Filming for Showmax’s second original scripted comedy has begun in Johannesburg. According to a statement released by the streaming service, the fish-out-of-water comedy is set at The Maboneng Marble, where two broke, tryna-be-woke twenty-somethings become unlikely roommates.
Having just found out she’s adopted, 22-year-old Martie has come to Joburg searching for her birth parents; 25-year-old Amandla is trying to reconnect with the motherland after decades of following her political elite father between international posts. The series, Woke In Progress is created by 30-year-old showrunner Rea Moeti, who has made a name for herself since graduating with a masters degree at The National Film and Television School in the UK.
Moeti’s Marikana-themed short film, Mma Moeketsi, won Best African Short Film at Cape Town, Jozi, and Zanzibar International Film Festivals, and is currently up for an Africa Movie Academy Award. She was also head writer on the first two seasons of Lockdown, winning the SAFTA for Best Drama Writer. But comedy is her first love: she was head writer on SAFTA-winning sitcoms like Ses’Top La and Abo Mzala, as well as a director on the SAFTA-nominated Thandeka’s Diary.
“Our first two scripted Originals – Tali’s Wedding Diary and The Girl From St Agnes – both broke records as the most-watched shows on Showmax ever, so we know our audience is hungry for quality South African series,” says Candice Fangueiro, head of content at Multichoice’s Connected Video, which houses Showmax and DSTV Now. “We think they’re going to love laughing with Maboneng’s Afropunk crowd just as much as they did with Talibabes in Sea Point in Tali’s Wedding Diary.”
Newcomer Laura Lee Mostert plays Martie, and Zandile Lujabe, best known as Palesa in Isidingo plays Amandla. Other cast include Kiroshan Naidoo, Lebogang Tlokana, Ebenhaezer Dibakwane, and SAFTA nominee Yule Masiteng.
“Working on Lockdown was evidence for me that MultiChoice is offering shows that are becoming more and more daring, and that our audience is ready,” says Moeti. “When I first pitched Woke in Progress to Showmax, it was tamer than it is now because I thought that was what South African platforms wanted. But Showmax has pushed it to go further. So it’s because of Showmax that the girls are as liberated as they are now.”
Moeti co-created Woke in Progress with Emma Lungiswa De Wet, one of the writers on the hit animation Munki and Trunk, which has two million YouTube subscribers. “In a way she’s Martie to my Amandla,” jokes Moeti. The show will premiere on Showmax on Thursday, 12 December.