The cast of the Sotho and Xhosa drama Matatiele
Matatiele: e.tv showcases a story of love, feud and betrayal
Tuesday, 7 April 2015 at 9PM
The highly anticipated e.tv rural drama, Matatiele
premieres on Tuesday, 7 April 2015 at 9PM. A first for e.tv, the drama series 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’s Monaheng family.
The families have been at loggerheads as far back as the iMfecane warfare in the 1800s among indigenous ethnic communities. The drama series brings back the glory of some of the most original culturally deep rooted local productions on South African television, re-claiming the authenticity and local resonance.
Nontle Sangqu and Lefa Monaheng meet and fall in love.
Their forbidden love affair plays out in the backdrop of cascading hills and deep valleys of Matatiele, 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 fantastic mountain passes. This invariably adds to the production value and the authenticity of the narrative.
Lead actors: Solomon Sebothoma and Zimkitha Kumbaca
stars Solomon Sebothoma, new kid on the block Zimkitha Kumbaca, Motshabi Tyelele, Charmaine Diri Mtinta, Mike Mvelase, Thobani Mseleni, Mothusi Chebeletsane and Khuli Skenjana. The show also sees the return of Amanda Quwe to local drama. Quwe was made popular by the 1990s Xhosa drama AbakwaZidenge
, set in Cape Town where she played Zuziwe, a young woman torn by love and family.
“This drama is a culturally profound local production that broadens storytelling to include our history as Africans, as well as connecting with the rural side of our country. Our new stars have blossomed into forces to be reckoned with. The industry is about to get a shake-up on all levels,” enthuses Monde Twala, Managing Director for e.tv channels division.
The drama is the first production under Branded Soul, a company owned by award-winning director Rolie Nikiwe. He is the creative director for Rhythm City
as well as creative director and one of the directors of Matatiele
, alongside Zuko Nodada, a renowned director fresh from directing a local movie, Between Friends
. Both Nikiwe and Nodada are Eastern Cape born.
“This is an exciting narrative that will capture the imagination and hearts of South Africans. I am very excited to be at the helm of what promises to be a ground-breaking project. It is also the first drama to be set and shot in Matatiele, with incredible community involvement. It is a project that even I am in awe of,” said Nikiwe.
A collaborative initiative by e.tv and Branded Soul saw a selection and workshop of ten 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
About the lead Cast:
Zimkitha Kumbaca plays Nontle Sanqu
She is a headstrong rebel 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.
The actress, singer and scriptwriter from King Williams Town lands her first major television break after years of theatre. The 26-year-old has a strong passion for stories. Naturally as a scriptwriter, she gets into character with ease and a special brand of unique adaptation.
She studied Drama & Film, majoring in Acting Techniques. She had a supporting role in the short film, Lotus and a brief cameo on Isidingo: The Need then jumped straight into theatre in Rhetorical and Relativity
a show that had a successful tour in France.
So what’s new? a theatre piece directed by Princess Mhlongo earned her a Naledi Nomination for Best Performance by a Newcomer in 2012. She starred in and co-wrote Trapped,
with Mhlongo. The show had an acclaimed Austrian tour.
Solomon Sebothoma plays Lefa Monaheng
He 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.
Popularly known as Shaun, the techno-whizz kid on Generations, Sebothoma's star has been bubbling under. At only 27, he is the epitome of a multi-cultured talented young man who is multi-lingual, down to earth and has the kind of talent that creeps up on you.
He secured a useful Performing Arts and Music degree; a fairly unusual combination but one that fits for an artist. Sebothoma is inspired by local great performers such as John Kani, Hlubi Mboya and the late Brenda Fassie.
His work portfolio is all encompassing as he has done a movie, Love Game, currently showing on Africa Magic, starred Intersexions and is the TV host for the show More Than Words.
He has worked as a talent manager and has also been part of a theatre production with a leading role in Madiba Magic.
Matatiele, he feels, is the production that will serve as a culmination of his career in performance arts.
Motshabi Tyelele plays Beauty Monaheng
She 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 melt down before sprucing herself up again and plastering a smile for the world to envy.
The star of one of the most talked about TV series Madam and Eve, Motshabi’s career as an actor and playwright spans over three decades. She cemented her place in local performance with her role as Eve.
Tyelele has been a permanent feature of local acting from her amazing run with theatre. She has starred in Nothing but the Truth opposite the Godfather of theatre John Kani and she also starred in the self-penned Shwele Baba.
She is the winner of the 2010 Golden Horn for Best Supporting Actress, 1986 Artes award for Best Comedy Actress, Avanti award for Best Sitcom Actress as well as the Naledi award for Best Actress in a drama. One of her most notable roles is as Tando in Suburban Bliss and the movies Mrs Mandela
Wheels and Deals.
Thobani Mseleni plays Bhonyongo Sangqu
Nontle’s older brother, Bhonyongo 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.
Actor and singer, Thobani Mseleni has had an illustrious television career before landing this break on Matatiele. He has appeared on Inkaba, Intersexions and the comedy Single Guys. He has had an amazing theatre run, especially as the lead in We Are Free But Doomed, a production that received acclaim in 2009. He is most proud of his role as a lifestyle motivational speaker to the youth of the Eastern Cape. He has special talent in dance, music and poetry.
Charmaine Mtinta plays Norain Sangqu
She 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 constraint relationship between mother and daughter.
Mtinta literally grew up on television. Many will remember her as a regular face of the local dramas in the 90s. She has landed her talent to over 30 highly rated productions such as Muvhango, Yizo Yizo
and Rhythm City.
She has cast her net wider since then starring in the Oscar nominated movie Yesterday, as well as the BBC Series Wild at Heart. She is an Avant award receipient for Best Actress for her role as Nomsa in
Yizo Yizo. A former member of Umoja, the popular dance ensemble that is popular worldwide. This ensured that Charmaine combined all her talents into one theatre production; musically, dance and acting.