Johannesburg is the setting of the latest African series to air on Netflix, with Kings of Joburg set to premiere on 4 December 2020. Described as a “thrilling test of loyalties under the gritty, concentrated populace of the crime-ridden streets of the city of Johannesburg”, it is an action-drama series with a layer of dark fantasy and elements of the African occult.
South African TV production family Connie and Shona Ferguson ave teamed up with Samad Davis of US-based Visionary Media to bring the story to life.
Executive producer Shona Ferguson also stars as Simon “Vader” Masire, a member of the KOJ brotherhood and the eldest of the Masire siblings. As the smoother and charming brother, prolific businessman Simon leads the family business. However, under the lavish suits and ties is a man hiding a deep dark secret. Zolisa Xaluva portrays the role of Mogomotsi “Mo” Masire, Simon’s young brother and an ex-convict, who finds himself having to choose between the life that got him in jail, and honouring his responsibilities to the legacy of a crime family and older brother he loves.
Joining the ensemble cast is TK Sebothoma as the spoilt and privileged Tlotlo Masire, Buhle Samuels as the gorgeous and supportive wife to Simon, Angela Masire, and Tsholofelo Matshaba as the straight-talking detective who’s obsessed with bringing down the Kings of Joburg. The cast also includes SK Khoza as Cyrus, Abdul Khoza as Lester, Nnekwa Tsajwa as Sting and Cindy Mahlangu as Phumzi.
“When I created Kings of Joburg I wanted to root the show in elements of love, family, conflict and power,” says Shona Ferguson. “The premise of the series is centred around the question, ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ and this narrative is explored in all 6 episodes. The mystical and thriller side of the story is inspired by the folk tales that I grew up learning about from my late father, Peter Harry Ferguson.
“These stories kept me up at night and gave me nightmares but I had to bring them to life in a tale of human conflict. Audiences will be surprised to learn that, despite the darkness of this story, Kings of Joburg paints a beautiful picture of the city of Johannesburg. I am also grateful to have worked with such an amazing cast and crew who gave it their all and helped bring my vision to life.”
“We’re living in exciting times where the world is becoming smaller and smaller,” says Connie Ferguson. “What used to be out of reach is now a stone’s throw away. With Kings Of Joburg, we are taking South Africa and Africa to the world and bringing the world to South Africa. It’s a United States Of The World show, bringing together talent from America and the continent. It was an honour to work with Netflix to bring to life this passion project.”
Samad Davis said:“Working between Hollywood and across Africa over the decades, I’ve been able to see first hand the enormous influence and impact Hollywood has had on the hearts and minds of people across Africa. I am honoured to be part of Kings of Joburg because through it and through our partnership with Netflix, we are providing African talent, both in front of the camera and behind it, the opportunity to be a part of their own Hollywood production.”
On adding Kings Of Joburg to Netflix’s slate of licenced series, director of licensing and co-productions in Africa Ben Amadasun said: “At Netflix, we continuously look for opportunities to create long-term partnerships with the best production partners in South Africa and beyond, as part of our ongoing efforts to bring a diversity of best-in-class african stories, across every genre.” The 6-part series delves into legacy-building, fragmented family structures, treacherous brotherhoods and the effects of crime and African masculinities on families and society at large. Loyalties will be tested, with long held secrets threatening to shatter the fragile facade.