Matatiele is a South African television drama series which is a present day love story set against the backdrop of a long-standing family feud between the Sangqus, a Xhosa family and the Sotho Monaheng family, who have been at loggerheads as far back as the iMfecane warfare in the 1800s among indigenous ethnic communities.
Nontle Sangqu and Lefa Monaheng meet and fall in love. Their forbidden love affair plays out against the backdrop of the cascading hills and deep valleys of Matatiele, a place cloaked in secrecy.
The drama is set and shot in Matatiele, affectionately known as Sweet Matat, in the Eastern Cape, a mere 30km from Lesotho with three border posts and steep mountain passes.
Matatiele stars Solomon Sebothoma, newcomer Zimkitha Kumbaca, Motshabi Tyelele, Charmaine Mtinta, Mike Mvelase, Thobani Mseleni, Mothusi Chebeletsane, Amanda Quwe and Khulu Skenjana.
The drama is the first production under Branded Soul, a company owned by director Rolie Nikiwe, who is also one of the directors of Matatiele alongside Zuko Nodada. Both Nikiwe and Nodada are Eastern Cape-born.
A collaborative initiative by e.tv and Branded Soul saw a selection and workshop of 10 aspirant young people from the villages and township in Matatiele to work as interns within various units that include camera, lighting, grips, art as well as members of supporting cast and extras.
The production also sources the majority from the local community which has ensured an economic contribution to the villages of Matatiele.
Matatiele is set in the semi-town serving the farming and trading communities in the foothills of the western Drakensberg and the Maluti Mountains of Lesotho.
The series is produced by Khobi Ledwaba and directed by Rolie Nikiwe. The music composer was Brendan Jury and the executive producer for e.tv Luxury Msiza. The series is produced by Branded Soul.
Matatiele: Derived from the Sotho words "matata" (wild ducks) and "ile" (are gone). The show is in Xhosa and Sotho with English subtitles.
Zimkitha Kumbaca plays Nontle Sanqu
Nontle is a headstrong rabble rouser who is free-spirited and determined. Not a typical stereotypical girl. She has unresolved issues with a dad that abandoned the family and has her mother to take it out on.
She abhors judgement against her mother and does not respect her decision to stay "ebukhweni" instead of leaving. She has a passion for horses and works at a nearby stable.
Solomon Sebothoma plays Lefa Monaheng
Lefa is masculine, dependable and an amazing sketch artist. He has hopes of one day becoming a professional selling artist. He is also a good horse-rider and enjoys competing.
He takes care of his household, their crops and stock while his father is away at the mines. While he's averse to his mother's "keeping up appearances", he is a little protective of her and at times amused by it.
Thobani Mseleni plays Bhonyongo Sangqu
Bhonyongo is Nontle's older brother, who is all brawn and no brain. There's a sibling rivalry between him and Nontle but he is very proud of her and speaks well of her at any given opportunity.
He resents his father for leaving and is protective of his mom and sister. He sees himself as the new head of the household having to fill his absent father's shoes. He understands his role to take over the baton in being a custodian of history... he is pure brutal force.
Charmaine Mtinta plays Norain Sangqu
Norain is Nontle's loud, opinionated aunt who shoots before she thinks. She is always the cause of conflict as she stands up for what she deems to be right. Although she is seen as a sore spot in the family, everyone has a soft spot for her and "call upon her craziness" in times of need...because she is fearless.
She becomes an ally to Nontle, heightening the already strained relationship between mother and daughter.
Motshabi Tyelele plays Beauty Monaheng
Au's Beauty is Lefa's mother and was a beauty queen in her day. She reminds everyone and anyone unfortunate enough to be within earshot. She brags about her beauty, possessions and husband.
Although she may be aware of the dip in their living standards, she will do anything to cover it up and keep up a façade. Because of this she has accumulated a lot of debt and when no one is looking she would have a meltdown before sprucing herself up again and plastering a smile for the world to envy.
Season 1 Cast
(scroll to bottom for available actor bios)
Solomon Sebothoma ... Lefa Monaheng
Zimkitha Kumbaca ... Nontle Sanqu
Recurring / Guests
Motshabi Tyelele ... Aus'Beauty Monaheng
Thobani Mseleni ... Bhonyongo Sangqu
Charmaine Mtinta ... Norain Sangqu
Mothusi Chebeletsane ... Lekunutu
Sello Motloung ... Motsamai Monaheng
Amanda Quwe ... Nobusika Sangqu
Mike Mvelase ... Mfundisi
Khulu Skenjana ... Construction Guy
Mlamli Mangcala ... Ntsumpa
Felicia Mahambehlala ... Diviner
Zwelakhe Mtsaka ... Mbijana Sangqu
Vika Mnatha ... Ta-Rich
Pinkie Makumela ... Mme Kobedi
Papi Rantakoana ... Shop Owner
Mveleli Lujabe ... Tycoon
Masenile Moeti ... Vel
Medile Kheka ... Neighbour
Siphindile Wataza ... Shepard 1
Ntai Benedict Lempe ... Shepard 2
Masabata Seeamane ... Neighbour
Songe Spengana ... Sangoma
Sebusi Thobana ... Mashumi
Zuko Nodada ... Ntate Piliso
Manthabiseng Makatile ... Sotho Aunt
Mamohlabi Mokoena ... Sotho Aunt / Aunt 2
Libuseng Mokoena ... Mme Mohau / Aunt 1
Mathalo Tsiu ... Xhosa Aunty
Siyasanga Copa ... Xhosa Aunty
Mohlapi Mokoena ... Xhosa Aunty
Makhabu Mapena ... Worker
Kodwa Luphelo ... Doctor
Nadine Mpongwane ... Nurse
Nonzukiso Mswenyama ... Nurse
Moses Magubele ... Uncle 1
Jack Lebohang Lefelo ... Uncle 2
Mpilwenhle Mngadi ... Boy
Simon Moshesh ... Bab' Sam
Itshepeleng Mohou ... Renate
Libuseng Mokoena ... Mme Kobedi
Mbongeni Tyabule ... Boss / Maximum
Rekopile Belebise ... Yondela
Thulisile Zondi ... Rakgadi
Vuyisile Rozan ... Tavern Patron
Thanduxolo Nogenga ... Tavern Doorman
Ntokozo Theko ... Kgothadi
Noma-India Mpani ... Comrade 1
Nkululeko Zililo ... Lwanda
Teboho Mongoato ... Chief
Vumani Linqa ... Comrade 2
Nthabiseng Mokwena ... Chief's Wife
Ncomeko Nonsika ... Vote Official
James Hlalele ... Mob Announcer
Matsekiso Letula ... Mawawa
Noel Letuka ... Prophet
Sange Spangane ... Sangoma
Tebogo Mongoato ... Chief Mpinda
Mayibongwe Mhlonyane ... Chief Lisithi
Tsiliso Modise ... Chief Motse
Mpilwenhle Mngadi ... Boy
Jabulani Thabethe ... Criminal
The series premiered on eKasi+ on Saturday 18 April 2015, at 19h30, beginning with Episode 2. Episode 1 did not air on the channel until the series repeated in November 2015.