This was our first reaction when we heard the scenario of Mzansi Magic's new telenovela Gomora which replaces Isithembiso when it ends this Friday (27th).
Gomora premieres next Monday (30 March) at 19h30 and it sounds very similar to SABC2's Lithapo
Lithapo is a story about two worlds: the haves and the have-nots.
Lithapo is about the divide between Alexandra and Sandton.
This from the description for Lithapo:
Nolo's journey through Lithapo becomes a tale of two cities: Sandton vs. Alex.
Although these worlds exist within a stone's throw of each other across a controversial bridge, they are fundamentally worlds apart, as powerful metaphors for South Africa's growing chasm between the haves and the have-nots.
From the description of Gomora:
For those in the know, Gomora is also the nickname of the famous and beloved Johannesburg Kasi, Alexandra.
The hustle and bustle of the township and its colourful flavour is the vibrant home of the series, which explores the disparity between lower and upper-class members of our country.
Some of us are crawling along on the struggle bus, watching as the lucky few speed down life’s highway in their luxury cars.
In a divided South Africa, the line between those two lives couldn’t be thinner than on the border between posh, swishy Sandton and the crowded, hard-working neighbouring township of Alexandra.
The most notable difference between the two is their production house: Quizzical Pictures make Lithapo and Seriti Films make Gomora.
According to Mzansi Magic, the contrast between Gomora's two worlds is brought to life through "one of the most innovative filming styles" so we'll have to see if it manages to bring something fresh or if it's too carbon copy.
Here's a trailer with a who's who of main characters... see what you think:
The cast is headlined by Katlego Danke (Isidingo, Generations) as:
Thathi grew up in Alex with her mother Sonto and her sister Beauty. She knew struggle as a child, although her mother was always able to provide for her through various criminal enterprises.
Thathi was always the most beautiful girl in school, the most charismatic, and the most popular.
Thathi chose the easy life offered by her new husband Mbongeni. She raised two children with him in the beautiful mansion he bought for their family. She's never worked a day in her life.
The series starts when her posh Sandton life gets stripped away in an instant. And it leaves her with nowhere to turn but her past. This means returning to a life she was so desperate to escape that she’s never looked back.
With no money and no job, Thathi is forced to pull her teenaged kids out of their private schools and enrol them in a public school in Alexandra.
Played by Themba Ndaba (The Queen, Rockville, Hopeville)
Thathi's husband. He's the CEO and one of the major shareholders of CBS bank. He's an alpha male and extremely confident in his abilities.
He married Thathi when he was in his late 20s and had just started the bank.
For years he’s been chowing money from clients, and at the start of the show, this fact finally catches up with him, when he realizes he’s going to lose everything.
Mzansi Magic tells us that Themba will continue his role as Brutus on The Queen while playing this role.
Played by Connie Chiume (Home Affairs, Rhythm City, Zone 14)
Mam’Sonto had two children, Thathi and Beauty at an early age. But the father of her children abandoned her soon after she gave birth to them, and she was forced to raise them as an only mother.
Over the years she grew to be strong, strict and powerful.
At first, she sold alcohol illegally and then she gradually got into other criminal enterprises.
She never thought what she was doing was ‘wrong’, it was the only thing that she could do to keep food on the table for her family.
She runs a shisa’nyama with her daughter Beauty.
Played by Thembi Seete (Rhythm City, Yizo Yizo, Zone 14)
Gladys is a social worker in Alex. She is a tough cookie. She’s the kind of person who will break the rules, as long as the result is good. She is street-smart and tough, and fervently believes in uplifting the community in which she works.
She is a mother to Ntobeko, but she is often so distracted by her work in the community that she doesn’t have enough time left over for her own son.
Gladys is always adopting street kids or helping the less privileged. She ends up spending most of her money on helping others and keeps very little for herself.
Played by Zolisa Xaluva (uGugu no Andile, The Queen, Zabalaza)
Thathi's ex who is now married to Gladys and is the principal at the school in Alex. He is an extremely hard-working and principled man.
He has ensured, through hard work, determination and his ability to inspire children and parents alike, that his school has a hundred percent pass rate.
He is very tough on his only child Ntobeko. Mondli is a pillar of the community. He and Gladys are seen as an upstanding family in Alex who help keep the whole community together.
Played by Ntobeko Sishi (Signal High)
Gladys and Mondli's son. He's extremely smart, and very good looking. However, he has always struggled in his family.
From the outside, it looks like he has it all - the good looks, the intelligence, the perfect family. But it’s hard being him. He feels enormous pressure to perform, but also has an extremely strict family environment.
He chooses to seek out the kind of love and appreciation he doesn’t get at home, in all the wrong places. He seeks affirmation from the dodgy elements and criminals in Alex.