The Coconuts is a South African television sitcom created by Andrew Timm and produced for M-Net Original Productions by ATTV which tells the story of a white family who transform into a black family after violating the burial grounds of an ancient tribe.
The title refers to the urban slang term used to describe black people who act "white" - it literally means black on the outside and white on the inside.
However, the Coconuts, in the case of this sitcom, are not 'white-acting' black people, but a family of white people - the Greenes - who become trapped in black bodies thanks to offending an old man and some ancestors of the little known Zulotho tribe of South Africa.
This happens after the patriarch of the family, Tom Greene, ignores the warnings of a mysterious old man not to park their holiday caravan in the tribe's old burial grounds.
The old man leaves them with the ominous warning that there will be "consequences" for their disrespect.
Then, during the night, the family turn black. It's a radical role reversal for a normal middle class white family who have to return to their home in Benoni and piece their lives together while they find a way to become white again.
The series is about the ultimate coconut family who really are white people on the inside. How they got to be that way is where the series starts, but how they try to get back to their old lives is what it is all about.
The story arc over the 13 episodes deals with how the Greenes have to walk a mile (or more) in the shoes of people they've hitherto known very little about and generally misunderstood.
It's a crash course in culture but the Greenes are desperate to get back to who they were before so they throw themselves, sometimes begrudgingly, sometimes headlong, into trying to understand what it really is to be black.
Fortunately for them they live next door to the Mlambos, a "real" black family, new in the suburbs, upwardly mobile and aspirant to western values.
Up to now the Greenes have ignored the Mlambos but now they see them as their key to understanding black culture, so that they can hopefully pay their dues and become white again.
But are the Mlambos the best role models? As the comedy unfolds the question arises - who are the real coconuts here?
Then there's the family domestic, Patience, who had to accompany the Greenes on their ill-fated holiday (to do the dishes).
By some sort of overspill of the 'spell', Patience - who was minding her own business sleeping on the back seat of the car - turns white overnight. She's still Patience though, their Zulu-speaking helper, but she's now trapped in a white body.
To sum up: the Greenes are white folks, trapped in black bodies (played by black actors), having to experience a taste of 'black life' so they can become white again. It is from this premise that the comedy arises.
The Coconuts was created by Andrew Timm, who was also story editor and head writer. The story development team was comprised of David Kau, Kris Noble, Tumisho Masha and Andrew Timm and scriptwriters included Chris Forrest, Tshepo Mogale, David Kau, Kris Noble, Tumisho Masha, Monique Nortje, Joey Rasdiedn and Andrew Timm.
The Coconuts jingle was composed by Bonsai Shongwe and Andrew Timm, arranged by Johan Laas and performed by Malie Kelly.
Season 2 Cast
(scroll to bottom for available actor bios)
Samson Khumalo ... Percy Mlambo
Meme Ditshego ... Joyce Mlambo
Lebo Modiba ... Khensiwe Mlambo
with Luthuli Dlamini ... Tom Greene/Tombo Mbuli
Philicity Reeken ... Isabel Greene/Amandla Mbuli
Zano Mthembu ... Kyle Greene/TK Mbuli
Dionne Song ... Tamzin Greene/Beyoncé Mbuli (as Dionne Malan)
with Shaeleen Tobin ... Patience Hlatshwayo
and Elize Cawood ... Ouma
Recurring / Guests
Neels Coetzee ... Oupa
Cobus Venter ... Inspekteur De Bruin
Jessica Mbangeni ... Twin Maid 1
Ashley Hayden ... Estate Agent
Daniel Janks ... Cameraman/Director
Paul Slabolepszy ... Funeral Director 1
Nandi Nyembe ... Mrs Hlatshwayo
Ndoni Khanyile ... Penitence Hlatshwayo (as Ndoni Khayile)
Darren Maule ... Male Casting Director
Pierre Breytenbach ... Social Worker
Rowan Cloete ... Johan Prins
Sam Phillips ... The Old Man
Alexis Law ... Chinese Baby
Sean Welcome ... Furniture Removal Man 1
Gideon Thobane ... Furniture Removal Man 2
Monique Nortjé ... Meisie
Edith Venter ... Fancy White Maid
Candy-Leigh Jones ... Kugel Nanny
Tammy Ashford ... Snaggle-Tooth Maid
Nicci Scott ... Meisie's Daughter
Barbara Wickli ... Coloured Maid
Beauty Njokweni ... Twin Maid 2
Caleb Sokolich ... Newborn Baby / Baby Sipho
Jaiden van der Merwe ... Newborn Baby / Baby Sipho
Peter Stoneley ... Board Member 1
Charl Goode ... Board Member 2
Barry Strydom ... Orderly
Timmy Christie ... Featured Band "Slain"
Nicole Timm ... Featured Band "Slain"
Stephen Pinks ... Featured Band "Slain"
Justin Pinks ... Featured Band "Slain"
Grant Sloane ... Featured Band "Slain"
Levi Thole ... Featured Band "Slain"
Hilda Mbele ... Female Traffic Officer
Anton Schmidt ... Minister
Bella Mariani ... Mrs Vlok
Sean Combrink ... Usher
Alain D Woolf ... Funeral Director 2
Pumla Ndlazi ... Mam' Dorah
Neo Williams ... Trolley Mbuli
Bongumusa L Mpanza ... Cameraman
Onida Cowan ... Female Casting Director
Kieran Harriman ... Gavin
Lance James ... "Breed en Betroubaar"
Chris Forrest ... Radio DJ