Some have called it South Africa’s own version of the American television series Devious Maids. While there are some similarities between the two shows, I have opted to call it some pretty good local storytelling.
Premiering two weeks ago on DStv channel 103 (One Magic) on Saturdays at 8pm, Housekeepers stars radio DJ and all-round entertainer Thando Thabethe in the role of aspiring legal eagle Linda Ndlovu, who is on a mission after something terrible happens to her mother.
“Ndlovu will see tables turn in a world behind high walls and luxury, where the wealthy may believe they are powerful in the comfort of their mansions, when in fact it is the housekeepers who see all and know all,” it added.
Thabethe said it was a role she was excited about. However, she didn’t have too much time to prepare for it. To be honest with you, we don’t have the luxury, as they have in America, of having lots of time to use to prepare for roles.
“But for me, the point was that she lives in these different worlds, as the daughter Linda Ndlovu, and then there’s her as the helper/housekeeper. It was really just me trying to understand how she tackles the two roles, understanding how she would behave for instance in the Zwide household and what she’s like in her real life,” she said.
As we’ve watched the first two episodes, one of the important aspects of the story is that it tells the story of people who exist on the periphery of the everyday lives of many South Africans. These people are the support staff. The housekeepers and the gardeners.
This is one of the things that Thabethe said attracted her to the story.
“First, it was written by Portia Gumede, and Amanda Lane was going to direct it, so at that point, I was like sold. It was also something that has not been told in the South African context, where we live with people, and it’s like they’re part of the furniture.
This show kind of reminds you that they are people. And that they can change your life,” she said.