Saturday, April 18, 2009

Shaka Zulu: Coming Soon to Viasat-1 !

I was really thrilled to see that Shaka Zulu, the television series, is going to broadcast soon on the new station Viasat-1. Thrilled because:
  • This series made my Sunday evenings special as a kid back in Southern Africa
  • I loved the theme song, loved the mighty Shaka portrayed by the late Henry Cele and of course loved the whole mysterious witchdoctor plot (gotta watch it to understand)
The series also featured some high-profile British actors like Edward Fox, Robert Powell (did someone say Jesus of Nazareth ?), Trevor Howard and Christopher Lee. During apartheid, it was probably one of the few series that targeted a wide audience where black characters were portrayed with any sort of power or dignity. It was only years later during my short stint at the University of Cape Town that I learned that there was a lot more to the Shaka Zulu series than met the eye. The storyline did not quite follow factual events but then again, which historical series does?! The series was actually produced for the apartheid-era South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) but this fact was concealed perhaps to get round the sanctions of the time. Apparently, the apartheid government also used the series to promote Zulu dominance over other groups in South Africa by highlighting historical Zulu dominance spearheaded (literally) by King Shaka. All about divide and conquer. Mmmmm....

Anyway, it seems apt and appropriate that someone is broadcasting this fascinating series at a time when South Africa is about to be led by another powerful and colourful Zulu warrior. Who else but Mr. Jacob Zuma.

8 comments:

novisi said...

o this one!
wish i could sit behind the tv to watch too!

i remember having a lot of questions on my mind after watching the movie way back. would love to watch again!

but it's interesting how tribes have been set against others by outside forces all over the world.

i just hope we come to learn that we all are human beings before tribe or nation or continent or race or religion!

and that man Zuma, surely he commands some man-power, lol, but i can only hope for the best!
enjoy watching!

novisi said...

and oooooh, that theme song! i remember...

it lingered on my mind for so long now i don't remember when i lost it!

that song did move the young man in me!

shaka!

Abena said...

Thanks Novisi, on point as usual!

Omo Oba said...

hm interesting critique of Shaka Zulu, Abena. I have heard about it but never actually seen it. On Zuma, not too sure about him, dude has got too much bones in the closet.

Bonita said...

OMG! i remember that series growing up in Botswana. That sangoma used to freak me out as a kid lol!

On an side note: Abena I love reading your blog. It resonates with me. I am also a Ghanaian who grew up mostly in Southern Africa now living in Cape Town. And seriously planning on moving back to Ghana. So thank you. You have made my decision to do so less daunting.

Boni

Abena said...

Hey Omo Oba, you should really check it out if you have access to Viasat-1. Caught a little bit of it this weekend and indeed it was just as grand as I remember. Of course the acting was a little more dramatic than I recall..As for Zuma, the least said....

Abena said...

Thanks Bonita.. Saw the Sangoma this weekend and was STILL freaked out. OMG! you are in CT?! Very cool..I'm glad there are more people out there who understand what it is like to be a "Southern African Ghanaian"..moving to Ghana has big pluses and big minuses...I remember how everything was fresh and exciting to me while other things just ground on my last nerve. I think you have given me an interesting blog topic!! Thanks :)

Nii Ayi said...

Loved shaka too. Especially the title song'' boom boom ...we are growing higher...
I actually hav it on a bootlegged Dvd.perfect pix.. ready to give it out anyone..