Roots, the internationally acclaimed drama series, is making its way back to SA through the local channel e.tv starting from Monday featuring an array of local and international stars such as Nandi Nyembe, Nokuthula Ledwaba, and Mbulelo Grootman starring alongside international actors Forest Whitaker, Lawrence Fishburne, Anika Rose, Malachi Kirby and Anna Paquin.
The four-part drama series is a remake of the 1977 miniseries based on Alex Haley’s classic novel titled Roots. It follows the family of Kunta Kinte from their origins at Juffure village in West Africa, their voyage and up until their slavery in America. The series was shot at different locations in South Africa, and it is something which veteran actress Nandi Nyembe enjoyed. She plays Yaisa, Kunta Kinte’s grandmother.
Nyembe commented on her shooting experience for Roots, saying, “My character is the grandmother to Kunta Kinte, she is just a lady who looks after her family and makes sure everything is okay. It was so great to have been part of this production… we were treated like kings and queens, we had our own trailers, our own drivers, and all the international artist they are so humble, and they called me mama. They did not make us feel like they’re the best. We were one big family. So, it was a really beautiful shoot.” She added, “My character never went to the other side, which is the white side. It ended up in the rural area where Kunta was born. Yaisa’s sadness came when her grandson decided to leave the village, and she feared for him not knowing whether Kunta is going to be sold into slavery, or get killed that saddened her.”
Nyembe says Roots evokes sad emotions, and it needs to be seen by everyone. She said the youngsters need to see the show to know where they come from, where their roots are. She said having local stars featuring in the series makes it more real and will engage more viewers.