In Mzansi Magic’s drama series (all episodes are now on Showmax), South African President Kgalema Motlanthe was replaced by the corrupt President Hendrik Zondo (Siyabonga Thwala, Isibaya’s Mpiyakhe Zungu) when his term of office ended in 2009. But instead of allowing the looting, incompetence and decay to carry on at will, the ruling party eventually fired Zondo and replaced him with the party’s secretary Lufuno Mulaudzi (Florence Masebe, iKani’s ex-Balise).
She has spent the past two years trying to undo the damage that Zondo did, making sure that those responsible – and those who benefitted – are brought to justice. But with Zondo’s greedy allies everywhere, President Mulaudzi will have to fight those who’re seeking to undermine her every step.
Here are seven reasons to start watching The Republic, if you’re new to this state of affairs.
The Republic is written by dynamic duo Phathutshedzo Makwarela and Gwydion Beynon of the production company Tshedza Pictures (responsible for soapies Giyani and The River).
The series is exciting to look at. The combination of newsreel footage that reports on the events playing out in the story, drone shots of places like the Union Buildings and street-level location shots keeps things fresh.
While the wheels in politics seem to grind with exhausting, hopeless slowness in real life, on TV we can expect a lot more satisfying action. By the end of episode 1, not only is President Zondo behind bars where he belongs, but President Mulaudzi has been kidnapped along with her aide Bridget Ranaka (Masasa Mbangeni, Scandal!’s ex-Thembeka and Nomahlubi in Housekeepers) during a service delivery rally in a poorer area of Soshanguve.
Lufuno Mulaudzi is straight up inspirational as the president that South Africa needs! “Our country and continent doesn’t have a shortage of great female freedom fighters. So I have taken from many who are currently in leadership today and many who used to be leaders,” says Florence. And when President Mulaudzi comments on her predecessor, “Comrade Zondo is also a South African citizen. Every citizen must abide by the law. Our dear Zondo committed a crime. He must pay for it,” plenty of viewers will be nodding and clapping.
Seputla Sebogodi (Nchabeleng in Diamond City) shines in the complex and conflicted role of Moses, leader of Mulaudzi’s kidnappers the Dogs Of Soshanguve. The Dogs (wearing Halloween dog masks to striking and somewhat eerie effect) ransom Mulaudzi for R1.2 billion. They’re not just after money though. Moses believes that Lufuno’s regime is just politics as usual – which means no service delivery and no change for South Africa’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens. But Moses should watch his back because there are no real allies in these kinds of political games and his boss isn’t sharing his true goals.
Moses might find negotiation for that cash tough going, since there are many at the Union Buildings who’d stand to benefit if President Mulaudzi never returns. We’ll be watching the man who stands to benefit most from the president’s absence – the Vice President (Hlomla Dandala, Zweli in The River) – with scepticism.
Corrupt cop Thabang Ranaka (Warren Masemola, Tjovitjo’s MaFred and The River’s Oupa – putting his epic dance skills to use in The Republic’s action scenes) will be highly motivated to track down the kidnappers. Bridget might be his soon-to-be-ex-wife, but they married for love and she defied her rich, influential family to be with him and to enter her career in politics.
Between Bridget’s rich-girl entitlement and Thabang’s wandering eye, the marriage took some serious knocks, but he’s not about to let The Dogs slaughter her. Warren and Masasa bring so much passion to their roles that we’re rooting for this couple to make it.