Showmax recently announced that they have a new local Showmax original in the works called Blood Psalms. African video entertainment company, MultiChoice, is joining forces with the global broadcaster, CANAL+, to produce the show. The fantasy epic comes from the minds of creative duo Layla Swart and Jahmil XT Qubeka, who were also behind the critically acclaimed crime drama Knuckle City (2019). Swart is producing the new show while Qubeka is writing and directing.
The story will centre around a young African queen, Zazi, who has to deal with a world-ending prophecy while leading her people. The story imagines a thriving pre-colonial Africa and the myth that exists there. It is heavily influenced by the ancient mythology that can be found across the African continent but with a specific focus on Xhosa legend. The ten-part fantasy series has already gained a lot of attention as well as many comparisons to Game of Thrones. The series is authentically African and is being filmed in the Eastern Cape, Gauteng, and the North West. The series has more than 50 black actors in its cast, including some well-known South African names. The cast includes Thando Thabete, Enhle Mbali Mlotshwa, Hamilton Dlamini, Sello Maake Ka Ncube, Warren Masemola, Thabo Rametsi, and Thishiwe Ziqubu, to name a few.
“The story imagines a thriving pre-colonial Africa and the myth that exists there…“
Another interesting aspect of the show is that the story is told in vernacular rather than English. Sw art and Qubeka stated that they wanted to contribute “to the preservation of African culture and languages as authentically told by Africans”, which explains the creative decisions behind the show. Actress Enhle Mbali gave viewers a sneak peek of her character, Umna, on her Instagram page, showcasing the costume and set design of the show. All of the pictures that have been released from the set show incredible costume and set design that is sure to amaze audiences.
To ensure that the series is as authentic as possible, the creators of the series consulted African spiritual guides and healers. The series joins the shortlist of other Showmax originals which points to a more hopeful and creative future for the African television and film industry. The fantasy genre has been garnering a lot of attention in the television industry over recent years. The success of Game of Thrones has led to a flurry of other fantasy series including the Netflix originals The Witcher and Cursed. Now Blood Psalms is going to add an African story to the roster while also adding some much-needed representation to the genre with its incredible all-black cast. Blood Psalms is set to be released in early 2021.