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7 must-watch South African movies and series to stream tonight

Here are 7 local and international must-watch shows to stream on Showmax

28 September 2018 - 17:01
The Hangman on Showmax
The Hangman on Showmax
Image: Supplied/Showmax

Showmax has recently added an award-winning lineup of local favourites – from a hit horror film that’s up for eight Africa Movie Academy Awards to a multi-award-winning short film that’s in the running for the Oscars next year, and two of South Africa’s favourite soap operas and telenovelas express from Mzansi Magic.

Add these seven highlights to your watchlist right away.

1. Siembamba (The Lullaby)

Image: Supplied/Showmax

Premise: Chloe thought her depression was caused by her child’s birth. Then she starts to suspect that an evil entity is haunting them, but nobody believes her …

Why you should watch: Postpartum depression is terrifying already, even before you add in evil spirits. The horror movie was released in more than 150 cinemas in the US (rare for a South African film) and has an 87% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, where it’s ranked in the top 26 best horror movies of 2018.

Accolades: Siembamba has been nominated for eight Africa Movie Academy Awards in October, including best film, best director (Darrell Roodt) and best actress (Reine Swart). It was also nominated for two South African Film and Television Awards (Saftas).

Image: Supplied/Showmax

Premise: Khetha (Thato DH Dhladla) is a black prison warder guarding black inmates in Pretoria Central Prison’s gallows near the end of apartheid. His job is complicated when his estranged father (Khulu Skenjana) is transferred to death row.

Why you should watch: It’s in the running for the Oscars in 2019, having won best foreign film at the Oscar-qualifying LA Shorts plus director, Zwelethu Radebe is a talent to watch and a Mail & Guardian 200 Young South African selection for 2018.   

Accolades: The Hangman’s awards tally is already in the double digits, including best South African short film at the Durban, Jozi and Shnit film festivals, and best African short film at the Zanzibar International Film Festival.

Image: Supplied/Showmax

Premise: Oscar-nominee Steve Coogan (Philomena) plays a lawyer trying to prevent a prison hangman from being hanged himself.

Why you should watch: It will give you lots to say the next time the death penalty comes up as a solution to South Africa’s challenges, and Oliver Schmitz is one of South Africa’s top directors, responsible for classics like Mapantsula and the Oscar-shortlisted Life, Above All.

Accolades: Oliver Schmitz won best director at the Saftas last year.

4. The Queen season 3, express

Image: Supplied/Showmax

Premise: Connie Ferguson is back for a third season in her career-defining role as trophy-wife-turned-matriarch-and-drug-lord Harriet Khoza, one of South Africa’s most loved villains.

Why you should watch: Connie and Shona Ferguson. Rami Chuene. Themba Ndaba. Sello Maake Ka-Ncube. Thembsie Matu. Just don’t get too attached – you can never be sure who the show will kill off next …

Accolades: Thembsie Matu and Rami Chuene are competing against each other to be named South Africa’s favourite actress at this year’s DStv Viewers' Choice Awards. The Queen was also nominated for three 2018 Saftas.

6. Isithembiso, express

Image: Supplied/Showmax

Premise: After matric, Simi and Zamani leave their families behind to pursue a better life in Johannesburg, where a heist is about to go very wrong …

Why you should watch: It’s made by Bomb, the production company behind Yizo Yizo, Isibaya and many more of your favourite TV shows.

Accolades: Hamilton Dlamini won best actor – TV soap/telenovela for his role as Banzi "The Wolf of Braamfontein" Kunene at this year’s Saftas, where the series was up for four awards, including best telenovela. Londeka Mchunu won best newcomer actress at the Simon Mabhunu Sabela Awards.

Image: Supplied/Showmax

Premise: An Afrikaans mockumentary about a middle-aged hotel manager, Ferdie Kruger (James Borthwick), who struggles to keep the doors of his Mpumalanga hotel open.

Why you should watch: Schalk Bezuidenhout is hilarious as always.

Accolades: Schalk Bezuidenhout won the 2018 Safta for best supporting actor in a comedy. Season 1 won best comedy script at the 2017 Saftas.

Image: Supplied/Showmax

Premise: In season one, Cape Town hipster Tom (Armand Aucamp) inherited a guest house in the Karoo - and a book club. Season 2 finds him now running the guest house alongside Sofia (June van Merch) - and yes, they’re still fighting every day.

Why you should watch: Die Boekklub is a quirky gem and one of the most acclaimed Afrikaans dramedies of recent years.

Accolades: Jana Cilliers has won the Safta for best supporting actress two years in a row. Louis Pretorius won best TV drama script in 2017.

Bonus highlights:

  • Abraham, the final film of Afrikaans film legend Jans Rautenbach, whom Screen Africa hailed as "arguably South Africa’s most celebrated and, at the same time, most controversial filmmaker". Rautenbach died in 2016 at age 80, a year after Abraham opened to rave reviews in South Africa.
  • Phil 101, a 2018 Safta-nominated sitcom set in a philosophy department, starring Bennie Fourie, Philippus Boshoff and Frank Opperman.
  • Afrikaans surf film Die Pro, starring Edwin van der Walt, based on Leon de Villiers’ multi-award-winning novel.
  • The People vs Patriarchy, Lebogang Rasethaba’s much-talked-about MTV documentary that followed The People vs the Rainbow Nation.
  • Season 2 of the charming animated series Zafari, about a zoo populated by unique creatures near Mount Kilimanjaro.

Stream all of these and more on Showmax.

DStv Premium subscribers get Showmax at no cost. DStv Compact and Compact subscribers get Showmax for R49.

Sign up for a 14-day free trial at showmax.com

This article was paid for by Showmax.