Deadline is exclusively reporting that Charles Babalola, Aïssa Maïga, Thando Dlomo, Thapelo Mokoena and Warren Masemola have signed up to star in the epic drama series King Shaka at Showtime, which is being executive produced by Antoine Fuqua.
King Shaka (formerly known as Shaka: King of the Zulu Nation) will centre around one man’s personal journey from stigmatised childhood to warrior king. Rooted in actual events, the series tells the story of Shaka, the founder of the Zulu Empire and his unlikely rise to power, uniting multiple tribes across vast stretches of southern Africa in the early 19th century to transform his power into legend. The outcast son of a Zulu Chief, Shaka is a visionary who is prophesied to become a king like none before him.
Charles Babalola (who credits include The Outlaws and Gretel & Hansel) will be playing the title role. Aïssa Maïga (whose credits include The Fear Index and He Even Has Your Eyes) will be playing the role of Nandi, Shaka’s devoted mother who will sacrifice everything to fulfil her son’s destiny. Thando Dlomo (whose credits include The Woman King and Sincerely, Camille) will be playing the role of Pampatha, a herder who finds her fate forever entwined with Shaka’s. Thapelo Mokoena (whose credits include Bulletproof: South Africa and Pulse) will be playing the role of Gendeyana, a Qwabe leader who grows close to Shaka and Nandi. Warren Masemola (whose credits include Blood Psalms and Tjovitjo) will be playing the role of Magazwa, who provides safe haven to Shaka and Nandi but at a cost.
Olu Odebunmi and Tolu Awosika, creators, writers, and executive producers of the series, released a statement saying:
This outstanding international cast is, quite literally, a dream team. The powerful story of King Shaka and the Zulu Nation speaks to the very heart of everything we identify with as Africans. It’s a blessing and honour to share the greatness of the Zulu people’s history with a full and nuanced approach that serves as a microcosm for African history across the continent. We couldn’t be more excited to reintroduce this narrative from the perspective of its own people and share it with the world.
King Shaka is set to commence production next month in the historic KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) South Africa province, the birthplace of King Shaka, and will be completely shot in South Africa. King Shaka is set to debut on Showtime in 2023.