Fallen is a South Africa television drama series produced by Sugarland Pictures about a young music producer who inherits his father's Durban business empire and is faced with the challenge of uncovering the mystery of his mother and grandfather's disappearance twenty years earlier.
The series originally aired on SABC1 from 7 July to 29 September, 2011. It later aired on SABC3. See "Seasons" below for seasonal broadcast dates and times.
The series originally aired on SABC1 from 7 July to 29 September, 2011, on Thursdays at 20h30. New episodes broadcast weekly.
Fallen later aired on SABC3 from 3 October to 26 December, 2012, on Wednesdays at 21h00. New episodes broadcast weekly. There are 13 episodes in one season.
When Mvelo Nobela (Yonda Thomas), a young music producer, inherits his father's Durban business empire he is faced with the challenge of uncovering the mystery of his mother and grandfather's disappearance twenty years earlier.
It takes him into the world of Rana-Churchill, a privately owned sugar mill, where there is already conflict between the younger and older generations of its owners. He forms an alliance with Anil Rana (Joquin Pillay), son of one of the owners.
The ensuing power struggle is intensified and turns vicious when the digging of foundations for a new mill uncovers human remains - later to be identified as Mvelo's mother and grandfather.
By the end of the series Mvelo has found love and a new maturity and closure regarding the death of his mother and grandfather. He has experienced that justice comes at a price; for justice to win good men have to be prepared to lose all.
Fallen presents worlds in conflict. On the one hand, the established world of old money, privilege and power represented by Rana-Churchill, private owners of a sugar mill and the cane fields that surround it. On the other, that of Mvelo Nobela, youthful heir to the Durban business empire of his late father.
Mvelo is a hip, urban, up-and-coming music producer. It is his style and energy that sets much of the tone and defines the visual approach and sound design of the story, as he takes on the establishment and seeks to overthrow it.
In the story, upmarket Durban and rural KZN become characters themselves. Mvelo's club, Anil's yacht, and the big city bustle are contrasted with the lush green opulence of Rana-Churchill and the elegant homes of its owners.
A further element is the noise and dust of the mill that never sleeps and relentlessly occupies over three hundred workers, many of whom live in a nearby township.
This setting is part of the rich masala that makes up the uniquely South African world of Fallen.
Mvelo Nobela (27)
Mvelo Nobela, played by Yonda Thomas, is an up-and-coming music producer, who runs a popular music venue in Durban harbour. Mvelo's recent success was hard-earned because he grew up without much money.
He was born in Durban but spent most of his youth in the Eastern Cape with his grandmother, who took him there after his grandfather and mother's disappearance 20 years ago.
With a nose for talent and popular culture, his dream has always been to become a top music producer and to set up his own recording studio.
However, early on in the series his father's death and an unexpected revelation about his mother and grandfather's disappearance forces him to move into the business world; the sugar business, more specifically.
Mvelo is driven, dynamic, believes in himself and grasps things quickly – all qualities that stand him in good stead in his bid to take over Rana-Churchill, a privately owned sugar company, to avenge his grandfather and mother's deaths.
He can also turn on the boyish charm so people tend to underestimate him; he is steely when pushed. Psychologically, he is troubled by a double blow in his youth; his father's desertion of him and his mother and his mother and grandfather's disappearance a few years later.
He feels deep resentment for his father and never quite got over the loss of his mother.
Lindiwe Ntuli (27)
Lindiwe Ntuli, played by Mbali Ntuli, is a journalist and has the confident good looks that intelligence often brings. After studying journalism at Rhodes she worked on several papers but is successful enough to freelance when we meet her.
She has an insatiable curiosity about people and their motives. She would have been a good detective but she dislikes hierarchies. She actually joined the police for a year and wrote a warts-and-all expose of life in a rural police station.
She wants to see justice done and injustice exposed – it is what drives her and why she is a journalist. She knows justice often comes at a price and believes that if necessary one should pay the price.
She is the moral centre of the story – the compass that helps keep Mvelo's life on course. She's insightful, can read people easily and has a shrewd and quick understanding of their motives.
But she is scared to open up emotionally and is used to keep men at a distance; something she finds increasingly difficult when it comes to Mvelo because of the strong attraction between them.
Cindi Shabangu (21)
Cindi, played by Gabisile Tshabalala, is a sexy, good-looking, talented singer. She's a student studying music at Natal University and Mvelo's girlfriend at the start of the series.
All she wants is to be a pop star and she sees Mvelo as her passport to success. This does not mean that she doesn't love him – she does, in her own way. She wants him to take care of her – like the father she never had.
Her neediness makes her vulnerable and dooms her and Mvelo's relationship to failure. She's moody, somewhat unstable, narcissistic, self-involved and intense.
S'bu Majola (28)
Malusi Skenjana plays Mvelo's dependable, charming best friend and business manager. They met when they were teenagers and have both struggled before they made it in the music industry.
S'bu is passionate about music and good at what he does. He is a good listener and the person Mvelo turns to for support.
Mandi Mbalula (33)
Mandi, played by Xolile Tshabalala, was not only Mvelo's father's accountant and second in command at Nobela Holdings, but also his lover. She had always hoped to inherit Nobela Holdings from him and his leaving the company to Mvelo, is a rude shock to her.
She's an attractive and intelligent woman. Mandi will fight fairly for what she wants but if she can't get it by fair means, she will fight dirty. She thinks she is clever enough to outmanoeuvre anyone.
She felt powerless when her foster father raped her and she vowed in future she would have power over others; she would rather make others suffer than be vulnerable to anyone.
She will take what she wants no matter who she uses, hurts or wrongs in the process; with the exception of Anil Rana with whom she falls in love.
Anil cannot but help to notice Mandy but is too in love with Rachel Churchill to be open to her.
Xolani Mahlangu (68)
He is Mvelo's great uncle and is portrayed by Owen Sejake. Xolani is a well-known, dignified, conservative, wealthy local leader and businessman.
He appears to be magnanimous but as the story develops viewers might start to question whether what you see is what you get. What they will know is that he enjoys his power and that he knows how to get what he wants from those in his community.
Deborah Churchill (45)
Deborah, played by Jennifer Steyn, is the ruthless, powerful head of the Churchill family and the series' main antagonist.
Deborah obstructs justice to hold onto the Churchill name and legacy at all costs. She believes it is her right to do so and will sacrifice others, even those close to her, if necessary.
Deborah Churchill is not to be trifled with. She knows how to use her power and influence. Behind her snobbish façade lurks a brain as sharp and dangerous as a cane knife. She's attractive and has a definite sexuality, despite her age (45).
She has no sympathy for those who are weak and vacillating. However, when she needs to, she can also be charismatic and can be extremely charming. She knows how to win people over and to get them on her side. She's a subtle and experienced manipulator and negotiator.
There is something Deborah would not admit to anyone, because she has trouble admitting it to herself. Beneath her tough exterior, buried deep in her subconscious, Debora Churchill is desperately lonely.
She believes virtually everyone around her is only there for the money so she will not let anyone close to her, except her grandson, Timmy, who means the world to her.
Rachel Churchill (26)
Rachel, played by Claire Gordon-Webster, is the on-the-edge, provocative daughter of the Churchill family. For better or for worse, Rachel defies authority and convention.
She is not totally whole, partly because she's spent the greater part of her life subconsciously trying to escape her mother's authority as well as an inexplicable fear of her mother.
The story reveals that she is suppressing a memory of a traumatic event in her youth involving Deborah. Remembering the event helps her to discover who she really is.
She and Anil fall passionately in love but their relationship is impossibly complicated by Rachel's love for her son Timmy.
There are 13 hour-long episodes in one season
Channel: SABC1 | Premiere: 7 Jul 2011 | Finale: 29 Sep 2011 | Thursdays, 20h30
Channel: SABC3 | Premiere: 3 Oct 2012 | Finale: 26 Dec 2012 | Wednesdays, 21h00