M-Net is adding two new local productions, Trackers, a 6-episode Deon Meyer crime novel adaptation; as well as House of Phalo, a period drama focused on the rise of Xhosa in the Eastern Cape. M-Net says the pay-TV broadcaster remains committed to local storytelling and that the slate of new productions will provide compelling viewing for DStv subscribers and help to feed the growing global appetite for television drama series.
“This is the golden age of television series – an era marked by a year-on-year increase in scripted content that is eagerly consumed by audiences, both live and through binge viewing,” says Yolisa Phahle, CEO of General Entertainment for MultiChoice.
“Audiences are also increasingly receptive to authentic, universal stories and this provides an opportunity for us to take African stories to the world.”
“Three River Fiction is delighted to be working with SCENE23 and M-Net on Trackers,” says Jonathan Drake, CEO and co-creative director at Three River Fiction.
“Deon has written a thrilling book, and working with Deon and Robert Thorogood to adapt the story for television is a really exciting opportunity. M-Net is the ideal home for Trackers – a story rooted in Africa but with strong international appeal. It is already generating strong interest from other networks around the world.”
A uniquely South African historical drama series is also currently in production – House of Phalo, a telling of the first modern history of the Xhosa and the rise of King Phalo. Mfundi Vundla’s Morula Pictures is behind House of Phalo. Vundla is renowned for his game-changing television, having created South Africa’s first soapie Generations in 1994 on SABC1. House of Phalo will appeal to fans of series like Vikings and Game of Thrones that’s on M-Net.
“This story is about shattering the popular narrative that the history of our people began in 1652 with the arrival of Jan Van Riebeek,” says Mfundi Vundla. “There is indisputable evidence that Xhosa people have lived in the Eastern Cape since the 15th century.”
“It’s only through systematic erasure by colonialists and apartheid that we have lost part of this history. It was crucial for us then to treat this drama with the care and reverence it deserves. We hope we have managed to evoke a sense of pride in our history, a better understanding of the people we are, and a clearer vision of our present and future.”