Shaka iLembe on DStv’s Mzansi Magic, is a captivating historical tale set in the 1700s, chronicling the remarkable journey of an iconic African king. This compelling narrative takes us on a transformative exploration of his life, from his formative years as a child to his eventual rise to adulthood.

By Gugulethu Masilela

Shaka iLembe, which airs on Sundays at 20:00 on Mzansi Magic, has truly made a splash in the television industry. It has gained immense popularity, topping the trend list and captivating audiences with its exceptional storyline and cinematography.

The viewership numbers of the DStv App in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, and other African countries have experienced a significant surge thanks to the popularity of Shaka iLembe.

MultiChoice is successfully recovering its investment in Shaka iLembe, a drama series that broke ratings records and emerged as the most successful production in MultiChoice’s history. This marks the largest investment the company has ever made in local production.

This mighty ripple effect has unfurled its majestic wings, casting its enchanting spell upon viewers, all with the mere airing of just three episodes.

“Our vision for Shaka iLembe was to tell an epic African story on a grand scale, with the depth and finesse that can only come from significant investment.

“That audiences have bought into this storytelling universe is deeply affirming because it aligns with our understanding of the market appetite for this type of content,” said Nomsa Philiso, MultiChoice’s CEO for general entertainment, in a statement.

The series has received a wide range of feedback from fans, with some finding it incredibly engaging. However, there are also concerns raised by others regarding its portrayal of the authentic Shaka story.

Some viewers believe that the drama series is giving them a false impression of what happened during the Shaka era. Others think that altering the narrative of the story was a wrong decision, as the Shaka story holds great importance for amaZulu.

James Mhlanga, a 70-year-old former history teacher, is among those who have concerns about Shaka iLembe: “I am quite dissatisfied with how the tale is being portrayed; this generation is being misled about some of the events that occurred during the Shaka period. Yes, they may have been attempting to modernise it, but such stories do not need to be sanitized in this manner.”

Mohlabase Ramoshe, a 25-year-old aspiring historian, acknowledges that everyone has their own perspective on this series. However, he believes that all real-life stories are subject to some level of bias. In his opinion, the series is exceptional and has a captivating narrative. He also praised the high-quality visuals and predict that it will have a lasting impact and be enjoyed by future generations.

“I understand that everyone has an opinion on this series, but all ‘true-life’ stories are filtered. I think it’s a magnificent series that’s well-narrated. The aesthetics are excellent, and the series will go far and be watched by generations,” said Ramoshe.

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