It is no secret that South Africans are fun-loving people. While the nation has its downsides, its citizens find ways to keep themselves happy and entertained. South African soapies provide the much-needed break and relaxation that many South Africans crave. Most of these soapies tell very relatable stories besides entertaining the audience.
Phathutshedzo Makwarela has often been described as South Africa’s “chief storyteller.” While this can be up for debate considering his age and how far the country’s entertainment industry has come, Makwarela has, however, carved an enviable niche for himself in South Africa’s entertainment industry. He remains a renowned scriptwriter and producer, considering how extremely successful his TV shows have been.
Phathutshedzo Makwarela was Born in Mamvuka, Limpopo, 37 Years Ago
The 37 producer was born and raised in Mamvuka, Limpopo. His parents were both educators at the time he was born. His father was a headteacher while his mother managed a preschool. Being raised by educators meant young Makwarela had access to books from an early age. This early exposure to books helped instill a love for reading and writing in him, which contributed immensely to his career as a creative writer and producer.
Makwarela had his high school education at S.J. Van Der Merwe Technical High School in Lebowakgomo, Limpopo, where he matriculated with excellent grades with motor mechanics as a concentration. Having completed Grade 12, it was time to proceed to varsity. His parents had hoped he would pursue a career in engineering as this was the idea behind sending him to a technical school. He, however, enrolled at the Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, to study TV and Film Production, albeit with his parents’ blessing.
The famous scriptwriter lives a very private life that leaves his fans and the public at large guessing and cooking up conspiracies about his personal life. There is little information about his parents and siblings (if any). He has also kept secret his relationship status and any romantic involvements.
He is a Talented Scriptwriter and Producer
Phathutshedzo Makwarela’s interest in television and entertainment began way before he completed high school. His love for television was born from watching Anthony Thobejane’s Sepedi drama series, Bophelo ke Semphekgo, which sparked his initial passion for television. This passion was further nurtured by the original series of Generations, which aired between 1993 and 2014. Makwarela’s decided to make his dreams real when he became an intern at Soul City. During his internship, he was equally a writer for Muvhango. These marked his debut into showbiz.
His breakthrough into the industry came when Ferguson Films – owned by late Shona and Connie Ferguson – hired him and Gwydion Beynon, his business partner, as head writers for their M-Net project, Rockville, in 2013. This was a big deal as they were both new in the industry. It also launched Makwarela into M-Net. Although Connie and Shona Ferguson created the show, the script was written by Phathutshedzo Makwarela and Gwydion Beynon, with Linda Bere, Chisanga Kabinga, Pamela Power, and Sibusiso Mamba.
Upon the expiration of his contract with Ferguson Films, Makwarela and Beynon formed a strong business alliance, which culminated in the founding of Tshedza Pictures. The creative duo has produced some of South Africa’s most viewed soap operas and telenovelas under Tshedza Pictures. Indeed, Phathutshedzo Makwarela is renowned for scriptwriting.
What Are Phathutshedzo Makwarela’s Best works So Far?
It is close to impossible to pinpoint any of Makwarela’s work as best among the rest. This is because he has a record of delivering stories that go well beyond the expectations of his audience. Although most of Phathutshedzo Makwarela’s famous soapies are co-created with Beynon, there is no gainsaying that he has helped to change the face of storytelling in South Africa by proving that there’s no better person to tell the stories of black South Africans than black South Africans.
Soapies such as The Republic fetched him accolades for daring to tell a story that reflects the political space in South Africa. The show mirrors the intrigues and corruption that surround the political sphere. The Republic is remarkable for giving South Africa her first female president, albeit on screen. Legacy is also another soap opera that endeared him to the public. The show revolves around the Price family and the fierce battle for succession at the Price empire following the death of the family’s patriarch. We cannot forget the suspense-packed telenovela The Queen, a bold dive into the dark side of the South African nation- the mafia world of drug lords.
Phathutshedzo Makwarela’s soap operas have earned him fame, love, and admiration of his country people because his stories resonate with the people. They can relate to the content he creates, which accounts for the incredible viewership his shows enjoy. His attention to detail and infusion of realism into fiction is also noteworthy.
Did Phathutshedzo Makwarela Write The River?
1Magic’s award-winning telenovela, The River, was created by Phathutshedzo Makwarela and his long-time business partner, Gwydion Beynon. The show has been a tremendous success since it premiered on January 29, 2018. It was produced by Tshedza Pictures for M-Net Productions.
The River counts as one of Makwarela’s most successful works. The story focuses on the country’s mining sector and explores the extent to which the very rich and powerful can go to maintain their luxurious lifestyles. It also mirrors how a blessing can suddenly turn into a curse if in the wrong hands.
Phathutshedzo Makwarela Has Received Several Awards and Recognitions
Phathutshedzo Makwarela is a multiple award-winning writer and producer. His works have received several award nominations and won some reputable awards. The River, for instance, has won numerous awards, some of which are the South African Films and Television Awards (SAFTA) 2019 awards for Best Telenovela, Best Achievement in Wardrobe – Telenovela, and Best Achievement in Hair & Make-Up – Telenovela. The show was also nominated for Best Telenovela in the 47th International Emmy Awards, which shows that Makwarela’s dream of showcasing the African stories by Africans to the world has become a reality.
In the years following 2019, The River has equally scooped several SAFTAs and garnered some for Makwarela and his cast and crew. In 2020, The Queen picked up two of The Royalty Soapie Awards for Outstanding Lighting and Outstanding Wardrobe. The phenomenal Makwarela co-won the Golden Horn Award for Best Achievement in Scriptwriting – Telenovela for 2019, 2020, and 2021.