Hopeville is a South African drama miniseries produced by Curious Pictures with the assistance of the Department of Trade and Industry which centres around Amos Manyani, a recovering alcoholic widower who arrives in the dusty town of Hopeville to try to start a new life for himself and his estranged son Themba.
The series is a co-production between SABC Education and the Heartlines initiative and aims to inspire South Africans to take action for good, challenging them to live out positive values in a way that will build people, families, communities and the nation.
Filmed in the Mpumalanga town of Waterval Boven, the story aims to inspire South Africans to take action for good and centres round Amos Manyani (Themba Ndaba), a recovering alcoholic widower who arrives in the dusty town of Hopeville to try to start a new life for himself and his estranged son Themba (Junior Singo).
To their dismay, instead of the fresh start they both crave, father and son discover a mean, morally adrift community where apathy, fear and suspicion are the order of the day.
Characters they meet include a corrupt, two-faced mayor (played by Desmond Dube), his illegal immigrant mistress (Terry Pheto), a bent cop (Fana Mokoena) and the town racist (Paul Lückhoff).
Completing their experience is a hardened, shady businessman, played by Jody Abrahams, Themba's aunt Flo (Leleti Khumalo) who is intent on gaining custody of her nephew and Amos' sobriety counselor Ma Dolly (Mary Twala).
Isadora Verwey, Wilmien Rossouw, Glen Gabela and Jonathan Pienaar also feature.
Against the backdrop of dirty dealings, dark secrets and apparent despair, Amos decides to restore the public swimming pool so that his son can pursue a swimming career.
Amos is met with scepticism and resistance from the town's authorities and inhabitants but thanks to his patience, determination and courage, his selfless act sends ripples through Hopeville, inspiring others to take action and do what they know is right.
Slowly, good ripples through Hopeville, transforming the town and residents for good.
Hopeville encourages "six weeks of values in action" in keeping with Heartlines' credo of helping people live their lives according to good values by going to the root of people's behaviour and addressing key social issues.
Heartlines, an NGO and SABC Education commissioned the series to inspire and empower South Africans to do good for change to happen.
The series challenges people irrespective of gender, age, religion or economic status to live out positive values in a way that will build people, families, communities and the nation.
Harriet Gavshon and Mariki van der Walt were the series producers, Garth Japhet and Zama Mkosi were the executive producers and John Trengove was the director and head writer.
The development team were Dimi Raphoto, Nick Boraine and Siphiwe Hlabangane and the series was written by Darrel Bristow-Bovey, Jacqui L'ange, John Trengrove, Libby Dougherty, Mpho Osei-Tutu, Neil McCarthy, Nick Boraine and Salah Sabiti. The story was created by Michele Rowe and Roger Smith.
The music is by Jahn Beukes and Riku Lätti. Director of Photography, Willie Nel, received a SAFTA nomination for best cinematography.
Hopeville was filmed in the picturesque town of Waterval Boven in Mpumalanga.
Art director Karel Flint visited more than 70 small towns throughout South Africa, driving more than 11,000 kilometres in his search for the perfect site to set the mini-series in, before arriving in Waterval Boven.
Character: Amos Manyani
Actor: Themba Ndaba
A recovering alcoholic who gets custody of his son, Themba following the death of Themba's mother, Gloria. When Amos takes Themba to Hopeville to take up his new job as parks and recreation manager he is faced with numerous challenges that he overcomes with courage and a belief in what is good.
Character: Patrick Gumede
Actor: Desmond Dube
The Mayor of Hopeville, a corrupt official who is planning to rezone the land where the swimming pool is into a liquor outlet.
Actor: Terry Pheto
An illegal immigrant hiding her true identity – she's Patrick's mistress, but has deepening feelings for Amos. Her character develops as the drama unfolds as she too stands by her values and courageously does what is right.
Character: Mogapi Khobane
Actor: Fana Mokoena
The corrupt town cop who submits to Mayor Patrick, but who learns to take responsibility for his actions as the drama unfolds. Through Khobane's son, Andile, we realise that Andile's bravado is merely a front as behind closed doors everything is not well at home, where domestic violence is always threatening to boil over.
Character: Felix Venter
Actor: Paul Lückhoff
Is perceived as the town racist. He lives in the past and has lost touch with his humanity and the thing that is most important: his son. Felix will learn to abandon the fear and anger that has governed his life and discover that he still has a contribution to make, for good.
Character: Themba Manyani
Actor: Junior Singo
Amos' son – whose refusal to reconcile with his father and grief for his mother leads him out of the house and into some unwholesome experiences with a local gang. But through Amos' perseveres and the courage of his convictions, Themba's hostility is replaced by a new found respect for his dad. By giving Amos a second chance, Themba wins a father.
Character: PJ Daniels
Actor: Jody Abrahams
Local shop owner, who is a hardened businessman happy to get involved in any shady deal for a quick buck.
Character: Flo Raphoto
Actor: Leleti Khumalo
Themba's aunt who protects Themba and his mother, Gloria, from Amos' drinking, and who continually tries to get custody of Themba – to ensure that he has all the opportunities he could have, even if this means losing his father.
Character: Ma Dolly
Actor: Mary Twala
Amos' sobriety counsellor, who is the only person in Hopeville looking after the numerous abandoned children in the township of Halala.
Actor: Isadora Verwey
Character: Denise Palmer
Actor: Wilmien Rossouw
Themba's school teacher, who stands by her values and principles – even if this means challenging her husband.
Character: Pastor Solomon
Actor: Glen Gabela
A council ward member who has to vote on whether the public pool will be rezoned to create the Hopeville Trust Discount Drive-Thru Liquor Mart.
Character: Fred Palmer
Actor: Jonathan Pienaar
Denise's husband, who owns the local bar. An ex-hippie who's easily swayed by others.
Actor: Ernest Grove
A mysterious figure who narrates throughout the story, weaving good and magical realism throughout.
Actor: Bubu Mazibuko
The abused wife of Khobane, the corrupt town cop.
Season 1 Cast
(scroll to bottom for available actor bios)
Themba Ndaba ... Amos Manyani
Junior Singo ... Themba Manyani
Desmond Dube ... Patrick Gumede
Terry Pheto ... Fikile
Fana Mokoena ... Mogapi Khoabane
Mary Twala ... Ma Dolly
Jonathan Pienaar ... Fred Palmer
Wilmien Rossouw ... Denise Palmer
Jody Abrahams ... PJ Daniels
Quincy Fynn ... Elvis
Kgosi Mongake ... Andile
Robert Broodryk ... Gerhard
Tshegofatso Khunou ... Bibi
and Paul Lückhoff ... Felix Venter
Recurring / Guests
Bubu Mazibuko ... Faniswa
Welile Tembe ... Bongeka
Leleti Khumalo ... Flo Raphoto
Jabu Tshabalala ... Gloria
Glen Gabela ... Pastor Solomon
Ernest Grove ... Cowboy
Brian Webber ... Voice of Cowboy
Blondie Maphanga ... Rufaro
Beatrice Mkhondzo ... Ma Hlenge
Dineo Moraba ... Gugu
Prince Mthinsi ... Mpho
Nhlanhla Hlabathi ... Siphiwe
Patrick Mthethwa ... Lindiwe
William Mazibuko ... Bra Zakes
Nonjwala Mazibuko ... Selina
Gerald van der Merwe ... Young Cowboy