It’s been just over a year since The River debuted on DStv’s 1Magic channel and as we read the headlines about the series cleaning up at the South African Film and Television Awards (11 trophies!), we look into why it has become one of the most successful soapies on local television.
The River’s talented writers
Sometimes we give actors way too much credit – they are the face of the show, after all – but behind the scenes are insanely talented scriptwriters, who are the main reason why a drama series like The River has become a favourite with South African viewers.
One seasoned writer is a cornerstone of The River’s success: Phatu Makwarela. He not only writes for The River, but also offers his skills to the equally popular drama series The Queen.
Phatu and his team showed off their writing prowess when they skilfully crossed The Queen and The River’s storylines late last year. The result? Riveting cross ever episodes!
It’s well and good to have a cast of talented actors, but without a great script, they can’t deliver their best work. It’s a 50/50 partnership, and the team of writers on The River understand that.
Another talented writer who may be familiar to viewers: Chris Radebe! He not only pens episodes of The River, but also plays the role of dodgy Chief Dabula on Isibaya. Having actors on the writing team helps the spirit of cooperation on set.
Lindiwe, the antagonist
Most TV shows have an antagonist, someone who brings the drama. And that someone is usually male. Not on The River. Lindiwe is a tough, strong-willed woman; she’s loud and proud and people love her.
Like Harriet on The Queen, Lindiwe calls the shots and is every bit as powerful as her male counterparts. Viewers love to hate her and her wicked actions, but the last thing they want to see is her downfall.
— 'Sweetheart' ❤ (@mpeh_ntuli) January 17, 2019
— Leigh-Ann Carey (@leighanncarey) June 18, 2018
— Mnikelo (@MMadayile) December 7, 2018
Sindi Dlathu, who plays Lindiwe, is a veteran actress with years on Muvhango under her belt, playing a character who’s pretty opposite to Lindiwe. When viewers saw her in her new role as an ice queen, they were impressed with her range on the screen.
— Tumisang🌈 Mothowamodimo🇧🇼 (@t_mothowamodimo) January 18, 2019
A quality production
Last but not least, viewers of other shows cannot deny the fact that The River is one of the best-quality locally produced shows on television right now.
Remember how well-orchestrated that cash-in-transit episode was? We do not doubt that that particular episode had the writers and execs of competing shows running back to the drawing board because that was entertainment at its best.
Then there was Tumi and Zolani’s wedding. What a gorgeous TV event that was! Even Phatu asked himself how on Earth they were going to top that episode in 2019.
The viewers loved the wedding so much that it bumped up the popularity of the wedding song “Sunday Blues” performed by singer Langa Mavuso, despite it having been released two years ago. Now that’s impact!
The River has redefined the making of Telenovelas in Africa 🔥👏🏽 The Cast 🔥… The Script 🔥🔥everything… absolutely breathtaking! #TheRiver1magic
— SC: MetaLetoka (@metaletoka) January 25, 2019
The River is available on DStv’s 1Magic, but, if you have missed anything, all the episodes are available to watch on Showmax, any time you want a bit of delicious drama in your life.