May is Africa month, a time when the continent commemorates the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1963. This pioneering moment made Africa the first continent to focus on continental unity through an organisation of this kind. 

Culturally, as South Africans, we’ve been historically fed more TV from Hollywood and Britain than the rest of Africa, but pan-African streamers like Showmax are changing this, making it easier than ever to explore our continent from the couch.  

Here’s a taste of what the rest of the continent is watching: 

THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF LAGOS S1 | Nigeria

The Real Housewives of Lagos was the only title to crack the Showmax Most-Streamed of 2022 lists in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, where it even topped the Twitter charts. 

The first Nigerian edition of the hit NBCUniversal Formats reality TV show franchise follows the opulent lives of six of the most glamorous women in Africa’s largest megacity: businesswoman Carolyna Hutchings, lawyer and luxury hair brand owner Chioma Ikokwu, Nollywood actress Iyabo Ojo, influencer Laura Ikeji-Kanu, PR expert Mariam Timmer, and celebrity stylist Toyin Lawani-Adebayo. In true Lagos style, they served up all the high fashion, luxury, drama, and power-moves that the franchise is known and loved for globally.

This weekend, the Showmax Original is up for Best Television Series at the 2023 Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards, as well as Best Cinematographer, Lighting Designer and Costume Designer. 

If you’ve already binged Lagos, look out for The Real Housewives of Abuja’s two-part reunion, which starts this Friday, 19 May 2023, hosted by Akah Nnani, and The Real Housewives of Nairobi reunion, hosted by Fareed Khimani, starting on Thursday, 1 June 2023. 

A number of other Nigerian hits on Showmax are nominated at the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCAs) this weekend, including Best Telenovela nominees Covenant and Itura; Best Drama Series nominees RicordiThe Rishantes, and Unmarried; and Best Comedy Series nominees My FlatmatesMy Siblings and I, and The Johnsons

SINGLE KIASI S1-2 | Kenya

Nominated for Best Television Series at this weekend’s AMVCAs, Single Kiasi follows three women in Nairobi – Sintamei, Mariah and Rebecca – as they go through the ups and downs of marriage, relationships, and their careers. Even when their worlds crumble, they will always have each other.

Directed by Insignia Productions’ duo Grace Kahaki and Philippe Bresson, Single Kiasi stars Gathoni Mutua in a Kalasha-nominated role as Sintamei; Minne Kariuki (Ma’Empress) as Mariah; and Faith Kibathi (This Is Life) as Rebecca. Single Kiasi was also up for the Viewers’ Choice Award for TV Drama at the 2022 Kalasha Awards. 

A Showmax #1 in Kenya, which also charted in South Africa, Single Kiasi is one of the two Kenyan nominees for Best Series at the 2023 AMVCAs, alongside political thriller County 49. In addition to The Real Housewives of Lagos, they’ll also be competing with two other Showmax Originals from Nigeria: drama series Flawsome and psychological thriller Diiche. Three other hit Kenyan shows on Showmax are also nominated this weekend: Njoro Wa Uba is up for Best Comedy,  Pete is up for Best Drama, and Salem is up for Best Telenovela. 

BLIND AMBITION | Zimbabwe

The inspiring story of four Zimbabwean refugees who conquered the odds to become top South African sommeliers, the heartwarming documentary film Blind Ambition won the Audience Award at the Tribeca and Sydney film festivals, among others. 

Forming Zimbabwe’s first-ever wine tasting team, the four set their sights on the coveted title of World Wine Tasting Champions and, from the moment they arrive in France to compete, this team of mavericks turns an establishment of privilege and tradition on its head.

Blind Ambition has a 100% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw writing, “It’s impossible not to smile along with this feelgood documentary.”

THE BILLIONAIRE’S WIFE | Ghana

Adepa (newcomer Andriana Akua Amegbor) is a 19-year-old woman from the slums of Ashaiman who marries an old billionaire (Kingsley Yamoah) with the aim of turning her fortunes around, only to find out that being a billionaire’s wife is the toughest thing she’s ever done.

Directed and produced respectively by Ad-Visors duo Danny Adotey and Collins Amlalo, The Billionaire’s Wife is now the most-watched title in history on Showmax in Ghana, having topped the charts in Ghana every week during its run. 

At this weekend’s AMVCAs, six hit Ghanaian series on Showmax are in the running for top awards, with Accra MedicDirty Laundry and To Have And To Hold up for Best Drama, Dede up for Best Telenovela, and RSM, also starring Kingsley Yamoah, as well as Co-Habits, up for Best Comedy. 

AFRICA AND I | Morocco

Winner of the Jury Award for Best First Feature Documentary at the 2022 Pan African Film and Arts Festival, Africa and I is a 90-minute documentary about how 20-year-old Othmane Zolati walked, hitchhiked, cycled and skateboarded over 30 000 km across Africa, through 24 countries. He had never left Morocco when he started his nearly four-year journey to Cape Town, South Africa with just $80, a small backpack, and a borrowed cheap pocket camera. 

Saturday Star calls Africa and I “an unrivalled glimpse into life on the continent”, Vamers “a thrilling trip through unseen Africa”, and Spling “exhilarating… a beautiful and stirring mashup of people, culture and places.”

Othmane directs and executive produces Africa and I, using the hundreds of hours of footage he taught himself to shoot along the way. He’s collaborated with a team of award-winning South

African creatives he met at the end of his trip, including co-director Chris Green (writer and producer on SAFTA winner Chasing the Sun and co-showrunner of the two-time International Emmy-nominated MasterChef South Africa) and Both Worlds, the production company behind the two-time International Emmy-nominated Puppet Nation ZA

BLACK GIRL | Senegal

Named one of the top 100 films of all time in Sight & Sound’s once-a-decade 2022 critics’ poll, Ousmane Sembène’s debut 1966 film, Black Girl is the story of a young Senegalese woman who is employed as a governess for a French family in Dakar and moves with them to the Riviera, where her comfortable duties as a nanny in a wealthy household are replaced by the drudgery and indignities of a maid. 

Black Girl won the Tanit d’Or at Carthage in 1966, among other prizes; was ranked joint fourth on the Tarifa-Tangiers African Film Festival’s list of the 10 best African films of all time; and was hailed by Oscar winner Martin Scorcese (The Irishman) as “an astonishing movie.” 

As Kiva Reardon, the former Toronto International Film Festival lead programmer for contemporary world cinema, who is now VP of Film at Pastel, the filmmaking collective co-founded by Oscar winner Barry Jenkins, says, “In only 59 minutes, Ousmane Sembène eviscerates the myth of ‘liberté, égalité, fraternité ’. Blistering in its examination of so-called postcolonialism, the film’s rigour also speaks to Sembène’s brilliant craft.”

Showmax has a wide range of other African classics, including Kenya’s Sundance winner Softie and GLAAD winner Rafikinot to mention Berlin winners Madame Brouette and Alexandria Why?; Cannes winners Mooladé and Yaaba; Venice winners Camp de Thiaroye and Nha Fala / My Voice My Voice; and FESPACO Grand Prize winners like Au Nom Du Christ, Buud YamHeritage Africa and Identity Pieces | Pièces d’identités

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL

Other African hits on Showmax nominated at this weekend’s AMVCAs include Zambia’s Uncle Limbani, up for Best Comedy, and Mpali, up for Best Telenovela, as well as Tanzania’s Huba, up for Best Telenovela, and Pazia, up for Best Drama, not to mention Uganda’s Prestige, up for Best Telenovela. 

EVERYTHING ON SHOWMAX IN MAY 2023

To see everything on Showmax in May 2023, including HBO’s true-crime series Love & Death, starring Elizabeth Olsen, 2023 Oscar nominees Elvis and Triangle of Sadness, and the international acclaimed Sally Andrew adaptation Recipes for Love and Murder, click here.

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