Rhythm City Should Be Very Worried About Skeem Saam

I haven't been able to write this sort of article in a while and I am so excited to finally have something positive to report about our local soaps. 18h30 has just become one of the most exciting slots on SA television right now, thanks the newcomer Skeem Saam giving the reigning king of that slot, Rhythm City, some stiff competition. 

Let's be fair here, Skeem Saam was always going to be at an advantage in viewership ratings by just being aired on SABC1. However, the team behind the show clearly did not just sit on their laurels and expect that viewers will just come because of some channel blind loyalty.

Credit should go to Rhythm City for setting the standard high for the slot over the years. Now Skeem Saam has taken them on and after watching this week's episodes, they are doing great job. 

Truth be told, I was skeptical about Skeem Saam working as a soapie. South African writers have a tendency of forcing storylines to keep shows on air long beyond their sell-by time. Fortunately, the Skeem Saam writers seem to have done their homework. 

The current structure of the show offers a perfect balance of drama, intrigue and comedy. The writters understand that, to keep a large pull of audiences you have to cater for all interests. The young characters are great as the anchors of show but the supporting cast offer an added feature to the template. 

Shoki Sebotsane
Something has to be said for the brilliance of actress, Shoki Sebotsane. The woman just makes me want to scream out in excitement whenever she delivers on screen. Majority of the shows' stars arrived to work, so I am only singling her out because she just shines out of this great production. 

The woman slithers between emotions like a total pro. She goes from dominance to vulnerability with ease. She jumps from anguish to melancholy to comedy like it is just child's play — a total chameleonic actor. My friends get excited about soccer players scoring goals, I get excited when an actor delivers a performance that keeps me engaged and forgetful that she/he is just performing. 

Eric Macheru

Inevitably, as a viewer I won't like everything. The 'Leeto' character bores me. He comes across as just a "filler" character that serves nothing to the show or the plot but is there to fill in the spots between great scenes. He just seems out of place.  

The casting of Eric Macheru as Cornet Mamabolo's bother, Harriet Manamela and Africa Tsoai's son, just does sell well. In fact Clement Maosa who plays "Kwaito" has a bit of resemblance to Africa Tsoai so he would have been convincing as his son. 

Africa Tsoai & Clement Maosa

I have been a champion for Rhythm City for a while and even when I was displeased with their new direction and the constant confusion about what they really want to do with the David Genaro character, I still supported the show because, I believed the show still delivered some great content and platform for fresh talent. 

Right now though, if Skeem Saam doesn't get too comfortable once it has settled in and keeps the momentum, the good folks at Rhythm City will have to up their game to compete. of course all that is good news for YOU and I as viewers. 


Finally South African television actually gets competitive between channels and it is all for our benefit as the viewers. If only our award shows had some credibility, next year's award season would be very interesting. 

Both Skeem Saam (SABC1) and Rhythm City (etv) air weekdays at 18h30.




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