The Top 10 Must-Watch South African TV Shows

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These screen sensations have left an indelible mark on the local and international stage. Join us as we delve into a world of captivating storytelling, remarkable performances, and a celebration of South African talent.

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  1. Tjovitjo (2017-2018)

The show revolves around the lives of a group of dancers in a township called Vosloorus, exploring their challenges, dreams, and triumphs. It showcases various dance styles, particularly pantsula, a popular street dance in South Africa. “Tjovitjo” gained popularity for its authentic portrayal of township life, captivating storytelling, and impressive dance sequences.

The series received critical acclaim and garnered a dedicated fan base. It was praised for its raw and realistic portrayal of social issues and its exploration of themes such as poverty, crime, and the pursuit of dreams. “Tjovitjo” stands as a significant contribution to South African television and the representation of township culture.

  1. Blood And Water

Blood & Water” is a South African Netflix series about Puleng Khumalo, a 16 year old teenager who transfers to a prestigious school in Cape Town and believes one of the students there is her long-lost sister. The show explores themes of identity, family secrets, and the challenges faced by young people.

It received positive reviews for its diverse cast and engaging storytelling, and it contributed to the rise of African content on global streaming platforms. 

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  1. Queen Sono

Queen Sono” is a South African Netflix series about a highly skilled spy named Queen Sono who tackles dangerous missions while navigating personal and family matters. It is Netflix’s first African original series, featuring a predominantly African cast and crew.

The show received praise for its strong female lead and its portrayal of espionage within an African context. While it was not renewed for a second season, “Queen Sono” remains a milestone in African television and showcases the growing presence of African storytelling on a global platform.

  1. Kings of Jo’Burg 

Kings of Joburg” is a South African Netflix original series that premiered in 2020. It is a crime drama series created by Shona Ferguson and set in Johannesburg, South Africa. The story revolves around a family involved in organized crime, focusing on the dynamic between two brothers who find themselves on opposite sides of the law.

The series explores themes of power, loyalty, family bonds, and the consequences of criminal activities. It delves into the complexities of the criminal underworld in Johannesburg, weaving together elements of drama, action, and suspense.

  1. Jiva!

“Jiva” is a South African Netflix original series that premiered in 2021. It is a dance drama series created by Busisiwe Ntintili and Mandla Dube. The story revolves around a talented street dancer named Ntombi, who faces numerous challenges while pursuing her passion for dance in the vibrant township of Durban.

The series explores themes of self-discovery, family dynamics, and the pursuit of dreams. It showcases various dance styles, including Pantsula, Bhenga, and contemporary dance, highlighting the rich cultural heritage of South Africa.

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  1. Shadow

Shadow, a short-lived action drama series, centers around Pallance Dladla, a mysterious ex-detective who operates as a vigilante for hire. Although the show starts off unsteadily, with less promising acting and overused tropes, and the Hollywood-style presentation risks diluting the local context, it’s worth sticking with for some mindless fun.

Dladla’s character, often seen shirtless, unleashes his fists in Johannesburg on a mission of vengeance. Combining elements of Luke Cage, The Punisher, and The Equalizer, Shadow offers an engaging narrative that caters to a black audience seeking thrilling and empowering content.

  1. How To Ruin Christmas

How to Ruin Christmas” is a South African Netflix original series that premiered in 2020. It is a comedy-drama centered around the dysfunctional Marumo family and their tumultuous Christmas gathering. Tumi Sello, the prodigal daughter, returns home from Johannesburg with the intention to ruin Christmas for her family due to past grievances.

The series explores themes of family dynamics, forgiveness, and personal growth as the Marumo family confronts their issues and tries to salvage their holiday celebrations. Through humorous and heartfelt moments, the show portrays the complexities and quirks of family relationships.

  1. Savage Beauty

In the soapy revenge drama “Savage Beauty,” secrets, lies, and passion abound as a mysterious young woman named Zinhle (Rosemary Zimu) infiltrates a powerful business family, determined to take them down. Created by Lebogang Mogashoa, the series captivates with its intriguing characters, unexpected plot twists, and a touch of coincidence across its six episodes.

Set within a wealthy milieu, a favorite of Netflix shows, “Savage Beauty” maintains freshness by combining invested actors and skillful production, even as it reimagines familiar storytelling tropes. With its vibrant energy and relatable themes, “Savage Beauty” offers an engaging narrative that speaks directly to black audiences, making it a must-watch for those seeking thrilling and empowering content.

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  1. Unseen

Zenzi, a cleaning lady for a wealthy Cape Town family, is accustomed to fading into the background. However, in the South African crime thriller “Unseen,” she must break free from the shadows to search for her missing husband.

This gripping series, inspired by the Turkish thriller Fatma, reimagines the story in a new setting, brought to life by the talented team behind the popular South African teen drama Blood & Water.

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With its intriguing premise and dynamic characters, “Unseen” offers a captivating narrative that speaks directly to black audiences, providing a thrilling and empowering viewing experience. Stay tuned to discover more about this exciting new series.

  1.  Justice Served

“Justice Served” is a South African thriller miniseries where an enigmatic freedom fighter and his followers seize a courthouse, allowing the public to decide the fate of murder accused Allan Harvey (Morné Visser), a white man accused of killing a young black man. Over a few hours, South Africans must vote for his execution or exoneration. 

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Unaswi
Unaswi
Hello!, I am Unaswi, a passionate content writer/ developer. With a background of being a content developer, strategist and a copywriter, she holds the skills to be a team player and flexible in any given working situation. Unaswi is not only a writer, she is a dancer and an acting coach.

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