First Xitsonga drama series, Giyani – Land of Blood

Yvonne Chaka Chaka has been cast in her first dramatic TV role as an evil matriarch in SABC2’s first Xitsonga drama series, Giyani – Land of Blood. The singer hopes to thrill viewers with her portrayal of the evil and scheming matriarch Gladys.

by Thinus Ferreira

The series will revolve around the ongoing conflict between two families locked in a decades-long battle, this time over a piece of fertile land and the banana plantation built on it.

The series is produced by Tshedza Pictures, also responsible for M-Net’s The River on 1Magic (DStv 103) on MultiChoice’s DStv satellite pay-TV platform.

According to the producers, Giyani – Land of Blood will “bring to life the ageless themes of love rivalries, forbidden passion, stolen land, and corruption”.

Giyani is centred around the conflict between the Mudau and Baloyi families, set in the fictional village of Risinga.

The first episode will open with a celebration of land returned to the community as a result of a successful land restitution claim with the land returned by the Van Reenen family who had built their considerable wealth through the banana plantation. The South African farm in Limpopo, reclaimed by the community, is renamed Tiakeni, a Xitsonga phrase meaning “build yourselves”.

Other cast members includes Linah Ebony Ngcobo, Obed Baloyi, Charles Baloyi, Candy “Tsa Mandebele” Mokwena and Ndivhuho Mutsila, with the theme song that is composed and performed by Thomas Chauke and the Shinyori Sisters, pioneers of Tsonga music.
The show is filmed partly on-location in the Limpopo province and on-set in Johannesburg.

“In our effort to deliver on the public service and language mandate as well as introduce fresh and landmark content, SABC2 is delighted to bring to the South African public, Giyani – Land of Blood, the first ever Xitsonga drama and telenovela,” says Jacqui Hlongwane, SABC2 programme manager.

“For the better part of their careers, they have had to act and perform in roles and languages other than their own in order to make a living. Giyani – Land of Blood has now given them this rightful opportunity.”

“Equally, Xitsonga viewers who have had to watch dramas in other languages will now have their own drama series for the first time, celebrating and affirming their rich culture, tradition, identity, stories, music and heritage,” says Jacqui.