Gaz'lam is a South African educational drama television series created by Barry Berk, Peter Esterhuysen and Lauren Segal from an idea by Ngaire Blankenberg, S'bu Nxumalo and Clarence Hamilton and produced by Ochre Moving Pictures which explores love, sex and relationships, with recurring themes of male and female identities and expectations, sexual negotiations and betrayal and conflict between "tradition" and modernity, against a backdrop of HIV/AIDS.
The series originally aired on SABC1 from 3 October, 2002 to 5 August, 2005. There are 52 half-hour episodes in four seasons. See "Seasons" below for seasonal broadcast dates and times.
Season 3 originally aired on SABC1 from 18 February to 13 May, 2005, on Fridays at 20h30. New episodes broadcast weekly.
A rebroadcast of Season 3 premiered on SABC1 on Thursday 17 October 2013, at 22h00. New episodes broadcast in a double bill, weekly. There are 13 episodes in the third season.
The third season story focuses on Sifiso's spiritual journey as he finds himself headed on the path to self-destruction through alcohol and drugs.
He loses his career, his family, his friends and his soul and faces his ancestors who tell him that his destiny is to become a sangoma so that he can heal people, Khetiwe in particular.
He doesn't understand this at first and only through various trials and tribulations discovers what he needs to do to realise the prophecy.
As he battles to find who he really is Sifiso believes that he's taking a journey that takes him away from Khetiwe. His love for her was firmly established in the first two seasons of the show and in this season he thinks he's moving further away from her - when in fact the path he's taking is the only one that will allow them to be together.
Spiritual Growth & Redemption
We can only find true happiness when we have learned to be true to ourselves.
The spiritual path that Sifiso embarks on is a long journey and one he is not even aware of in the beginning. His desire for fame and success, coupled with the emptiness in his heart following the rejection from Khetiwe, leads him down a dark path of self-destruction in the form of drugs and alcohol.
Sifiso becomes tortured by his own actions and by the visions he experiences as part of his spiritual calling. By gradually becoming self-aware, Sifiso is able to embark on the spiritual path, moving from self-acceptance and forgiveness, to self-love, and eventually unconditional love for others.
This journey is mirrored by Khetiwe's own experiences with Vic and her choice to have an abortion, Thuli and Jerome's journeys and subsequent relationship, and Portia’s journey to motherhood.
Love can only exist with compassion and forgiveness for ourselves and for others.
Both Sifiso and Khetiwe have hurt each other in the past: Sifiso through his betrayal with Lerato and his seduction in Season 2, Khetiwe through her aborting Sifiso's child in Season 3.
Although Sifiso and Khetiwe know they love each other deep down in their hearts, they must first accept and forgive themselves for their past mistakes, then find the compassion to forgive the other for causing so much pain.
Only then will they be able to unconditionally express the love they feel for each other. This theme is mirrored within Thuli and Jerome's relationship.
Children can be our greatest teachers when it comes to being true to ourselves and learning how to love.
Jerome discovers more about himself through his interactions with Msizi than after 6 months in rehab. Equally, Thuli is challenged to find what it is she truly needs in her life because of her son.
Even though Sifiso and Khetiwe don't actually become parents yet, their unborn child is the teacher and catalyst for their own spiritual paths. This theme is strongly mirrored through Portia's journey to become a mother.
About the Show
The show uses modern mythology to transport viewers into the worlds of the living, the dead, and the in-between. The guide through these worlds is the spirit of GP, a ghost who serves as the story's narrator.
He relates Sifiso's story as a cautionary tale and with a message of hope: that it is never too late for us to make the right choice and make a change in our lives.
While the first two seasons deal with the sacrifices, compromises and problems associated with trying to make relationships work, Seasons 3 and 4 also look at the relationship with oneself, with particular attention to the concept of love.
What is love, in all of its manifestations? Love for self, love for others, conditional love, unconditional love, healthy and unhealthy love.
Does someone make a choice to love someone? If so or not, what choices does a character make out of or for love?
Central to the storyline are the recurring themes of male and female identities and expectations; sexual negotiations and betrayal; conflict between "tradition" and modernity; the maturation of love and the consequences of the choices we make, all set against a backdrop of South Africa’s HIV/Aids pandemic.
The tagline for the series is "Love, sex, and relationships in the new South Africa." Gaz'lam means "blood that binds" or "brotherhood".
The first episode of the series was dedicated to the memory of series star Sipho Mzobe, who was murdered in July 2002, months before the series was broadcast.
Series Producer and Head Writer
Indra de Lanerolle
Alex Yazbek (26 episodes, 2003-2005)
Barry Berk (13 episodes, 2002)
Bronwyn Berry (7 episodes, 2005)
Hlomla Dandala (6 episodes, 2005)
Charlie Sapadin (28 episodes, 2003-2005)
Barry Berk (13 episodes, 2002)
Neil McCarthy (13 episodes, 2003-2004)
Bongi Ndaba (4 episodes, 2005)
Craig Freimond (3 episodes, 2003)
Stephen Simm (3 episodes, 2005)
Nick Warren (3 episodes, 2005)
Alex Yazbek (3 episodes, 2005)
Series exclusive to SABC1. Rebroadcast dates included.
Season 1 (13 episodes)
Premiere: 3 October 2002 | Finale: 26 December 2002 | Thursdays, 20h30
Premiere: 4 April 2013 | Finale: 18 July 2013 | Thursdays, 22h00
Season 2 (13 episodes)
Premiere: 10 October 2003 | Finale: 2 January 2004 | Fridays, 20h30
Premiere: 25 July 2013 | Finale: 10 October 2013 | Thursdays, 22h00
Season 3 (13 episodes)
Premiere: 18 February 2005 | Finale: 13 May 2005 | Fridays, 20h30
Premiere: 17 October 2013 | Finale: 28 November 2013 | Thursdays, 22h00
Season 4 (13 episodes)
Premiere: 20 May 2005 | Finale: 5 August 2005 | Fridays, 20h30
Premiere: 28 November 2013 | Finale: 9 January 2014 | Thursdays, 22h00