As Themba’s aunt, Clara’s nurse and Lazarus Zita’s sister in the Showmax Original DAM, Faniswa Yisa gives an exceptional performance. Her character, Lindiwe Zita, is the crux of the storyline, where two different settings and two different groups of characters meet.
She undergoes a terrifying and, potentially deadly, transformation over the course of the events, and getting to the bottom of her mysterious illness will mean uncovering all the secrets that the small Eastern Cape town has to offer.
Lindiwe is also mourning the passing of her daughter when her nephew Themba (Pallace Dladla) appears in town out of the blue. He’s looking for his grandfather, Lazarus, who Lindiwe tells him has been missing for a while – he’s on a mission to lift the curse that he says is haunting their community.
We chatted to Faniswa about Lindiwe, some of her previous roles, and why the Showmax Original heralds a new opportunity for South African filmmaking.
What would you say DAM is about for someone who hasn’t watched it or heard of it?
It’s a psychological thriller set in the Eastern Cape, featuring a host of South Africa’s most recognised names. It follows a young lady with a promising career who goes on to study overseas, but when her father passes on she has to come back for the funeral and she’s forced to stay in her childhood home.
At some point she notices things are eerie and she says “the house is trying to tell her a story”. In that process she begins noticing that there are so many secrets and dynamics at play, it’s all so intense.
I don’t want to reveal too much but it touches on so many relevant stories in today’s society: from land ownership to abduction, trafficking and so much more.
Tell us a little bit about your character on the show.
I play the role of Lindiwe, who grew up in a small town and is now a nurse. She’s got a brother, Lazarus, who is a healer, and you actually end up seeing a lot of Lazarus in Lindiwe, but I won’t tell you in which way.
Lindiwe is not only a healer, she is also the glue in the difficult race relations taking place in the town – which the show doesn’t shy away from. At work, she is with one group of people, at home she is with another – and neither of them likes the other. So she has to deal with wearing different hats.
Do you think Showmax Originals like DAM make this an exciting time for South African storytelling?
Absolutely. Platforms like these give us the opportunity to tell stories that previously weren’t being told, or that didn’t have a home. Now the shackles are loose, and writers, directors and actors can explore stories like never before.
Knuckle City, which you got your AMAA nomination for, is also on Showmax. What was it like starring in this highly acclaimed film?
Oh my, you’re taking me back!
That’s another intense film, but once again, it’s a very real and authentic story that many from these types of communities are used to watching day in and day out in their lives. It’s a powerfully told story.
What else is coming up this year?
I can’t reveal too much – but keep your eyes on Showmax, that’s all I will say! There’s another production I’m a part of that will be dropping later this year.
All eight episodes of DAM are ready to be binge-watched now!