Crime, love, corruption, freedom: It’s all centre stage in this riveting new homegrown drama series.
The mix of crime and love and corruption and freedom that has come in the wake of the birth of democracy in South Africa takes the spotlight in a brand new, homegrown drama series.
Saints and Sinners, a 13-part , one hour drama series kicked off in August 2014 on Mzansi Magic. It is a gripping family drama centered on the lives of two very different families, living in the south of Johannesburg.
The show stars a superb line-up of acting talent, including, Nthati Moshesh, Tumisho Masha, Nomphilo Gwala, S’dumo Mtshali, Tshepo Maseko, Warren Masemola, Sibulele Gcilitshana, Yonda Thomas and Siyabonga Radebe.
Inspired by a quote by Nelson Mandela (“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others”) Saints and Sinners focuses on the new struggle faced by South Africans – an inner quest that revolves around economic freedom, issues of identity, the fall of traditional family structures, and lack of cohesion within the nucleus and community at large.
The two families – The Khumalo Family and The Moloiswa Family are at the heart of Saints and Sinners and represent this struggle in narratively compelling way. “The stories are rooted in character driven narratives with a meaningful edge, speaking to the state of our country from an individual perspective. Saints and Sinners will showcase how we are connected as people through the choices we make, which affect others” says, Nkateko Mabaso, Director of Local Interests Channels at Mnet.
One of these families is the upwardly mobile Khumalos. Headed by matriarch Mamohato and her two attractive daughters, Phindi and Boni, the Khumalo family lives in the upmarket suburb of Bassonia. The other family is that of hard-working Lulama and Thabang Moloiswa who live in a modest home in Diepkloof with their adored son, 12-year-old Tshepiso.
The Khumalo and Moloiswa families present two contrasting South African ideals.
Driven by a fear of poverty, the Khumalos’ aspirations appear to be entirely materialistic, and they are not averse to bending the law to achieve their ends. Meanwhile, the Moloiswas’ driving force is to alleviate poverty in their community, and to share their knowledge and expertise to create a better South Africa for all. But their altruism will be sorely put to the test during the course of the series when they suffer a cruel tragedy, while the self-serving Khumalos will come to realise that material wealth does not compensate for poverty of the soul.
The first episode of Saints and Sinners sets the scene for the series when an armed robbery sets off a tragic chain of events that will tear both families apart. Viewers will follow the drama as the characters respond to the choices in front of them; the choices that determine the arc of their own journey and those of the people that surround them.
Saints and Sinners – 1 Murder. 2 Families – Torn Apart.
CONCEPT / SYNOPSIS
‘Resentment is like drinking poison and hoping it will kill your enemies’ ~ Nelson Mandela
‘Saints and Sinners’ is a gripping family drama with female and male protagonists centred on the lives of two families living in the south of Johannesburg. The two families consist of the upwardly mobile Khumalo family, comprising matriarch Mamohato and her two attractive daughters, Phindi and Boni, and further down the tracks, hard-working Lulama and Thabang Moloiswa.
In any society the active practice and application of our freedoms are important – freedom of speech, freedom of choice and freedom to live one’s life in an independent and responsible manner. But often those freedoms are taken for granted resulting in the irresponsible misuse of those gifts. When one allows one’s past to define actions and responses to situations and people we are no longer free but we are prisoners of our past. Nelson Mandela has been quoted as saying: “As I walked out the door to the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew that if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I would still be in prison.” Nelson Mandela understood the power of forgiveness and letting go of the past because this means the past can no longer control us.
Twenty-one years into the democracy of South Africa this drama questions the power of true freedom from one’s past, the freedom of choice and the courage it takes to forgive those who have wronged us. The stories and character journeys in the second season of ‘Saints and Sinners’ depict just this: the desensitisation and hardening of our greater South African society. As harrowing as this may sound, the individual journeys depicted communicate that while living in a fluctuating world, we all have choices to make as individuals – choices that will determine our destinies and happiness. The notion of personal freedom is therefore not romanticised but comes with responsibility and sense of self-worth. Before you can value ‘the other’, you have to value and respect yourself; for in seeing the other you validate the existence of the self. Before you can forgive those who have wronged you, you need to forgive yourself. Before you can love those who love you, you need to love yourself.
The families present two contrasting South African ideals: firstly, those who are driven by the fear of poverty and insignificance and secondly (in contrast to the first group) those who are driven by love and gratitude, understanding that one’s happiness cannot be tied to material possessions or wealth. By the end of the first season it appears that the Khumalo matriarch (Mamohato) has learned that family is more important that ‘keeping up appearances’. She regrets her actions, especially with regards to her children and wants to repair the damage she has caused. But has she truly changed OR will she revert back to status quo?
In season one the Moloiswa matriarch (Lulama) struggled to deal with her son’s death and could not cope with her husband’s complete breakdown after the loss of their only child. At the end of the series the hurt couple started rebuilding their fragile relationship hoping to move on from their great tragedy. But when they are both called upon to forgive and move on, are they able to do so OR are they still trapped in the prison of their hurt and anguish.
Picking up directly from season one, the second series plays out over a period of three months towards the end of the school year, September, October, November. The first half of the series revolves primarily around Phindi’s gripping abduction story and its aftermaths, while the second half moves on to lighter stories including a blooming romance, the rediscovery of a long lost father, family reconciliation, a matric dance, a wedding… juxtaposed with a dark, underlying plot of revenge and murder. The threads come together in the final episode where, in the midst of joyous celebration, a shocking event takes place which will affect the lives of all our key players.
I am free if you are free.
The choices we make, big or small either progress or impede our personal freedom and the freedom of those in our world.
PREMISE (WHAT IF QUESTIONS)
What if we choose to be locked into the tragedies that befall us? Will we choose differently if the blindfolds are cast aside and we allow ourselves to live authentic lives? Or will we be imprisoned by our guilt, anxieties or circumstances? Will we break negative patterns or perpetuate them? What if we are blinded by our own insecurities and selfish aspirations? Will we do whatever it takes to achieve our goals or will be consider those we hurt in doing so?
Director: Denny Y. Miller, Mandilakhe Yengo, Ferry Jele
Production Company: PawPaw Films (Sister company of Penguin Films)