JIVA! An African series at its finest
Warning: this article contains spoilers…
When we think about Africa, it’s hard not to imagine its polyrhythmic dances and special moves that allow the mind and body to just follow the beating of the drums. South Africa has become a country in which the creation of dynamic dance moves is booming, from the classic pantsula to the modern bhenga.
Jiva! (2021) is Netflix’s new series, which premiered worldwide on 24th June. It has an amazing production, 100% African. It’s writer, director and producer Busisiwe Ntintili, has a long career in the world of cinema: she’s known for Intersexions (2017) and Happiness Is a Four-letter Word (2016). The series also counts with the participation of other famous directors like Scottnes L. Smith, Mandla Dube, and the award-winning Mmabatho Montsho.
In its first season, Jiva! makes us learn about South African dances, like amapiano, sbhujwa and bhenga, showing us the cultural wealth of the country. Set on Umlazi (Durban), Jiva! tell us the story of Ntombi (Noxolo Dlamini), a young dancer with family issues, a dead-end job and a whole lot of bad romantic experiences. While dealing with all of this, she enters a dance competition in which she will have to face her rivals, who will do everything in their power to sabotage her dream of becoming a great dancer. Will she be able to make her passion a career? We will soon find out.
On the other hand, with a light touch, the series addresses politics, corruption and poverty. Drama will have a key role in relationships, feuds and costume designs. Dancing is on every single shot showing color, music, energy and joy. The mix of styles in the clothes they wear allow us to really experience African traditions and even the culture of hip-hop. Moreover, we can also appreciate designer’s logos with a touch of glamour.
We still don’t know if Jiva! will have a second season, but if it does, it’s expected to come back in 2022. What we do know for sure is that Netflix is giving visibility to African talents by producing more series in the continent, and we love it.
Add Jiva! to your playlist so you don’t miss it! And don’t forget to leave us a comment telling us what did you like the most about the series.