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Local is lekker: Must-watch South African series and films on Netflix

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South Africa is teeming with talent and the showbiz industry is gearing up to be an international contender. With stories that are authentic, moving, heartbreaking and insightful: Mzansi has so much to showcase and Netflix took notice. 

The streaming platform has a plethora of South African shows and films that are well worth watching, it's almost our duties as citizens of this continent to consumer as much of this content as possible. 

From Joburg, to Cape Town, the settings of these creations are extremely dynamic. 

While some may believe that the series and films to come out of the country have to be of strife, hardship and crime this list proves this isn's always the case. There are many shows that go beyond the stereotypes of "darkest Africa." 

Seriously Single and Blood and Water are just two examples of how South Africa can portray romance and mystery as easily as anywhere else in the world. It's not all doom and gloom down here, if you're looking to dip your toe into SA, these 7 shows and films are a good place to start. 

1. Tsotsi (2005)

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Based on a novel by Athol Fugard of the same name, Tsotsi is an Academy Award-winning film that is a must-see for cinema lovers, it won the highest film award for a reason. 'Tsotsi' is based in Alexandra, Johannesburg (RSA) and follows a young criminal who steals a car, then discovers a baby in the backseat. The film is raw, violent and an insight to the reality of many South Africans who have been forced to live a life of crime. 

2. Blood Lions (2015)

If you have a heart and a conscience this documentary will both boil your blood and bring you to tears. Think the Cove, but rather than dolphins being slaughtered, it's lions bread in captivity for canned hunting. Sadly this trade is legal in South Africa but only under certain circumstances. It is an insight into a revolting trade that needs to be brought to an end.

3. Kalushi (2016)

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Kalushi tells the story of one of South Africa's liberation icons: Solomon Mahlangu. It's not often that struggle heroes other than Nelson Mandela make it on screen and Mahalngu's story deserved this deep dive.

 It follows Mahlangu in 1976 when he is 19 and working as a street hawker. After he is beaten by police during the Soweto Uprising and after living in exile, he returns home to make history.

4. The Letter Reader (2019)

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This coming of age short film follows 12-year-old Siyabonga, a young boy who travels to KwaZulu-Natal from Johnnesburg to live with his grandmother in her village. He finds himself as a letter reader for the community he now resides in. Follow his journey as he falls in love with one of the recipients. 

5. Seriously Single (2020)

Seriously Single Netflix

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Seriously Single is as romcom as it gets. It is brilliant, local and easy to relate to. When Dineo is broken up with by her boyfriend on Valentine's Day, her curiosity gets the best of her. Social media can be a handy tool to keep up with those we have severed ties with in real life and Dineo goes through the most in this upbeat, fun-to-watch movie.

6. Queen Sono (2020)

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Who doesn't love an action-packed spy film? Especially one whose purpose it is to better the lives of African citizens? Mix in some personal life drama and you have Queen Sono. Rather than fixating on South Africa's past, this series draws from it, shedding light on the effects it has on South Africa's present. 

7. Blood and Water (2020) 

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This one is a proudly South African teen drama meets mystery. Set in Cape Town, a teen becomes fixated on proving that a private-school swimming star is actually her sister who was abducted at birth from the hospital. 

It includes the classic high school drama and one or two true stories, Blood & Water is addictive even though it is a little overrated. 

8.8 (2020) 

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Nothing is scarier than something you know, especially a mix of folklore and mythology. South African horror fans can now experience a horror closer to home with the local spine-chilling film, 8

8 tells the story of William Ziel, his wife Sarah and their adopted niece, Mary. They move into the farmhouse he inherits from his estranged father, and meet a mysterious local outcast Lazarus, who carries a dark secret.