MultiChoice and Bomb Productions have announced that production on the epic drama series, Shaka Ilembe, which is set to be released in 2023, has commenced and is currently filming in South Africa, providing jobs for over 8 000 people.
Set in the 1700s, Shaka Ilembe tells the story of the making of the African king, with iterations from his early childhood through to adulthood.
The two key actors playing Shaka are Lemongang Tsipa (adult king) and newcomer Ntando Zondi (boy king).
The star-studded cast is headlined by Amazon’s Coming 2 America’s breakout star, Nomzamo Mbatha, who plays Queen Nandi, the revered mother of Shaka, with Thembinkosi Mthembu starring as King Dingiswayo and Wiseman Mncube in the role of King Zwide. Mbatha will also executive produce the series.
Said Yolisa Phahle, CEO of General Entertainment & Connected Video at MultiChoice:
Being able to bring this important story to the screen with such stellar talent speaks to the heart of MultiChoice’s ongoing commitment and investment in our local entertainment industry. We are committed to telling great African stories and this is a proudly African series told through the lens of Africans for the very first time.
I am honoured to bring the giant that is Queen Nandi to life. History will remember those who informed its people of where we come from, to better understand who we are. I am fortunate to be part of a project that is much bigger than ourselves and to tell this story in our own language. Impi iyeza!
Angus Gibson, Creative Director at Bomb Productions said Shaka Ilembe is a cast with deep talent.
The production has been six years in the making, consulting historians, academics and family descendants, including the late King Goodwill Zwelithini and Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
Phahle said striking a balance between historical authenticity and drama is crucial to the plot.