‘Queen Sono’ is the drama series South Africa deserves

Queen Sono is Netflix’s first scripted African series, and is described as an “action-packed drama following a highly trained top spy in a South African agency”.

You may recall that Shadow was released in 2019, but keep in mind that Netflix only acquired Shadow after it had already been made.

Queen Sono, on the other hand, is a fully produced African Original series with an all African cast and crew and was in production for over eight weeks.

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The show was created by Kagiso Lediga, written by Karabo Lediga, Camilo Saloojee, Christopher Steenkamp and Muzi Dlamini. In addition, Kagiso Lediga and Tebogo Malope both directed three episodes each.

Queen Sono plot

Our heroine, Queen Sono, “works with her skilled team to kick-ass and save the lives of African citizens.” While taking on her most dangerous mission yet, she must also face changing relationships in her personal life. 

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Queen had lost her mother at a young age, and while I can’t give vital plot points and spoilers away, losing her mother – as well as her mother’s legacy – greatly impacts her personal and professional life.

It’s about time South Africa gets the heroine it deserves. Honestly, no one else could have done the role of Queen Sono justice. Pearl Thusi brings the highly-trained South African spy to life.

Watch: Queen Sono official trailer

Queen Sono cast

Joining Thusi in the six-part season is a star-studded cast; including Vuyo Dabula, Kate Liquorish, Chi Mhende, Khathu Ramabulana, Enhle Mbali Mlotshwa, Loyiso Madinga, Rob Van Vuuren and Ma’ Abigail Kubeka.

The series – directed by Tebogo Malope and Kagiso Lediga – features 37 locations in and around Johannesburg, including Sandton, JHB CBD and Soweto. Some scenes were also filmed in Lagos, Kenya and Zanzibar.

Furthermore, viewers can expect diverse languages throughout the series. Other than English, spoken dialects include Xhosa, Russian, Afrikaans, Zulu, French, and Sepitori (Pretoria Tswana or Pretoria Sotho).

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Netflix in Africa

Netflix ordered a second Original series soon after Queen Sono was confirmed, showing that the streaming giant has faith in Africa’s production teams. The second series was picked up before production even started on Queen Sono.

Nosipho Dumisa will direct Blood & Water. It’s a highly regarded up-and-coming director worldwide after the critical success of Nommer 37.

In addition, Netflix’s vice president of international original, Erik Barmack, said back in 2018 that he is excited “to be working with Kagiso and Pearl, to bring the story of Queen Sono to life”.

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Barmack also expressed his hopes that South African and global audiences will embrace the show; and promised that viewers would see more African stories make it to the global stage:

“Over time, our roots will get deeper in Africa and South Africa; we’re moving pretty quickly to that now, and plan to invest more in local content.”

Queen Sono premiers globally in 190 countries on the 28 February 2020. 

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