Meet the Ngemas!
“South Africans will root for them, cry for them and cheer for them.”
Scandal! producer Ilse van Hemert tells us more about the new Zulu-speaking family, the Ngemas, who joined the show.
There is a new family on Scandal!, tell us about them?
The Ngema’s are a classic Zulu-speaking, KZN family who has moved to Soweto. We believe most viewers will be able to identify with them culturally. This family consist of a mother (Zinziwe),a father (Mlungisi) and their two kids, Scelo and Lindiwe, who are lucky to have parents most kids dream of. Mlungisi is a strict father and his greatest wish is to provide for his family, teach them values and give them the best possible education. This family has flaws like any other but they are always there for each other.
What kind of family is the Ngema family?
The Ngema’s are a working class family which is pitched as a heroic family even though they are not wealthy or professionals. They are the kind of family that viewers can admire and would want to say ‘we want to be like them.’ We don’t hold them as a perfect family but their respect for each other, culture and the importance of family is great. The mother is a domestic worker and the father is a driver.
What brings the Ngema’s to Joburg?
The father, Mlungisi, was offered a job in Joburg with a better salary. He also noticed that his son Scelo is gifted academically and in sport and wanted to broaden his horizons.
How will their lives be changed and challenged?
They will be culturally exposed to other language groups. The parents feel that their values are tested in a more deeply urban environment. They are desperately trying to protect their kids from being exposed to the dangers of teen pregnancy and crime and other pressures young people are faced with.
Why add a new family?
We had more than one reason, Scandal! didn’t have a family with teenagers in it, so we felt that was lacking in our soapie. We decided this was the direction to focus more on, working-class plots that truly depict stories of our viewers. Secondly, we saw that we were not attracting the KZN viewers and we wanted to bring them on-board. The last reason was to celebrate the millions of people who keep their family together through hard work.
What’s in store for the Ngema family?
No matter how hard they try to do the right thing, they will be severely tested. A financial crisis will see their kids doing unethical things to try and help their parents. Scelo will also get himself into trouble with a streetwise Joburg girl. The stories will be heart-wrenching, the joys and grieves of a good family warding off all the ills of the world.
What lessons can viewers take from this family?
They are our mothers and fathers, brothers and sister, this family will represent a large part of us. If we stick to this story we will get to learn from them on how to make it despite having the odds against us. South Africans will root for them, cry for them and cheer for them.