After a long wait, the eagerly anticipated African fantasy Blood Psalms series release date has finally been confirmed, according to an update by Showmax on Wednesday (17 August).
Showmax has also released a trailer for what promises to be an epic and action packed series. The cast includes several award-winning actors too.
‘Blood Psalms’ series release date
According to Showmax, the Blood Psalms series release date is 28 September 2022, with new episodes every Wednesday for 11 weeks. It will also have its world premiere in Cape Town on Wednesday, 24 August 2022 as the opening night screening at MIP Africa, part of FAME Week Africa.
The series is themed in Ancient Africa, one thousand years after the fall of Atlantis, where the five surviving houses of Kemet find themselves beset with fears of a prophesied end of days.
The Blood Psalms cast is led by Bokang Phelane (Keeping Score, Isidingo), who has the role of a lifetime as Princess Zazi, a fiercely determined teenage princess who must navigate primordial curses, long-standing ancestral vendettas, and her inexplicable role as the damning prophecy’s chief harbinger.
Mothusi Magano, winner of four SAFTAs and an African Movie Academy Award, plays her father, mad king Letsha, while SAFTA winner and 2022 DSTV Mzansi Viewers’ Choice nominee Zolisa Xaluva (Gomora, Knuckle City) plays General Toka, the head of her father’s Akachi army.
The trailer gives us our first glimpses of the star-studded cast, which includes SAFTA winners Bongile Mantsai (Knuckle City), Hamilton Dlamini (Five Fingers For Marseilles), Hlubi Mboya (Isidingo), S’dumo Mtshali (iNumber Number, Is’thunzi), Siv Ngesi (DAM), Thishiwe Ziqubu (The Imposter), and Warren Masemola (The Republic).
Other actors are SAFTA nominees Enhle Mbali Mlotshwa (Rockville), Niza Jay (The Wound), Richard Lukunku (Happiness Is A Four-Letter Word), Sello Maake kaNcube (The Herd), Thando Thabethe (Reyka), Thembekile Komani (Knuckle City) and Zikhona Sodlaka (The Wife).
Africa Movie Academy Award (AMAA) nominee Faniswa Yisa (Knuckle City, DAM) and the likes of Faith Baloyi (Flatland), Lemogang Tsipa (Shaka Ilembe), and Thabo Rametsi (Kalushi, Silverton Siege) also feature.
What to expect
“Blood Psalms is the biggest and most ambitious series we’ve ever made, completely unlike any other African series you’ve ever seen,” says Nomsa Philiso, executive head: programming at MultiChoice. “We couldn’t be more excited.”
“This show was specifically created as a reimagining of ourselves as Africans, as an answer to ‘Who are we?’” says Phelane. “It’s done in a very entertaining way, with a lot of drama and action.”
“Blood Psalms is a heck of a ride and it’s never been done before,” says Magano. “For Africans, mostly, our history goes back 200 years. That’s what we’ve been given, and it’s from Western perspectives. We really don’t know anything much about our own history. So Blood Psalms poses a lot of questions and will give people a lot to think about.”
“I got to witness the greats at work,” says Phelane. “The cast is filled with actors who have inspired me from quite early on in my life to pursue acting.”
“One thing that was brilliant for us was no use of an English word, whatsoever,” says Maake kaNcube. “That was a big challenge even for a lot of actors, you know, because most of the time we are used to performing and doing a mixture of African languages and English. This time, the dialogue is purely in African languages.”
Team behind the series
The show’s creators are Layla Swart and Jahmil X.T. Qubeka from Yellowbone Entertainment. They were also responsible for South Africa’s 2020 Oscar entry, Knuckle City, which was the most awarded film at the 2020 SAFTAs.
Qubeka is a Peabody Award-winning filmmaker, whose films have screened at Toronto, Rotterdam, London, and Pusan, among other festivals, and earned good reviews everywhere from Guardian to Variety, Globe and Mail to The Hollywood Reporter.
His films include Of Good Report, which won seven SAFTAs, including Best Film and Best Director; South African Oscar entry Sew The Winter To My Skin, which won three SAFTAs, including Best Film, as well as the Artistic Achievement Prize at Luxor African Film Festival; and Stillborn, which won the SAFTA for Best Short Film.
“What we’re trying to do is to reclaim the continent’s history from an African perspective,” says Swart. “Blood Psalms draws from elements of a multitude of African mythologies and looks at various different tribes in Season 1 – the Akachi, the Uchawi, the Ku’ua, the Chini, and Great Nziwemabwe – as they migrated south from Kemet, which is now Egypt, and formed their cultures.”
The series is a Showmax Original in partnership with CANAL+, the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, the Eastern Cape Economic Development Corporation (ECDC) and the MultiChoice Innovation Fund.