime. Gogo manages their diet, Pinky takes on the role of PR and Tiger contracts the players using a tight fisted approach.
Tiger commits to finding the team a sponsor. This is complicated by the player's on-field indiscipline and the nickname they receive in the press: "The Cannibals." Pinky turns this "bad boy" reputation to their advantage and their celebrity status grows.
Tiger connects with the owner of Amahawu Security, Austin Ntabele. Tiger regards Austin as a God-send and he signs a sponsorship deal, but what Tiger doesn't know is that he's being set up by Sizwe, as Austin is Duke's boss.
Austin's condition for investment is that they acquire a brilliant and expensive playmaker, Loyiso.
Sizwe pays off Sonja to wrongfully accuse Loyiso of rape so that it will destabilise the team and ensure poor results. When the allegations prove unfounded, Sizwe doctors Sonja's identity document so that it states she is a minor, and Loyiso is charged with statutory rape.
In the meantime, Pinky's relationship with Sgonondo is the catalyst for her to go on an emotional journey that takes her back to her childhood and forces her to confront the abuse that she experienced at the hands of her father.
Sgonondo's inner strength brings out Pinky's vulnerability and during their first sexual encounter, she sees a disturbing flash of a man's face.
When Pinky sees a photo of her father in Tiger's office, she makes the connection that he is the man tormenting her dreams. With Maradona's support, Pinky discovers that she was abused by her father. Together Pinky and Maradona are both able to move on with their lives.
Austin approaches Tiger with a proposition. Isaac, a businessman, needs a partner to invest in a big 2010 tender and is attracted to Tiger's soccer pedigree and tavern business. Tiger falls for the deal and invests most of the R500K he and King received from Austin's share purchase.
Tiger uses the balance of the money to support Nina's ideas to revamp the tavern with a strategic eye for making the most of the upcoming World Cup.
Sledge succeeds in getting Zonke to take performance enhancers and when Sizwe tips off the authorities, Zonke fails an anti-doping test.
Loyiso appears before the magistrate and a trial date is set with the prosecution determined to make an example of him. SAFA is alerted that Mba's working visa is forged and he is prevented from playing.
The team plummets into the bottom half of the log and Austin's bonus system falls away. Tiger's catering consortium tender fails and his money is locked to the investment. With Tiger in financial freefall, Sizwe makes his move, offering to buy shares in the team.
After much soul searching, Tiger signs over 21% of the team to Sizwe, and the status quo "miraculously" improves: Mba's working visa is renewed, Zonke gets a suspended sentence and Loyiso's case is thrown out of court when it is discovered that Sonja lied about her age.
Nina falls pregnant. But she is fearful that S'khalo is the father. She ends her affair with S'khalo and tells King that the baby is his. The Sibiyas celebrate and Nina rejects S'khalo when he demands a DNA test. Angry, S'khalo sends King a videotape recording of him and Nina having sex.
Betrayed by his wife's infidelity, King forces Nina out of the Sibiya house and confronts S'khalo. A fight ensues and S'khalo stabs his father. King is rushed to hospital, and fights for his life.
Continuing right where Season 3 left off, Zone fm is officially launched with Sizwe taking centre stage. Through a special ritual, Popeye and Spinach do their bit to give the Tiger Boys luck.
An emotional Nandi confronts Nina about her regrets for keeping Nina's secret from King andtells Tiger that she refuses to attend the game.
On a quest to redeem himself, Tiger asks Sizwe about the letter Nandi received. To Tiger's surprise Sizwe makes an impromptu offer to the Tiger Boys before the game.
Mdu and Madi kindle a romantic flame. A nervous S'khalo sneaks into the Sibiya house to collect his possessions but when King finds him, a physical confrontation ends in tragedy.
Series exclusive to SABC1
Season 1 (52 episodes)
Premiere: 7 November 2005 | Finale: 20 November 2006 | Mondays, 20h30
Season 2 (52 episodes)
Premiere: 7 May 2007 | Finale: 28 April 2008 | Mondays, 20h30
Season 3 (104 episodes)
Premiere: 12 July 2010 | Finale: 6 July 2011 | Mondays and Wednesdays, 20h30
Season 4 (104 episodes)
Premiere: 13 July 2011 | Finale: 9 July 2012 | Mondays and Wednesdays, 20h30