Nigeria has overtaken Hollywood in the film industry, closing the gap with India (the global leader in the number of movies produced each year). Nigerian production companies release movies every other day. However, there has been a need for reality TV shows that are proudly African.
AN AFRICAN NETFLIX PRODUCTION
A new wave appeared on screens across the world on March 18th when Netflix launched and debuted Young, Famous, and African. The series follows a group of affluent, young, and famous socialites and media stars in Johannesburg. From flirting, to squad goals, fashion and drama, this reality show has taken Joburg by storm. The seven episodes were produced and shot in South Africa – Sandton. It was no surprise that this production would land in Sandton as this is the richest square mile in Africa. The crème’ de la crème live in Sandton, but not everyone can afford to, this location is for big girls and boys only!
The primary member of the show and mutual friend to the cast is the South African actress, and socialite Khanyi Mbau, who is the ultimate OG of South Africa. She grew up in the spotlight and always lived a lavish life.
Next up, we saw Nadia Nakai, one of the top celebrated South African millennial female rappers of our time. Nadia’s entrance on the show seemed somehow shocking to many, but the star was dating American rapper Vic Mensa this season and that brought a lot of attention to her private life. Nadia however announced towards the end of season one that the relationship had ended, an opportunity for Diamond Platnumz to finally shoot his shot perhaps? Diamond has the biggest crush on the rapper, he went as far as asking her to choose a car for him. Nadia who seems to be falling into Diamond’s web was also flirting and even created a name for them, “CSquarred”.
Diamond is a Tanzanian musician – also known as “The Player”, who’s also apart of the cast. In his professional career, he is a successful Afrobeats/Afro-pop musician who also runs businesses in East Africa. We could say Diamond’s presence in the show definitely is vital, he is Zari’s baby daddy, and a friend to most of the guys on the show. However, he’s also openly attracted to cast-mate, Nadia. Is he bringing the drama? We’ll definitely find out!
Naked DJ and his girlfriend Kayleigh Schwark are also in the mix. We haven’t seen much of their individual lives however, there seems to be trouble in paradise. The couple gave us a glimpse into their therapy session, where Kayleigh spoke about Naked’s listening problem, and him saying she’s a dictator. Some issues discussed between the couple and their friends include Miss Schwark telling Khanyi and Nadia that Naked asked her to stop being insecure. A statement both Khanyi and Nadia said they hate!
Swanky Jerry told the model and fitness trainer to give Naked some space. He advised her to spend 2 days instead of staying the whole week at his place. Jerry’s advice came after she was broken over the fact that Naked did’nt speak to her for more than 7 days after they had a fight which led to Naked not being in attendance on one of the group events, drama!
Now about Zari Hassan, aka Zari. The Bosslady is a Ugandan musician and businesswoman who lives and runs her businesses in South Africa. Zari is also an Instagram sensation who butted heads with Khanyi big time this season. Khanyi felt she treats the cast like they are her fans. She has 5 kids, 3 from her previous marriage, and 2 by Diamond Platinums. However, this is not keeping Andile away from Zari. He hasn’t been able to keep his hands off her since they met and he fails miserably at hiding his feelings for her despite being close friends with Diamond. We don’t know much about bro code but this is a big no!
Andile Ncube is a radio and TV presenter as well as an artist manager. He’s been in the industry for years. The media personality seems to have put on an amazing event which is in the upcoming season two.
We’ve also met Annie Idibia, 2Baba’s wife, who made a debut in the series together with her hubby. She’s a Nigerian actress who’s got more than 10 feature films. She’s also a presenter and businesswoman. The couple has been the topic of this season following Annie speaking openly about her man’s continuous infidelity. She was explaining the complexity of their relationship. He’s allegedly expecting his 8th child outside their marriage. This has caused the public to judge Annie’s decision to stay with 2Baba. Annie’s hubby aka Innocent, proposed on the show and had a lavish vow renewal ceremony for Annie.
THE MOST STYLISH
The last member is Swanky. Swanky Jerry as he’s known as a famous Nigerian award-winning celebrity stylist. His debut in the show was definitely a statement. He is always serving Haute looks! Swanky appears as Annie’s sidekick but he gels with everyone. His flamboyant style and fashion sense have inspired the look of the show and definitely given us a reason to watch!
Season 1 ended and there are so many funny, amazing, and shady moments to highlight. After binging this show, there were some moments that definitely stood out. Khanyi and Khudzi’s bedroom pianist? Talk about levels! Zari’s Blue Train Gatsby event definitely divided the cast, but Andile’s relationship with her seems to be heating up, so she won’t be an outcast, yet! However, will Diamond accept his boy dating his baby mama? It seems he doesn’t mind at all. If you follow this cast on Instagram, you’ll realize how interactive they all are in each other’s posts. However, some of their comments make you wonder if the show is what they make it to be, real or fully scripted.
Now, let’s address the trolls. Over the past week, social media has been in a frenzy over the wigs worn by the ladies in the show; the ladies trended for having bad hair. American TikToker, Champ Bailie, went as far as comparing these wigs to those of Love & Hip ATL which she says “is really bad with the hair, but this show ain’t got nothing on them”. Obviously, this is appalling because these are high profile women, and hair and makeup are something they can afford. So do we blame the production team for not keeping up the appearance? Was it just a bad hair season or are these ladies not who they think they are?
Here’s a fun fact to consider: Nigeria has a high economy in the beauty industry. It ranks second highest in beauty and cosmetics in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to Sellox Inc. Both Ghana and Nigeria boast about quality MUAs and Wigologists, therefore with season 2 on its way, our girls can eat those wigs up!
Overall, Young Famous and African is a fabulous show, highly recommendable! South Africa finally has an international platform that unites and celebrates African creatives, socialites, and media personalities all in one space. Plus with Netflix’s new investment in South African film and TV industry, we are excited to see more productions thriving. The international streaming service announced the R900-million investment at the 4th annual South African Investment Conference. It is said that four productions will come from the commitment — three local and one international — all to be filmed in South Africa by 2023.