Seven of the best South Africa

Photo: Showmax/YouTube

Seven of the best South African hits to stream on Showmax right now

From ‘Gomora’ and ‘How To Steal A Country’, here are seven of the best South African hits to stream on Showmax right now.

Seven of the best South Africa

Photo: Showmax/YouTube

Form Gomora, How To Steal A Country, (Sh)e, Loving Thokoza, The Beautiful People and Kings of Mulberry Street, here’s what you can expect to watch form Showmax this June.

South African hits to stream on Showmax


Last month Gomora dethroned The Queen as the most-watched show on DStv, with over 2.5m viewers for a single episode on Mzansi Magic. The twisty telenovela stars SAFTA winner Katlego Danke (Isidingo, Generations) as Thathi, a spoiled trophy wife whose posh Sandton life is stripped away in an instant. With no money and no job, Thathi is forced to pull her teenage kids out of their private schools and enrol them in a public school in Alexandra. They also have to move back in with her mother, Mam’Sonto (SAFTA winner Connie Chiume from Black Panther), a woman whose strict standards and grandmotherly care for her family mask her true nature as the queen of crime in Alexandra. 

The all-star cast also includes SAFTA winners Themba Ndaba (The QueenHopeville) and Zolisa Xaluva (Sew The Winter To My Skin), as well as Blood & Water star Ama Qamata and Thembi Seete of Boom Shaka and Zone 14 fame, but it’s the fresh faces, like Ntobeko Sishi and Siphesihle Ndaba, that have really got Twitter buzzing.  

Gomora was created by executive producer Kutlwano Ditsele (The Herd) with Gwydion Beynon and Phathutshedzo Makwarela of Tshedza Pictures, who brought us the two most-awarded shows at the 2020 SAFTAs: Best Drama winner The Republic and Best Telenovela winner The River, which was also up for an International Emmy last year. Amanda Lane (Is’thunzi) is co-creator. The first 20 episodes of Gomora are available to binge now, with new episodes coming to Showmax at 8pm on weekdays from 25 May 2020.

How to Steal a Country

With the Emmy-winning Miners Shot Down and One World Human Rights Documentary Film Festival winner Everything Must Fall, Rehad Desai made the definitive documentaries on Marikana and #feesmustfall respectively. Now, in How To Steal A Country, co-directed by Emmy winner Mark J Kaplan (The Village Under The ForestThe Lion Sleeps Tonight), Desai turns his unflinching gaze to another defining moment in South Africa’s recent history: the rise and fall of the Gupta family.  

As editor Ferial Haffajee puts it in the documentary, “They came here as traders. They sold shoes out of the boot of their car… And they left here as multi-billionaires.” Desai’s take on how they accomplished that is a suspenseful detective story uncovering one huge bribery scandal after another, involving the top echelons of political power and several well-known multinational corporations. 

Rave reviews have called How To Steal A Country “an excellent documentary, one of the best ever made in our country” (Leon van Nierop in Rapport); “nothing short of remarkable… the definitive example of speaking truth to power so that this can never be allowed to happen again” (John Harvey, Dispatch news editor); and “essential viewing for all South Africans” (Spling).


Winner of Best Feature Film at Jozi Film Festival in 2019, (S)he is a 52-minute film from Sean Steinberg, who also made the award-winning short Axis Mundi and wrote on hit series like The Girl From St Agnes and iNumber Number

After qualifying to compete in the 2016 Olympic trials for swimming, Penny Kemp, an intersex teenager, is forced to undergo gender treatment while dealing with being ostracised by one of her teammates. (S)he is a coming-of-age drama that speaks to what it means to be a teenager, what it means to be accepted, and what it means to stand up for who you are. 

Kate Roothman (Getroud Met Rugby, Erfsondes) stars as Penny, with Fleur du Cap nominee Kate Liquourish (Still Breathing, Queen Sono) as her coach and Justin Strydom (Snitch, The Mating Game, High Rollers) as her dad. Fiona Ramsay (Hard Copy), Mila Guy (Wonderlus) and Daniella Retief (Song vir Katryn) co-star.

Loving Thokoza

Lockdown’s award-winning creator Mandla N makes his eagerly anticipated feature film debut with Loving Thokoza, set in the chaotic months leading up to South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994.  

Enhle Mbali Mlotshwa (IsidingouHambo) stars as Charlotte Grootboom, a recently graduated English teacher who comes to Johannesburg to stay with her uncle (SAFTA winner Hamilton Dlamini from Isithembiso and Five Fingers For Marseilles), while she looks for a job at a Model C school. Unable to find work, she instead takes a teaching job at an Apartheid-ravaged school in Thokoza, where she fights to set up a debating society. 

Loving Thokoza is also a love story set in a time of uncertainty, as Charlotte falls for ex-APLA comrade Moscow (SAFTA winner Mduduzi Mabaso from Rhythm City), who is struggling to find his place in this unstable new South Africa. 

Loving Thokoza was shot in just nine days with all new heads of department promoted from within Black Brain Pictures.

Madam and Mercy

Evodia ‘Madam’ Mogase and her daughter, Mercy, walked off the set during The Real Housewives of Johannesburg reunion – and into their very own Mzansi Magic reality show, now streaming on Showmax. 

With a touch of glam, a lot of love, and Madam’s trademark wit, the 13-episode reality format follows ‘the Versace girls’ and their uncompromising love for the finer things, from surprise birthday boat cruises to Versace charity parties to shopping sprees. But it’s also an intimate glimpse into fertility struggles, lobola negotiations, and their unique mother-daughter bond.  

The first season of Madam and Mercy also features those closest to the duo’s heart, including Madam’s baby girl, Princess, as well as her other half, Peter.

The Beautiful People

Five models. Three months. One city.

The Beautiful People is a 10-part documentary series that follows a group of American, British and Brazilian fashion models as they follow the sun to Cape Town for the summer season. Each episode delves into the reality of their day-to-day interactions as they attempt to find work, make friends and build their careers over a three-month period. The show goes behind the scenes into the day-to-day, real-life business of modelling – the auditions, the challenges, the insecurities and the fierce competition for work over the peak season. Featuring appearances from The Model Agency’s Carole White and America’s Next Top Model’s Aminat Ayinde, The Beautiful People offers viewers a true reality check on the business of selling your looks.

Directed by entertainment journalist Nicky Greenwall, The Beautiful People screened at many of the world’s top fashion film festivals, including The International Fashion Film Festival, London and La Jolla.

The Kings of Mullberry Street

In 1980s Sugarhill, gangsters reign supreme, taking what they want and bullying the local Indian community. But two nine-year-olds – cheeky Ticky and timid Baboo – decide to go up against the crime lords and protect their families.

Directed by Judy Naidoo and shot largely in Verulam and Tongaat in KwaZulu-Natal, The Kings of Mulberry Street was the ninth biggest South African film at the local box office in 2019 and also screened at Schlingel, one of the main children’s film festivals internationally.