City Press TV Review
Channel: Mzansi Magic (DStv 161)
When: Sunday, 20:00
Rating: 4 stars
If there are two things South Africans are interested in, it’s sex and God.
Mzansi Magic’s news primetime show, Abomama, is light on the sex, but has plenty of God to please viewers.
Focused on four church-going women from Soweto, who inadvertently find themselves committing murder after digging up a duffel bag of stolen money, Abomama is a well-produced crime drama with enough humour and heart to counteract the gritty stuff.
Directing and executive producing the production is actor and stand-up comic Thomas Gumede, who stepped behind the camera for his first drama. With a strong story from writer Nonzi Bogatsu, Abomama is relatable, full of plot twists and highly entertaining.
Much of it is due to the four central figures who make up the women of prayer – Nokuthula Ledwaba as Mapule, Joyce Skefu as Fumane, Unati Guma as Dora and Khanyi Mbau as Tshidi. They’re deliciously funny when they’re conspiring together, and the scene of them trudging through an open field, donning their demure church dresses with gumboots, was classic. As was Mbau, pristinely made up and false lashes fluttering, as she shoveled dirt on to a corpse.
Skefu and Guma are both consummate actresses, and Mbau is divine as the rich doctor’s wife, but it is Ledwaba who delivers the strongest performance. She showed her acting chops during her brother Thabang’s (Kgosi Mongake) death in the first episode, but it is when she’s restrained that she’s at her best.
The cinematography is beautiful, with nice shots of Johannesburg’s evening skyline, the wooden planks of a church roof and the sombre procession of a funeral. It’s good to see care taken in doing good camerawork.
The only problem with Abomama is when it sometimes slides into melodrama. A four-way split screen of the women crying at the beginning of episode two was a little corny, as was the unending scenes of Ledwaba staring into space while mourning Thabang.
Considering audience reactions on Twitter, Abomama is sure to keep drawing crowds every Sunday night. Mzansi Magic is one of the most watched channels on DStv, and with relatable content like this, it’s not hard to see why.
(Photos: Supplied/City Press)