Lockdown S5 Showmax

The 7 best South African hits to stream on Showmax now

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LOCKDOWN Season 5, First on Showmax

Notorious for its cliffhangers, plot twists and emotional rollercoasters, Lockdown takes viewers into the cells and offices of Thabazimbi Women’s Correctional Facility.

As Lockdown Season 5 picks up, Masebata’s cult is no longer in power. Arch-rivals Mazet (Dawn Thandeka King in a SAFTA-winning role) and Tyson (Lorcia Cooper in a SAFTA-winning role) are running the prison yard together, for now. Governor Deborah Banda (Pamela Nomvete in a SAFTA-nominated role) is under pressure from the Department of Correctional Services, after one death too many at the prison. And Monde (Zola Nombona in a SAFTA-nominated role) is trying to make things right with Vicky (Lauren Jenae). Multi-award winners Linda Sebezo, Nomsa Buthelezi, Patricia Boyer and Sophie Ndaba co-star.

  • The most awarded drama at the 2019 SAFTAs, taking home five awards, including Best Drama
  • Both Dawn Thandeka King and Zola Nombona are currently nominated as Favourite Actress at the DStv Mzansi Viewers Choice Awards, where Molefi Monaisa (Siya) is also up for Favourite Actor
  • Lockdown is the first Mzansi Magic drama series to reach five seasons


This tense, beautifully filmed drama is set against the backdrop of the farmlands of the Free State, where a deeply religious and heavily patriarchal Afrikaans family takes in hardened teenage street orphan, Pieter, throwing 15-year-old Janno’s life into turmoil as he is forced to compete for his place in the family and his mother’s love.

Janno is played by Brent Vermeulen, who The Hollywood Reporter called “one of this year’s major acting discoveries in Cannes.” It also stars Juliana Venter, Alex van Dyk, Morné Visser, Erica Wessels and the late Danny Keogh.

Los Angeles Times hailed it as “a profound story of brotherhood with semi-biblical undertones… darkly powerful,” while The Hollywood Reporter praised it as “yet another incisive exploration of one of the numerous and complex facets of masculinity in South African culture after such critical hits as Oliver Hermanus’ Beauty (Skoonheid) and John Trengove’s The Wound.”

South African director Etienne Kallos won Best Short Film at Venice for Eersgebore (Firstborn) in 2009, while his script for Die Stropers picked up prizes at both Cannes and Sundance even before production began.

  • 92% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes
  • Nominated for the Un Certain Regard and Golden Camera awards at Cannes Film Festival
  • Won the Grand Prize at Chéries-Chéris, the LGBTI film festival in Paris

THE RIVER S3, Express, 10 minutes after 1Magic

A brand-new season of 1Magic’s thrill-a-minute telenovela The River starts on New Year’s Day, continuing the story of the interconnected lives of the ultra rich, like the Dlaminis, who will go to any lengths to maintain their wealth, and those on the other side of the river, like the Dikana family, who have little to show for their hard work. As Season 3 picks up, everyone is reeling from Mbali’s tragic death.

At last year’s SAFTAs, Moshidi Motshegwa won Best Actress as Malefu; Presley Chweneyagae won Best Actor as Cobra; and Lawrence Maleka won Best Supporting Actor as Zolani. Sindi Dlathu (Lindiwe) and Tsholofelo Matshaba (Kedibone) are currently nominated as Favourite Actress at the DStv Mzansi Viewers Choice Awards, where Presley and Warren Masemola (Oupa) are also up for Favourite Actor.

  • Nominated for Best Telenovela at the 2019 International Emmy Awards
  • The most awarded production at the 2019 SAFTAs, taking home 11 awards, including Best Telenovela

KANARIE, First on Showmax

Directed by Christiaan Olwagen (Poppie Nongena), Kanarie is currently competing against Pedro Almodóvar’s Pain and Glory, a 2020 Oscar nominee, and Céline Sciamma’s Portrait Of A Lady On Fire, a 2020 Golden Globe nominee, in the Outstanding Film – Limited Release category at the GLAAD Media Awards – arguably the LGBTI community’s highest honour.

Two-time Comics’ Choice winner Schalk Bezuidenhout, who also won a SAFTA for his supporting role in the kykNET comedy Hotel, stars as a small town boy during Apartheid who is chosen to serve his compulsory two-year military training in the South African Defence Force choir, where he discovers his true self through hardship, camaraderie, first love, and the liberating freedom of music.

The Los Angeles Times praised it as a “rich, poignant and finely observed musical-drama” and The Hollywood Reporter as “a winning combination of thoughtfulness and exuberance.”

  • Named one of the 14 Best LGBTQ International Films of 2018 by Indiewire
  • 100% critics rating, Rotten Tomatoes
  • Won the 2019 SAFTA for Best Script
  • Won five 2018 Silwerskermfees Awards, including Best Film and Best Director

KWA MAM’MKHIZE, Express from Mzansi Magic every Thursday

It feels like reality TV is taking over in South Africa at the moment. Of the 10 most-streamed local series on Showmax in 2019, four were reality shows: The Real Housewives of Johannesburg, Being Bonang, The Bachelor SA and Boer Soek ‘N Vrou.

The latest reality show to get Mzansi talking is Kwa Mam’Mkhize, which focuses on Durban business mogul Shauwn Mkhize, rebuilding her life after her divorce from Sbu Mpisane. The series also follows her-step daughter, Sbahle, and her son, Andile. Sbahle is an Instagram influencer known as FitnessBunnie, who is also putting her life back together after a horrific 2018 car accident left her wheelchair bound. Andile hasn’t found his niche yet, Shauwn admits in the first episode. “He’s into music, he loves playing soccer, he is still studying and he owns a salon.” She’s amazingly supportive of him – she not only bought Royal Eagles Football Club to inspire him, she also changed its name to Royal AM after his initials.

  • A huge hit on Twitter, where the commentary is almost as entertaining as the show
  • Produced by The BarLeader (‘Being Bonang’, ‘Somizi & Mohale: The Union’)


Beautifully written and directed by SAFTA winner Louis Pretorius (Die Boekklub), Fynskrif centres on the lives and cases of the lawyers and staff at law firm Van Wyk & Associates. The hit kykNET series is as much a family drama as a legal one, as Lara (multi-award-winner Tinarie van Wyk Loots) vies with her brother Ben (multi-award-winner Neels van Jaarsveld) for position in the practice, which is run by their father Hans (Chris van Niekerk from 7de Laan and Die Boekklub). As Season 2 picks up, the firm’s future is under threat, upping tensions for everyone.

New characters this season include tech start-up client Simon (multi-award-winner De Klerk Oelofse) and Lilani (Silwerskerm winner Lea Vivier), who joins the firm as a clerk but hides a dark past with Corné (Silwerskerm winner Beer Adriaanse from Wonderlus and Hotel). Viewers will also meet Corné’s mom, Jana (SAFTA nominee Hélène Truter), since he’s spending most of his time on her couch, and Christelle (Rolanda Marais from Trackers), who shows up as a former flame of Corné’s father, who disappeared. The stellar cast also includes award-winners like Crystal-Donna Roberts (Krotoa), Cintaine Schutte (Johnny is nie dood nie), and Charlton George (Sara se Geheim).

  • Won Best Sound Design (Stef Albertyn) and Best Music (Braam du Toit) at the 2019 SAFTAs
  • Won Best Drama Series and Best Script at ATKV-Mediaveertjies 2019


A lonely guy invites a girl he met online to his apartment. To his flatmate’s horror, he falls head over heels for her – despite her seemingly obvious flaw.

Directed by multi-award-winning commercials director Grant de Sousa, this romantic comedy-horror short film stars Paul Snodgrass, Johann Vermaak, and Lise Slabber.

If you enjoy this, we’d also recommend another offbeat romantic comedy short, Gerhard Pretorius’ Swaaibraai, which stars Johann with Cintaine Schutte from Fynskrif as a young couple who sign up to attend a swingers party through a new app.

  • Won the Best Comedy award at the Los Angeles Shorts International Film Festival
  • Won the audience award at the Shnit short film festival in Cape Town
  • Won three Gold awards, including Best Direction, at the Kinsale Shark Awards in Ireland

To see everything on Showmax in February, click here. Please note this article schedule is subject to change. 

Image Courtesy: supplied

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