Hit reality shows flaunt African glitz and glamor

JOHANNESBURG, May 20 (Reuters) – Dripping with champagne, diamonds and scathing dialogue, two made-in-Africa reality TV series have enthralled viewers on the continent, showcasing luxurious lifestyles that are far from stereotypical images of hardship African.

On Netflix‘s “Young, Famous & African,” a cast of music and showbiz celebrities from across the continent party, flirt, and spar in opulent settings in Johannesburg’s Sandton area, proudly billed as “the richest square mile in Africa”.

Part of an international franchise, Showmax’s “The Real Housewives of Lagos” portrays a group of glamorous and enterprising women seeking to outdo themselves in their lives in Nigeria’s commercial capital.

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“People have this misconception of what Africa is,” said Ugandan businesswoman and socialite Zari Hassan, who as “Zari the Boss Lady” is a key protagonist in the Netflix series. with her ex-partner, Tanzanian music star Diamond Platnumz.

“Why is it only in the United States or Europe where we’re supposed to see the money, the private jets, the Ferraris and everything? We have these things in Africa. This is the new Africa This is modern Africa,” she told Reuters in an interview at her office in Pretoria.

Both series were hits, according to their platforms, and generated huge volumes of comments on social media.

At a recent launch event in Johannesburg for ‘The Real Housewives of Lagos,’ the show’s stars sported sky-high hairstyles, form-fitting party dresses and flashy nail extensions as they posed for photos on the red carpet.

“For us, it was a case of ‘you know what, if they can do it internationally, why can’t we do it locally?'” said Candice Fangueiro, chief content officer at Showmax, during the event.

“We have seen Nigerian women, we know the caliber of women, the lifestyles they live, how exuberant, ostentatious and amazing they are.”

Showmax, part of South African pay-TV group MultiChoice, says the series set a Nigerian record for the most first day views on the platform when it was released in April. Six weeks later, it was still in the top five most-watched series in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa, Showmax said.

According to Netflix, “Young, Famous & African” hit number one on the continent in its first week of release in March and remained in the top 10 for four weeks in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya. .

South African actress Khanyi Mbau, one of the stars of the Netflix series, said that during the gloom of the COVID-19 pandemic, Africa was mostly portrayed as a continent in bad shape, lacking vaccines .

“(The show) came at the right time after the darkness we faced,” she said, speaking on the red carpet at the Housewives launch event.

“If you look at the world, our music, our fashion, it has filtered down to European countries, Americans love what we do. So this show is actually to show us that we really are the homeland. We are the sound, we are the tone.”

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Written by Estelle Shirbon. Editing by Jane Merriman

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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