City Ses'la is a South African television sitcom created by Meren Reddy and Luke Rous, adapted from an original concept by Devon Brough and produced by Black Brain Pictures and Endemol, that follows the lives of six 20-somethings from completely different backgrounds, living and loving together in Jozi.
The youth of South Africa have been driving around with the hand brake pulled up in the car of their lives for far too long. They don't know where they're going and they don't know how to get there.
All the pressures of family tradition, 11 official languages, Lobola payments, overbearing parents and arranged marriages have got the better of them.
So imagine six 20-something's from five completely different backgrounds living in a trendy loft apartment in the concrete jungle of Johannesburg, where you have to strive for your dreams, and cling to your friends.
Coupled with the day to day problems of giving their cultures the respect they deserve, as well as pay rent, date dodgy people, find the one, fall in love, evolve technologically, have Sunday braai's, and generally be proudly South African - if they knew what that meant in the first place - they also have to stand out from the crowd, stamp their identity and say:
"Jo'burg - this is who we are. Sithi ses'la – we have arrived!" The title of the show is derived from the Xhosa phrase "Sithi ses'la", meaning "We have arrived!"
In the first season the role of Phumzile was played by Busi Lurayi. She was replaced for Season 2 by Thuli Tabethe.
The sitcom was only picked up by SABC1 after the members of Black Brain Pictures, fresh out of university, coughed up their own cash to fund a bare bones pilot which they wrote, produced, directed, edited and acted in themselves.
The cast members were already good friends before the sitcom was ever made. Their on-screen relationships are based in part on the genuine chemistry and fun they share as real life friends with one another.
City Ses'la was written by Joshua Rous, Luke Rous, Meren Reddy and Greig Coetzee and directed by Joshua Rous and Johnny Barbuzano. The theme was composed by Bruce Williams, Mighty Music Africa and Gang of Instrumentals. The executive producer was Marie Rosholt.
The first season of the show was nominated for more awards than any other show - 14 - at the inaugural SAFTA Awards(http://www.tvsa.co.za/mastershowinfo.asp?mastershowid=978) in October 2006. It won five of those awards:
Best TV Comedy
Best Supporting Actress in a TV Comedy - Busi Lurayi
Best Ensemble Cast in a TV Comedy
Best Writer/Writing Team in a TV Comedy - Greig Coetzee and Team
Best Music in a TV Comedy
The show received eight nominations at the 2007 SAFTAs and won two: Best Writer/Writing Team in a TV Comedy and Best Music in a TV Comedy.
In 2008 it once again received eight nominations, this time winning six awards:
Best Supporting Actor (Owen Swanson)
Best Supporting Actress (Nkuli Sibeko)
Best Actor (Meren Reddy)
Best Actress (Thuli Tabethe)
Best Director (Joshua Rous)
The series originally aired on SABC1 from 2 November, 2005 to 7 January, 2011. There are 91 half-hour episodes in four seasons.