As the premiere of the highly-anticipated remake of the iconic 1986 series “Shaka Zulu” approaches on Sunday, 18 June 2023, discussions around the casting choices have come to the forefront.
The promotional campaign for the series has been ongoing since December 2022, with lead and executive producer Nomzamo Mbatha actively involved in promoting the joint venture with Bomb Production.
Recently, it was brought to attention that acclaimed actor Lemogang Tsipa, a Motswana of tribal origin, will be portraying the adult version of the legendary Zulu king.
This revelation sparked a debate about the suitability of a SeSotho-speaking actor playing the role of Shaka Zulu.
Lemogang Tsipa has garnered recognition in the film and television industry over the past three years, impressing audiences with his talent and dedication to his craft. However, the announcement of his role in portraying Shaka Zulu has ignited excitement and raised concerns simultaneously.
One social media user pointed out that Lemogang is not umZulu, but rather a SeSotho speaker from a different tribe.
It's called acting, chief.
Idris Elba, Morgan Freeman, Laurence Fishburne, Terrence Howard, etc… they all played as Nelly M. pic.twitter.com/jIBHGLMxlY
— L E S E D I (@_Hybreed_) May 26, 2023
The comment insinuated that casting a SeSotho-speaking actor as the iconic Zulu king might be problematic. However, the ensuing comments and replies on the post revealed a supportive sentiment from South Africans defending the actor’s portrayal of the character.
The debate surrounding Lemogang Tsipa’s casting as Shaka Zulu brings to light the complexities of representation and cultural authenticity in the entertainment industry.
While some may question the choice, it is important to consider the actor’s talent, dedication, and the creative vision behind the production.