In the era of the telenovela and #MeToo movement, SABC 1 smartly launches a series by female writers and producers. The series goes for less is more, whereby Emoyeni is limited to 4 episodes instead of the 120-or-more episodes that come with telenovelas.
Each 48-minute episode deals with magical realism in a South African context, and each episode has a new story and cast.
Did the first episode get the ball rolling well? Let's dig in...
Produced by Thishiwe Ziqubu (Hard to Get, Tell Me Sweet Something) and Bridget Pickering (Hotel Rwanda, End Game) - ladies who have carved a name for themselves in the industry - Emoyeni brings to life the Colombian concept of Magic Realism, whereby the supernatural is inserted into the everyday life.
In this case, the life of Kitso: a clearly socially upward black lady's life is turned upside down by finding out that her beloved husband is a cheat and has a child out of wedlock that she needs to look after.
The twist being that the recently deceased bugger is haunting her home until he can make amends ala Patrick Swayze's Ghost.
Written by Tshenolo Mabale (Greed & Desire, Lockdown) and directed by PJ Mashokolo (Intersexions), I found the first 25 minutes riveting as the plot was moving at a fast pace and poor Kitso, played by the ever wonderful Nozipho Nkelemba (Rhythm City, Forgotten Kingdom), was being put through the ringer whereby her perfect life was falling apart.
Kitso also acts as a symbol of many issues that ladies in SA suffer from due to us South African men being douchebags. The twist of the taxi driver, representing Charon (the Greek mythology figure) who ferries dead souls across the river Styx to Hades/Underworld, was a clever touch - especially since taxi drivers have a bad reputation of being moving coffins in real life .
It's the presentation of the afterlife that elevates the story from the day to day and it was a pity that the plot kinda slowed down in the middle before picking up towards the end. I guess establishing a world and a paying-off in the 48 minutes does have its limitations.
Aside for the middle section dragging, as Kitso's husband struggles with getting forgiveness from his wife before his son is chucked into our wonderful state sponsored child services, I really loved the idea of exploring ethical and moral dilemmas that come with infidelity that bears children.
What is the right thing to do as the ''innocent partner" settled with a child you didn't ask for? Even for the cheating partner: the idea that what we do in this life will affect our afterlife... this will hopefully make people think twice before building small houses and creating side dishes.
I didn't like the happy ending but that's 'cause I have a dark and demented soul at times and I wanted the cheating husband to burn in hell but loved the moral of learning to accept children in spite of the parents faults... although some could argue that ladies are always expected to forgive... it's hardly ever the guy.
The first episode was beautifully shot, especially the interiors. It had great performances from the adult actors - the kid was not exactly Haley Joel Osment from the Sixth Sense ...he came off very wooden in some scenes but that's a minor gripe.
The fact that, for an episode dealing with such heavy stuff, it was able to squeeze in some good humour and ubuntu-nyana is n A+
I'm looking forward to the rest of the series - the first episode had my curiosity when I read about it on Facebook now that I have seen it, it has my attention.
*Lebala **Ja nee ***Re ya zama ****Drama e dirang mo ngwaneng ***** Tape ,PVR, Record this
For all the info. about it, including cast, pics and upcoming episodes, see the TVSA Show Page by tapping here: Emoyeni