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2020-03-22 00:05
Imbewu fan Ntandoyenkosi Mncube reviews the current Imbewu: the Seed story line, which further explores the world of African spirituality.

Imbewu: The Seed

Monday – Friday, 9.30pm

4/5

The isiZulu soapie explores African spirituality – from rituals to superstitions and the supernatural.

Although love is accommodated, lies and conflicts dominate Imbewu: The Seed. 

The cast and characters of this drama series are mostly young people preparing themselves for the adult world.

They are in the process of finding themselves and what they enjoy doing. Here, we see love and relationships playing a role in the identity formation of the characters.

While the characters are business-minded, vibrant and full of life, the youngsters are controlled by their parents – who want to influence their decisions – hindering their process of self-actualising.

The Bhengu family is the main focus of the storyline. They hold a lot of secrets that could upset their children and may destroy the Bhengu bloodline. MaNdlovu, played by Thembi Mtshali, has an ancestral calling.

But she refuses to accept the calling and this has dire consequences for her family.

MaNdlovu disappears for four days with no one knowing her whereabouts.

This is until Macingwane, played by Bab’ Zwane, a well known traditional healer, visits the Bhengu brothers. He explains that their mother is safe where she is and that her ancestors are guiding her.

The soft-spoken and kind Zethu Khanyile, played by Nonsindiso Gcaba, meets the fearless and stubborn Nkululeko Bhengu (played by Nkanyiso Mchunu), the newly found biological son of Ngcolosi (played by Tony Kgoroge).

Forbidden love develops between the two. Their parents try to keep the youngsters apart because of incidents that happened in the past. Nkululeko’s brother, Nganono, portrayed by Xolani Mfeka, died at the hands of Zethu’s father because of the relationship Nganono had with his daughter.

This is why the families feel it’s best for them to stay apart. MaZulu, played by Leleti Khumalo, is Nkululeko’s stepmother and she makes it her mission to confront Zethu.

She asks but fails to convince her to end the relationship with Nkululeko as the two are really determined to make it work.

The drama series reflects the reality of many family feuds in which brothers fight over inheritance while young women are controlled by their fathers who want to choose who they should fall in love with – all in the name of caring for them.

I enjoyed the fact that I could relate to some of the beliefs the Bhengu family has around rituals and how these beliefs were portrayed.

The representation of rituals such as the umemulo – a ceremony during which a young woman is welcomed into womanhood before getting married or to show that she is now ready for marriage – is well represented in the show.

The Bhengu family is divided into two camps – Christianity rules in one side and in the other belief in ancestral spirits is celebrated. One of the brothers is a pastor while the other does not hesitate to show his faith in a sangoma.

The drama series seems to offer us how to navigate a hybrid of belief systems – like when one sticks to Christianity but is also required to perform ancestry rituals.

There tends to be a contradiction in holding these two beliefs, and this is what the storyline carefully explores.

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March 29 2020