KwaZulu-Natal, a province known for its dynamic cultural heritage and diverse landscapes, is also home to a plethora of South African film and television talent. As the province’s film industry continues to flourish, its locally born talent proudly showcases the richness of KZN, creating narratives that resonate locally and globally.
Among these talents is Nomzamo Mbatha, a household name in South Africa who has successfully transitioned into international fame. Born in KwaMashu Township, KZN, Mbatha’s acting career ignited when she won a spot in the top three on a national television show audition. She later became a beloved character in the local soap opera Isibaya, before making a splash in Hollywood with roles in ‘Coming 2 America’ and Bruce Willis’s last movie ‘Assassin’. Now, she’s set to enchant audiences once again as the lead actress and executive producer of ‘Shaka Ilembe’, airing on Mzansi Magic.
Another shining star is Thembinkosi Brian Mthembu, a KwaNdengezi, Durban-born actor. Best known for his roles in popular series like ‘The River’, ‘The Gamechangers’, and ‘Kalushi: The Story of Solomon Mahlangu’, Mthembu now takes the stage in ‘Shaka Ilembe’. His journey from his humble beginnings, working as a dancer while trying to establish his acting career, is a testament to the tenacity of KZN talent.
Equally compelling is the story of Dawn Thandeka King, a multi-talented actress, musician, and motivational speaker born in Eshowe, KZN. King is best known for her role in South Africa’s most-watched soap opera, ‘Uzalo’. Her captivating performance as ‘MaNgcobo’ over seven years earned her critical acclaim. Currently, King showcases her talent in the Mzansi Magic telenovela ‘DiepCity’ and the historical epic ‘Shaka Ilembe’.
‘Shaka Ilembe’, a highly anticipated and recent series, a highlight of local productions, delves into the life of the iconic African king, Shaka Zulu. Set in the 1700s, the series, six years in the making, involved extensive consultations with historians, academics, and family descendants to authentically portray the king’s life. This Mzansi Magic series showcases the abundant talent in KZN while narrating an important chapter of Zulu history. Catch this series on Mzansi Magic and DSTV Catch Up – and delve into the rich history of King Shaka, the King of the Zulu people.
As KwaZulu-Natal embraces the spirit of Film Month, there’s a palpable excitement building up for a prestigious annual event that celebrates the province’s vibrant film and television industry. This year, KZN proudly hosts the 10th Annual Simon ‘Mabhunu’ Sabela KZN Film & Television Awards on the 22nd of July 2023, in partnership with KZN Film.
Named in honour of Simon ‘Mabhunu’ Sabela, a prolific South African actor, writer, and director, these awards serve as a testament to his enduring legacy and the thriving film and television scene in KZN. Sabela, who hailed from KZN, has been a beacon of inspiration for numerous aspiring artists from the province, and the awards aim to carry on his commitment to artistic excellence.
The Simon ‘Mabhunu’ Sabela KZN Film & Television Awards are more than just an awards ceremony. They are a celebration of local talent and a platform that elevates KZN’s status as a hub of creativity. They recognize the outstanding achievements of KZN-born talents, thereby inspiring and nurturing future generations of filmmakers, actors, and television professionals.
Moreover, the awards also shine a spotlight on KZN as an exceptional filming location, with its remarkable array of backdrops, from picturesque coastlines to dramatic mountains capes, and the warm, year-round weather. Additionally, local support for the arts plays a significant role. With initiatives like the Durban International Film Festival and the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission, the province continues to invest in and celebrate its local film industry. It’s no wonder that KZN has become a thriving hub for South African film and television talent. Visit www.kznfilm.co.za for more information.
In July, as KwaZulu-Natal celebrates Film Month, it’s worth noting how KZN-born talents like Mbatha, Mthembu, and King, among many others, contribute to the province’s cultural richness. These actors not only narrate compelling stories but also put KZN on the map as a hub of talent and a desirable film location. As the spotlight shines on KZN’s film industry, there is much to celebrate and much more to anticipate.