Lithapo (a Sesotho word meaning The Ties that Bind Us) is a South African telenovela about Nolo, a young man from QwaQwa in search of his biological father in the city.
Through his journey he navigates romance and revenge, while smashing the patriarchy within toxic masculinity, in the midst of post-Apartheid protest.
His journey takes him through the corrupt world of urban property development, whilst exploring the complex lives of the ordinary working class people in Alex, as well as affluent Sandton moguls, all caught in the middle of an inevitable dawning of change.
After his mother's sudden death at the hands of cattle thieves, Nolo comes to learn of his mother's secrets that she had hoped to take to her grave, about the lover that had left her behind.
He takes off on a journey to find the man he never knew as his father - a successful city slicker who wanted nothing to do with him.
Nolo's journey through Lithapo then becomes a tale of two cities: Sandton vs. Alex, where there is mayhem in the streets, and angry residents protesting the shocking levels of service delivery in the township.
They have all reached a boiling point because of a child that drowned in a pit toilet.
Bins are overturned... street vendors scatter... when a taxi lands in the midst of this chaos as Nolo arrives - far away from his rural homestead, determined not to get distracted by the big city lights.
Meanwhile, 'across the road' but a world away in Sandton, lives the Hlongwane family. Their lives are the opposite of his, but their destinies are intertwined.
A love triangle develops when he falls in love with Pabi, a young woman who also becomes involved with the head of the Hlongwane family.
The passions between Pabi and Nolo are thwarted from the start, but when he finds out that everything he believed about his life had been a lie, Nolo must choose between father and mother, loyalty and love, good and evil – all against the backdrop of a tumultuous country that, like him, is trying to redefine its identity.
Although these worlds exist within a stone's throw of each other across a controversial bridge, they are fundamentally worlds apart, as powerful metaphors for South Africa's growing chasm between the haves and the have-nots.
The chilling fog on the foothills of the Drakensburg mountains in QwaQwa symbolically becomes seamlessly woven into the congested smog of the city, as the ties that bind the world of all the interconnected characters together.
Lithapo is produced by Quizzical Pictures. Harriet Gavshon and JP Potgieter are the executive producers; the producer is Siphiwe Hlabangane. The head writer is Neil McCarthy and storyliners include Thishiwe Ziqubu, Nas Hoosen and Magano Mamabolo.
The title sequence music is by Robert of Mahlomola Recording.