Gripping First Episode of Shaka iLembe

  • Historical tale told by Africans hits TV screens


Ahead of the highly-anticipated 18 June premiere of the South African historical series, Shaka iLembe, MultiChoice Botswana recently hosted an exclusive pre-screening at the Hilton Garden Inn Gaborone.

The premiere was attended mainly by corporates who were treated to the first of the 12-part historical series.

“Shaka iLembe is a huge pivotal moment for the Multichoice Group as Africa’s most loved storyteller,” said MultiChoice Botswana Corporate Affairs Manager, Thembi Legwaila, at the premiere.

“The fact that this production was fully funded by the Multichoice Group and produced by a South African production company goes to show how much we value telling authentic African stories.”


The historical series, set in the late 1700s and 1800s, tells the story of the making of iconic African king Shaka Zulu, played by Lemogang Tsipa (adult king), newcomer actor Ntando Zondi (boy king), lead actress Nomzamo Mbatha and some of South Africa’s biggest stars.

Six years in the making, the series launched across sub-Saharan Africa on MultiChoice’s video entertainment service, DStv, last Sunday (18 June) and has already attracted significant interest and following across southern Africa, including Batswana.

Said Legwaila: “Most of us remember watching the story of Shaka Zulu starring Henry Cele and thought he was the real Shaka Zulu. The difference now is that the first story was told by Western people and the beauty about the current one is that it is being told by Africans, South Africa’s Zulu people, and that makes it that much more important.”

Gripping first episode

The first episode introduces viewers to the relationship between Shaka Zulu’s parents, King Senzangakhona kaJama, played by Senzo Radebe, and Queen Nandi, played by Mbatha, and the beginning of wars between the kingdoms.

The story is told through Queen Nandi’s perspective and the opening 4K camera shots bring the mountains of Kwa-Zulu Natal, the greenery and the rivers, to life. The film has English subtitles because the characters speak isiZulu in the series that speaks to the traditions of the Zulu people – from the meticulous accuracy of the wardrobe to the fierce battlefield choreography.

The continuing episodes will air every Sunday on Mzansi Magic (DStv Channel 161).

In the six years of its making, the Shaka iLembe team has consulted historians, academics and family descendants, including incumbent King Misuzulu ka Zwelithini, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, and the late King Goodwill Zwelithini.