Shaka iLembe

Genres: Drama, Period Drama
Broadcast on: Mzansi Magic, Mzansi Wethu



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Broadcaster information
South African channels

Mzansi Magic : 18 Jun 2023 - 03 Sep 2023
Mzansi Wethu : 15 Dec 2023 - 01 Mar 2024

About the Show

Shaka iLembe is a South African period drama television series set in the 1700s, which tells the story of the making of the iconic African king, with iterations from his early childhood through to adulthood.

It is a re-telling of the story of King Shaka kaSenzangakhona.

Filmed in isiZulu, the series tells the origin story of the famous Zulu King and the events that shaped his remarkable life.

While the series is an entertainment title and a fictional interpretation of historical events, the producers have taken care to ensure that Nguni culture is authentically portrayed and respected.

The production was six years in the making and consulted historians, academics and family descendants, including the late King Goodwill Zwelithini and Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

Striking a balance between historical authenticity and drama is crucial to the plot.

The two key actors playing Shaka are Lemogang Tsipa (adult king) and newcomer Ntando Zondi (boy king).

The cast includes Nomzamo Mbatha, who plays Queen Nandi, the revered mother of Shaka; with Thembinkosi Mthembu starring as King Dingiswayo and Wiseman Mncube in the role of King Zwide.

Shaka iLembe is an Mzansi Magic Original Production, produced by Bomb.

The series was created by Angus Gibson, Mpumelelo Grootboom, Desireé Markgraaff, Jacob Ntshangase and Catherine Stewart.

Angus Gibson, Desireé Markgraaff, Nomzamo Mbatha and Nhlanhla Mtaka are the executive producers; Gibson is the director.

The co-producers are Maqubool Mahomed, Shelli Miller, Suzanna Ward and Bongumusa Zungu.

The story is by Daniel Zimbler, Mpumelelo Grootboom, Andrew Petersen, Jacob Ntshangase, Steve Pillemer, Benedict Carton, Thishiwe Ziqubu and Angus Gibson.

The music composer is Philip Miller.

Main Characters

Young Shaka (played by Ntando Zondi)


Adult Shaka (played by Lemogang Tsipa)

Son of Queen Nandi and Zulu King Senzangakhona kaJama.

Shaka and his mother were outcasts who endured hardships which shaped him to become a legendary leader and warrior.

His story of unwavering determination and unbreakable will is a testament to the power of the human spirit.

He went on to conquer and unify many kingdoms to build the Zulu nation and left an indelible mark on African history that continues to fascinate people around the world.

Queen Nandi (played by Nomzamo Mbatha)

Daughter of King Mbengi of the Langeni and Queen Mfunda, Nandi was a woman ahead of her time.

Beautiful and bold, she defied societal norms and chose to chart her own path.

Mother of Shaka kaSenzangakhona, who despite enduring many hardships nurtured and guided him to become a legendary leader, instilling in him the strength, love, and bravery that defined his reign.

Queen Nandi remains a revered African icon.

Senzangakhona (played by Senzo Radebe)

Son of King Jama and Queen Mthaniya.

Senzangakhona kaJama, became king of the Zulus and father to Shaka.

He was a charismatic leader who was also known for his dashing looks.

Despite his disappointment at not being the great leader the Sanusi's foretold, from his seed came the greatest Zulu king and many thereafter that continued to unite and lead the Zulu Nation long after his reign.

Mkabayi (played by Dawn Thandeka King)

Princess Mkabayi kaJama, daughter of King Jama and sister to King Senzangakhona kaJama.

Mkabayi was a kingmaker and visionary who played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Zulu Nation.

Her commitment to her people and the vision of her ancestors and her unparalleled strategic thinking make her a true icon in Zulu history.

Dingiswayo (played by Thembinkosi Mthembu)

Son of King Jobe of the Mthethwa.

Formerly known as Godongwana, who fled into exile and against great odds returned as Dingiswayo and ascended to the throne of the mighty Mthethwa.

King Dingiswayo was an inspirational leader, gifted strategist and skilled warrior known for his military prowess, wise counsel, and ability for diplomacy.

He became a key mentor to Shaka and helped shape him into a great warrior and lauded leader.

Baleka (played by Hope Mbhele)

Baleka (fictional) was a healer for the Mthethwa King Jobe and later King Makhasana of the Mabhudu.

A passionate healer, she was a young scientist.

Filled with determination and fierce independence, she dedicated her life to healing and the direction of the ancestors, bringing comfort to those in need.

She believed in the importance of pursuing her own dreams and aspirations, regardless of societal expectations.

Zwide (played by Wiseman Mncube)

Zwide, son of the feared Queen Ntombazi and King Langa.

He was a shrewd and dangerous warrior who out-maneuvered his adversaries with deft strategy and ruthlessness.

He shared his mother's ambitions to build an empire and was fiercely committed to protecting and providing for his people.

Queen Ntombazi (played by Khabonina Qubeka)

Queen Ntombazi, mother of the great Ndwandwe King Zwide kaLanga, was a powerful and enigmatic force in her own right.

Revered by some as a mystical and wise leader, and feared by others as a witch, she had dreams of building an empire and utilised her formidable intellect and cunning to fight for the prosperity of her people.

Queen Mthaniya (played by Sthandiwe Kgoroge)

Wife to King Jama, mother to King Senzangakhona.

Queen Mthaniya is strong, dignified, and strategic.

She becomes regent for some time after her husband dies and before her son becomes king.

Mthaniya is a nurturer to both her son Senzangakhona and later her grandson Shaka.



Senzangakhona (as Senzokuhle Radebe)


Queen Mthaniya



Mawewe (as Wanda Blaq Zuma)

Jobe (as Hamilton Dhlamini)

Queen Ntombazi




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