Best African highlights on Showmax right now!

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The Snail and The Whale,  The Real Housewives of Durban, DAM, Tali’s Baby Diary, Raised by Wolves, I Am LAYCON  & more

DAM S1 | First on Showmax | Binge now

Early reviews for the Showmax Original DAM, a small-town psychological thriller set in the Eastern Cape, are glowing. YFM’s resident critic Yazz the Student compares DAM to HBO’s The Outsider and says the “eerie” and “unsettling” show feels “different to the South African television landscape;” Sunday Times’ Tymon Smith calls it “chilling… well-acted, eerily realised and intriguing”; Fortress of Solitude says “it rivals any international production… a must-watch show that promises to fester in your mind long after the credits roll;” and Watkykjy hailed it as the “best South African series I’ve seen to date.”

Dam

Silwerskerm Best Actress winner Lea Vivier (Wonderlus) stars as Yola, who returns from Chile to bury her estranged father. To her surprise, and her sister’s irritation, he’s left his farm to her, but this may be more of a curse than a blessing, as the house seems to be trying to tell her something. But with her mother institutionalised, and her own meds running out, Yola has to wonder if the spirits are real or just in her head?

TALI’S BABY DIARY | First on Showmax | Binge eps 1-4 now and 5-10 on 10 March

In Tali’s Baby Diary, an unexpected pregnancy forces Tali (Julia Anastasopoulos, aka SuzelleDIY) into a desperate pivot from Insta-influencer to wholesome momfluencer.  Early reviews are loving the new Tali. In a five-star review on Channel24, TV critic Thinus Ferreira hailed Tali’s Baby Diary as “the best South African TV show of 2021 so far, and 100% guaranteed to make you literally laugh out loud.”

THE SNAIL AND THE WHALE | First on Showmax | Stream now

The Snail and The Whale is currently shortlisted in the Oscars’ Best Animated Short category. The nominees will only be announced on 15 March 2021, but The Snail and The Whale is an early favourite, with Variety predicting a two-horse race between the ‘audacious’, ‘beautiful’, ‘adorable’ and ‘charming’ Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler adaptation and the ‘emotional’ If Anything Happens I Love You.

RAISED BY WOLVES S1 | First on Showmax | Binge now

The biggest TV series ever shot in South Africa, Raised by Wolves is an HBO sci-fi show that centres on two androids tasked with raising human children on virgin planet Kepler-22b after Earth was destroyed in a great war.  Raised by Wolves has already been nominated for three 2021 Critics’ Choice Super Awards: Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Series, Best Actor: Sci-Fi for Travis Fimmel (Vikings’ Ragnar) and Best Actress: Sci-Fi for Danish actress Amanda Collin.

Four-time Oscar nominee Ridley Scott, who directed the sci-fi classics AlienBlade Runner and The Martian, executive produces and directs the first two episodes. Inverse hails the show as “Ridley Scott’s best sci-fi since Alien… there’s no TV show quite like it.”

KINGDOMS OF FIRE, ICE & FAIRY TALES | Stream now

Kingdoms of Fire, Ice & Fairy Tales has been nominated for Best Feature at The International Wildlife Film Festival in the US, one of the genre’s top festivals globally, and recently won Best Nature/Travel Film at The New York Cinematography Awards.

Missing travel? This awe-inspiring documentary will transport you to three of Earth’s iconic wildernesses: Yellowstone National Park in America; the Black Forest in Germany; and the Arctic Circle in Swedish Lapland. These are lands where waters boil, trees talk and the skies light up as if they are on fire. Lands where bears and wolves rule, where the planet never forgets to remind us of its power. Timeless lands that reveal what life was like a million years ago.

JUNGLE BEAT: THE MOVIE | Stream now

Produced in Cape Town by Sunrise, Jungle Beat’s adorable animations have become a YouTube phenomenon, racking up nearly five million subscribers and over two billion views, as well as a host of awards. Now the animation’s stars, Munki and Trunk, have their own movie, with an 85% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and a Best Feature award nomination from the 2020 edition of Annecy, the world’s most prestigious animation festival.

POPPIE NONGENA | Stream now

From Christiaan Olwagen (Kanarie) comes Poppie Nongena, a multi-award-winning adaptation of Elsa Joubert’s classic novel. It tells the moving true life story of the title character, a domestic worker desperately trying to keep her family together while navigating the day-to-day struggle against inhumane government pass laws in 1970s South Africa.

Clementine Zita (aka Clementine Mosimane, aka Mama Rose Tladi in The Wild) won Best Actress at both the South African Film and Television Awards and Silwerskerm, where Poppie Nongena took home 12 awards, including Best Film. Anna-Mart van der Merwe also won the 2020 SAFTA for Best Supporting Actress, while DoP Vicci Turpin (Four Corners) was nominated at Camerimage, the biggest international festival dedicated to the art of cinematography. Poppie Nongena also won Best Picture at the BRICS Film Festival in Russia last year.

CRIME AND JUSTICE S1 | First on Showmax | Binge eps 1 and 2 now, with new episodes every Monday

Crime and Justice is both Kenya’s first Showmax Original and Showmax’s first co-production with global broadcaster CANAL+. The Nairobi-set police procedural and legal drama stars Sarah Hassan (Plan B, Just In Time) and Alfred Munyua (Poacher, The First Grader) as Makena and Silas, the Nairobi Metropol Police detectives at the heart of the show. The eight-part series follows one ripped-from-the-headlines case per episode, all the way through to the courtroom verdict.

ONE NIGHT KWA MXOLISI | Stream now

In Joburg dramedy One Night Kwa Mxolisi, when a once semi-successful rugby player opens a new restaurant, his friends come to celebrate his success. But after one too many vodkas and a few too many truth-bombs, friendships are tested.

Actor Sisanda Henna (Trackers, Rogue, Griekwastad) makes his feature film directorial debut and stars as Mxolisi, opposite an all-star cast that includes Linda Mtoba (The River, Isibaya), comedian Donovan Goliath, Nyaniso Dzedze (Black Is King), Buhle Samuels (Kings of Jo’burg), Africa Movie Academy Award winner Fulu Mugovhani (Seriously Single, Still Breathing), and four-time SAFTA nominee Motlatsi Mafatshe (How To Ruin Christmas: The Wedding, Isidingo).

GRIEKWASTAD | Stream now

Arnold Vosloo (Bosch, 24, The Mummy) and rising teen star Alex van Dyk (Die Stropers) lead the cast in Griekwastad, which recounts one detective’s investigation into the horrific 2012 murder of Deon and Christel Steenkamp and their teenage daughter, Marthella, on their farm Naauwhoek.

Written and directed respectively by SAFTA winners Tertius Kapp (Rage, 4 Mure) and Jozua Malherbe (Slot, Wolwedans in die Skemer), the chilling film is based on Jacques Steenkamp’s best-selling true crime novel The Griekwastad Murders: The Crime That Shook South Africa.

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