Samsokolo is a South African television sitcom created by Mandla N and produced by Black Brain Pictures which tells the story of four township entrepreneurs, all tied together by the need to survive, trying to achieve what every business person in South Africa wants... to keep up with the Motsepes.
Meeting monthly expenses is a challenge for most people in Mzansi today. Taking this national theme of survival, Samsokolo sees our "do it for yourself" township entrepreneurs get themselves into all kinds ridiculous situations chasing after cash.
It's a story of four township entrepreneurs, all tied together by the need to survive, trying to achieve what every business person in South Africa today wants... to keep up with the Motsepes.
Bra Seputla wants to be like Patrice Motsepe - he believes his business is his ticket to the big time. In his mind his two taxis will lead to a whole fleet. But the only problem is that his taxis don't seem to be making as much money as they should be.
His wife Josephine is making a plan. As a lady of influence in Diepkloof, Soweto, she runs a number of stokvels and as the treasurer of the stokvels she uses the cash to run her under-carpet loan shark business, selling beauty products and renting out the backrooms.
Her husband's spending on expensive suits and name brand shoes wouldn't be so bad if her son, Tso, wasn't a skhothane.
In the backroom of Bra Seputla and Josephine's home live Dudu and Niko. They rent both backrooms - one to live in and the other to run Dudu's hair salon, Push Back Hair Salon.
Despite her lack of education, Dudu is in the process of building a hair empire. A self-taught stylist, she can do anything when it comes to hair. Her soon-to-be-official husband Niko drives one of Bra Seputla's taxis, until he can have enough money to buy his own, and when he runs into cash trouble, as he always does, Dudu is there to rescue him.
These four entrepreneurs live and work together with Josephine's son Tso. They get into interesting and hilarious situations just trying to make ends meet.
In the first episode: meet Josephine and Seputla Rannko. Seputla is celebrating finally buying his second taxi, but there's only one thing missing - a driver.
Josephine hires out the backrooms to Dudu and Niko, an almost married couple. Dudu, the self-proclaimed queen of hair, negotiates her way to owning her own salon but Josephine drives a hard bargain.
Watch as the comedy unfolds as they all struggle to make a living and reach for their dreams to keep up with the Motsepes.
The title of the series, Samsokolo, means "We are in this together/we are all trying to make ends meet". It can also be interpreted as "Bietjie, bietjie maak meer" or "A man maak a plan".
The phrase "Samsokolo" was made popular by the kwaito artist Thebe. It sums up the world of the characters and the reality of the majority of the people of Mzansi.
Based on a brainstorming session between Mandla N and Tumi Masemola of Black Brain Pictures, the series head writer is Nkuli Sibeko-Botman, the director is Mandla N and executive producers are Tumi Masemola, Mandla N and TT Mbha.
Bra Seputla Rannko (Jerry Phele)
A Sesotho, tsotsi-taal speaking man in his late 40's. Bra Seputla is the proud owner of a taxi business. He owns two taxis but this is just the beginning of his empire, soon he will own an entire fleet.
He also has two backrooms in his yard, which he rents out. Bra Seputla is a lover of fashion and believes he is untouchable when it comes to style. He expects a compliment about how well he is dressed every time he walks into a room, and is always surprised or disappointed if one doesn't come.
Rather than saving cash to buy more taxis, he spends it on looking good as he believes that looking good is the key to success.
It doesn't help that his one driver is always coming up short, and that the other taxi is constantly at the mechanic. He is insecure about his position as boss, and avoids confrontation at all costs.
He loves his wife dearly and aims to always please her, living in her home would be bliss if only his step son (his wife's son) would respect him.
Bra Seputla is a compulsive people pleaser, using money to buy acceptance. He often hosts his taxi owning colleagues in order to buy their respect. He spends so much money on his image and hosting, he hardly has any left to invest into his business ambitions.
Ma Josephine Rannko (Linda Sebezo)
Attractive, Zulu-speaking lady in her 40's. Josephine runs a number of stokvels, sells beauty products (ala Avon lady) and collects rental from the backroom tenants. Being the treasurer of the stokvels and of the household monies, she is able to operate another business - being an underground loan shark.
Josephine is an extrovert, everyone knows her and she knows everyone. She is very competitive and will not be outdone, especially when it comes to her home. She is a show-off and a trendsetting know-it-all.
She takes credit for introducing all trends and fashions to her area and will attack like a tenacious dog if she doesn't get the credit that she feels is due to her.
She has a son from a previous relationship, Tso, whom she adores and spoils rotten. Tso is the apple of her eye and in her eyes, he can do no wrong.
She will not be outdone, and will go to any lengths to make others believe she is wealthy, though she struggles as much as they do. She spends so much energy, time and money on competing with everyone in the neighbourhood that there is a never-ending hole in her pocket and mind.
At the end of it all she's left with very little resources to grow her business.
Abedniko "Niko" Manamela (Mpho Osei-Tutu)
A farm boy from Lesotho, in his 30's, Niko is a taxi driver working for Bra Seputla. He also rents out the backroom with his soon-to-be common law wife, Dudu. He may be a taxi driver now, but soon he will have enough money to buy the taxi from Seputla and have financial independence.
He is a true people's person and a very gentle soul and believes that he could make a great psychologist someday. He always seeks to believe the best of everyone and is therefore inherently gullible.
Being a closet psychologist he seeks to try to solve the problems of his commuters. He is in Joburg to make his fortune so he can eventually retire and return home and buy a cattle farm.
He is currently saving up to pay lobola for his Dudu, he has made a R110 deposit and just needs to come up the rest. He is a kind and doting "husband" and is very proud of his Dudu.
His concern to solve people's problems make him a terrible taxi driver, as he is more interested in the conversation than getting to the destination quickly. He often goes off route helping people and hardly ever meets his financial target.
Duduzile "Dudu" Radebe (Nomsa Buthelezi)
Voluptuous Zulu girl and common-wife to Niko, late 20's. Dudu owns and works at Push Back Hair Salon.
She is a self-taught hair stylist who worked her way from sweeping the floors in hair salons to the top stylist and then after her unfair dismissal, she finally opened her own hair salon and is very happy to be her own boss with no one telling her what to do, except maybe her landlord, Josephine.
She is loud and robust, and like her husband, loves people. She has a bubbly personality and is the friendly neighbourhood gossip. She is a dedicated, hard worker and expects the same of her staff.
She worked herself out of rural KZN with dreams of riches and plans never to go back. Even though she didn't go to hair salon school there is no trend or hair style she cannot do.
Dudu is a proud and boastful wife, who often lies to elevate her husband's status. She had dreams of marrying a wealthy man but "you can't help who you love". She often uses her salon money to fund Niko when he doesn't make his quota.
Her ambition exceeds her talent and often finds herself in situations where she has to fulfill a promise she cannot. Dudu is in love with Niko who often needs financial rescuing, which leaves her unable to up skill and grow her business.
Kgomotso Mapaila, aka Tso (Manqoba Mathunjwa)
A 21yr old, Zulu speaking varsity student, Tso is Josephine's spoilt son. He is a mommy's boy and gets everything he wants from his mother. He has big ambitions and dreams of being a famous dancer, but has to attend varsity in the meantime.
He is the leader of a dance group "Ultravella" and a proud member of the skhothane movement. He has a tumultuous relationship with his stepfather, Bra Seputla. They argue fiercely about most things especially fashion and style.
Pule (Jabu Mahlangu)
A has-been soccer star in his late 30's, Kasi Zulu and Sotho speaking. He was a soccer star but his drinking put an end to his career.
Now he works as a hair stylist and shampoo boy at Push Back Salon and is constantly reminiscing about his glory days and what could have been and always speaks soccer lingo.
He uses the hair salon and his mean hair styling skills to pick up and flirt with customers. This plan would be great if only his cousin Mariam didn't make her crush towards him public.
Mariam (Tumi Masemola)
A ghetto bimbo in her mid 20's, Kasi Tswana speaking Mariam is a cleaner and Dudu's project at Push Back Salon.
She was unable to go to college due to financial circumstances and has been working and learning at the salon for years but has no talent for hair or styling is constantly messing things up.
For extra cash, Mariam also works for Dudu's landlord Josephine. Mariam is very slow with bad time management and this creates a lot of tension between her two bosses, but she is very cheap and good company so they keep her.
Spitjo (Luckyboy Mtshali)
A stumpy Zulu taxi marshal in his late 40's. A small package with a whole lot of attitude, Spitjo suffers from short man syndrome and believes the taxi rank is his own personal kingdom, which he rules with an iron fist.
He believes he could have been a rap star if he had the opportunity, so now he tests his rhymes on anyone who will listen.
Mzi (Bongani Madondo)
Zulu and tsotsi-taal speaking man early 20's. For the 5th year running Mzi is still trying to get his matric, after failing time and again.
He hangs out at the taxi rank in the morning and every afternoon after school, and refuses to be a high school dropout even though school is not his talent. A true hustler he attempts to make people do his homework for him, all the while coming up with money making schemes.
He realises that Niko has a soft spot and often gets him into trouble with his schemes. Niko has in turn taken it upon himself to steer Mzi on the right path as he believes Mzi is just misunderstood.
Mkhozi (Veronica Molapo)
Large Sepedi know-it-all woman. Mkhozi hustles as a roadside hawker, selling her wares at the rank; she sees it all and often shares surprising pearls of wisdom.
She has a huge crush on Niko and Mzi takes advantage of this, promising her Niko's affections in return for freebees.
Charlie (Amos "Castro" Mogola)
Zulu and Tsotsi taal speaking polygamist, 40's. Taxi owner and friend of Seputla, Charlie inherited 25 taxis from his father and 23 from his grandfather. He is always advising Seputla on how to handle his stepson and business.
A proud polygamist, Charlie is a big believer in muthi and ancestors and always travels with Mosotho sangoma, so he can confuse the Zulu muti.
Nyamazana (Mothusi Chebeletsane)
Sesotho traditional healer in his 50's. He is Charlie's loyal side-kick, an inyanga who is full of plans and solutions for every problem, real or imagined. There is nothing his muthi can't fix.
Pravesh (Keith Gengadoo)
Local Spaza shop owner, late 30's. Pravesh owns the spaza next door. He is very aware of his Bangladesh roots but tries very hard to fit into his new home, learning the local languages and trends while asserting his rights.