Showmax has over the years aired African original content that helps viewers explore the African continent.
In commemoration of this year’s Africa Day, Showmax has a catalogue of record-breaking and award-winning content. No matter your genre preference, Showmax has got you covered.
1. Noughts + Crosses S1
Noughts + Crosses is a film that highlights political backstabbing with a very human story of discrimination and systemic oppression. South African Masali Baduza (Trackers) and BAFTA winner Jack Rowan (Born To Kill, Peaky Blinders) play Sephy and Callum, two star-crossed lovers in the tradition of Romeo and Juliet, in an alternate universe where Africa colonized Europe, rather than the other way round.
Based on Malorie Blackman’s multi-award-winning novel and shot largely in Cape Town with Film Afrika, the series also stars South African actress Bonnie Mbuli (Invictus, Wallander) as Sephy’s mom, Jasmine. Koby Adom, who is from Ghana, was born in Cote d’Ivoire, and grew up in London, is one of the two directors, while South African costume designer Dihantus Engelbrecht earned a Costume Design.
2. Yvonne Orji: Mama, I made it
In her first HBO comedy special, Nigeria’s Yvonne Orji, better known as Molly from Insecure, has the audience rolling with laughter as she brings her razor-sharp wit and confidence to the stage. Yvonne shares her unique journey from pre-med to comedy, talks about parental pressures to get married, and takes us along to Lagos to meet her family and friends.
In 2020, Yvonne earned her first Emmy nomination and her fourth Black Reel nomination in a row as Molly in Insecure, while Momma, I Made It was nominated for a 2021 Image Award for Outstanding Variety Show (Series or Special).
South Africa’s Thuso Mbedu has been making headlines globally as the star of The Underground Railroad, an adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, directed by Oscar winner Barry Jenkins (Moonlight, If Beale Street Could Talk).
But celebrating Thuso Mbedu is stating the obvious for Mzansi Magic fans, who’ve already seen her earn back-to-back Best Actress nominations at the International Emmy Awards in 2017 and 2018 for her role as Winnie in the isiZulu teen drama Is’thunzi. The show also picked up South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs) for Best Actress and Actor for Mbedu and S’Dumo Mtshali (Isibaya, iNumber Number) respectively, not to mention nominations for the all-star cast of Pallance Dladla (DAM, Shadow), Thulane Shange (Uzalo, iNumber Number), and Zikhona Bali (DiepCity).
Liyana is a genre-defying documentary that tells the story of five children in the Kingdom of Eswatini who, with some guidance from South African storyteller Gcina Mhlope. The film weaves Liyana’s animated journey together with poetic documentary scenes to create an inspiring tale of perseverance and hope.
Liyana is the directorial debut of Swaziland-born and raised Aaron Kopp, with his wife Amanda. Before moving into directing, Aaron shot the Oscar-winning documentary Saving Face and the Oscar-nominated The Hunting Ground.
Liyana is executive produced by Emmy winner Thandiwe Newton (Westworld), produced by Oscar winner Daniel Junge (Saving Face), and edited by Davis Coombe (Chasing Coral, Chasing Ice).
5. I am not a witch
After a minor incident in her village, 9-year-old Shula is exiled to a travelling witch camp where she is told that if she tries to escape she will be transformed into a goat. As she navigates through her new life with her fellow witches and a government official who exploits her innocence for his own gain, she must decide whether to accept her fate or risk the consequences of seeking freedom.
6. The forgotten kingdom
Atang (Zenzo Ngqobe from The River, Tsotsi) returns to a mountain village in Lesotho to bury his father. Expecting to return to the city quickly, he instead befriends an orphan herd-boy, is stirred by memories of his youth, and falls for a childhood friend, Dineo (Nozipho Nkelemba).
The Forgotten Kingdom won 15 international awards, including seven Audience Awards from American festivals, and Best Cinematography, Sound and Child Actor (Lebohang Ntsane) at the Africa Movie Academy Awards, where it earned another six nominations, including Best Film and Best Actor for Nqobe.
7. La Noire De (Black Girl)
Ousmane Sembène’s debut 1966 film, La Noire De (Black Girl), is the story of a young Senegalese woman who is employed as a governess for a French family in Dakar. Black Girl won the Tanit d’Or at Carthage in 1966, among other prizes, and was hailed by Oscar winner Martin Scorcese (The Irishman) as an astonishing movie.
8. Cairo station
In the 1958 classic Cairo Station, Youssef Chahine both directs and stars as Qinawi, a crippled newspaper vendor who falls for a lemonade seller, Hanouma, who is engaged to another station worker, Abu-Serih. As Abu-Serih tries to unionise the station workers, Qinawi’s fixation on Hanouma crosses the line from innocent crush to dangerous obsession.
Cairo Station screened in competition at Berlin and was included in The Story of Film, the definitive history of cinema, while Chahine went on to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from Cannes in 1997.
9. Yaaba (Grandmother)
Late Burkina Faso filmmaker Idrissa Ouedraogo came to international attention in 1989 with Yaaba (Grandmother), the story of two children who make friends with an old woman who has been outcast as a witch by her village.
At Cannes that year, Yaaba shared the FIPRESCI Critics’ Prize with Steven Soderbergh’s Sex, Lies and Videotape and also took a Special Mention from the Ecumenical Jury.
In Kenya, Showmax Mobile is Ksh. 300 per month, Showmax Pro Ksh. 2,100 per month and Showmax Pro Mobile is Ksh. 1,050.