The River (South African TV series)

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The River
GenreTelenovela, Drama
Created byPhathu Makwarela and Gwydion Beynon
Written by
  • Phathu Makwarela
  • Gwydion Beynon
  • Bonga Percy Vilakazi
Directed byJohnny Barbuzano
Creative director(s)Johnny Barbuzano
Theme music composerBrendan Jury
Opening themeThe River
Composer(s)Brendan Jury
Country of originSouth Africa
Original language(s)English, Setswana, IsiZulu, IsiXhosa
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes407 (as of 21 August 2019)
Executive producer(s)
  • Phathutshedzo Makwarela
  • Gwydion Beynon
Connie Ferguson

Shona Ferguson

Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time22 - 24 Minutes
Original network1 Magic
First shown inSouth Africa
Original release29 January 2018
Related showsThe Queen (South African TV series)
External links

The River is a South African television series created by Phathu Makwarela and Gwydion Beynon [2] which airs on 1Magic on DStv and is available for streaming on Showmax [3]. Sindi Dlathu plays the lead role as the mining magnate Lindiwe Dlamini-Dikana, alongside a star cast that includes Hlomla Dandala, Presley Chweneyagae & Moshidi Motshegwa.

The show is an interpretation of 'the have and the have-nots' chronicling the contrasting lives of Pretoria's elite and poorest.


The River tells the story of Khanyisa Diamonds mine owner Lindiwe Dlamini-Dikana, who is ruthless and calculating [4], and the extent she will go to in order to protect her family and maintain her lavish lifestyle. Lindiwe is married to provincial police commissioner Zweli Dikana, and is a mother to Andile and Mbali Dikana, step-mother to Nomonde Dikana. The Dikanas live in a mansion in Pretoria East, South Africa.

In the township of Refilwe, where Khanyisa Diamonds is located, lives poverty stricken residents, many of whom work at the mine. The Mokoena family, consisting of Malefu Mokoena and her children, Thuso, Dimpho and Itumeleng live in Refilwe. Unbeknownst to everyone except Malefu, Tumi is adopted, being found at a river as a baby by her late adoptive father, Thato Mokoena.

Season 1[edit]

Lindiwe's mine is about to go bankrupt[5], when one of the foremen, Thato Mokoena finds an alluvial diamond, whose worth is later revealed to be $45 million, in the river that runs through the township of Refilwe while fishing. Lindiwe murders Thato Mokoena and places the diamond in her mine for her miners to find, so that the discovery is made in her land, while also covering up the murder.

Malefu Mokoena struggles to raise her children after her husband's death. Her oldest son, Thuso is frequently in and out of jail. Her adopted daughter, Tumi, marries Lindiwe's nephew, Zolani Dlamini, and moves into the Dikana household. Following their wedding, Lindiwe employs Tumi as the CSR Officer at Khanyisa Diamonds. Lindiwe attempts to steal the land in Refilwe to mine, but her plan is foiled when Tumi dissents, realising Lindiwe's intentions.

Malefu discovers Tumi had a hand in Lindiwe's plan. Malefu disowns Tumi and tells her she was adopted, and gives Tumi the one half of a necklace her birthmother left her with. Tumi divorces Zolani, who reveals that Lindiwe killed her father. Tumi and her new boyfriend, Lindani attempt to find evidence by returning to the Dikana mansion and while searching Lindiwe's desk, Tumi discovers Lindiwe is her adoptive mother. Tumi attempts to reach Lindiwe so they can talk, but is kidnapped and taken to the mine, where she is buried alive by Lindiwe, who knows that Zolani told Tumi of Thato Mokoena's murder.

Lindiwe finds Tumi's message and realising she has buried her own child, attempts suicide by shooting herself.

Season 2[edit]

Tumi is rescued by Lindani, while Lindiwe makes a full recovery. Tumi subsequently files charges against Lindiwe. Her quest for justice turns sour, as she becomes the prime suspect in the "attempted murder" of Lindiwe. Subsequently, Lindiwe files charges against Tumi, arguing in court that Tumi is an agent of white monopoly capital sent to destroy her company.

Lindiwe frees Paulina from prison in exchange for Lindani's silence in order to win the case. Her husband finds out she actually did commit the crimes and exiles her to a life of poverty as punishment.

Reeling from her parents divorce and her mothers disappearance, Mbali resorts to drugs and is kidnapped by her dealer while Nomonde takes over as the CEO of Khanyisa Diamonds and Zweli turns to a prostitute for company.

After rescuing Mbali, Zweli informs his children of Lindiwe's misdeeds. In Refilwe, Cobra and Paulina contest an interim ward election after the councillor died from a heart attack. Paulina is set to win until Percy and Oupa plant fake votes in favour of Cobra.

Connra wins the election and invites Paulina to join the Council. Lindiwe resurfaces in Refilwe and takes up refuge in the shack she grew up in. Everyone of her contacts abandon her when they realise she has lost her power. Tumi finds out Lindiwe is in Refilwe and sets her shack on fire, with Lindiwe inside. Zolani rescues Lindiwe and Sis Flora takes them in out of pity.

Lindiwe pretends to have turned over a new leaf and misleads everyone into believing she is a changed person, as she bids her time and calculates her return. Cobra uses his position as councillor to unfairly award tenders. Nomonde struggles to keep the mine afloat while juggling her relationship with Lindani. After Nomonde is nearly killed by the miners, she begins looking for a new CEO for Khanyisa Diamonds.

Gail Mathabatha enters the lives of the Dikanas when she is hired as Khanyisa's new CEO. Soon, she is involved in a romantic relationship with Zweli to Lindiwe's chagrin, setting the latter on a quest for everything she holds dear - her family, her marriage and her mine.

Main Cast[edit]

In the Opening Credits [6][7][edit]

Sindi Dlathu as Lindiwe Dlamini-Dikana,

Larona Moagi as Itumeleng 'Tumi' Mokoena

Moshidi Motshega as Malefu Mokoena (season 1)

Hlomla Dandala as Commissioner Zweli Dikana

Presley Chweneyagae as Thuso 'Cobra' Mokoena

Lunga Shabalala as Lindani Dlomo

Lawrence Maleka as Zolani Dlamini

Tinah Mnumzana as Flora (season 2)


Linda Mtoba as Nomonde Dikana

Lunga Mofokeng as Andile Dikana

Zanokuhle Maseko as Mbali Dikana

Matshepo Mokgopi as Dimpho Mokoena

Tango Ncetezo as Paulina Dlomo

Galaletsang Koffman as Beauty

Thapelo Segohadi as Khabzela

Sir Jet Novuka as Walter

Recurring/Guest Cast[edit]

Introduced in season 1[edit]

Don Mlangeni Nawa as Thato Mokoena

Zenzo Ngqobe as Pervical 'MaPercente'

Chuck Shisane as Detective Tshabalala

Warren Masemola as Oupa

Maduvha Madima as Minister Joyful

Siya Sepotokele as Njabulo

Shannon Esra as Sandra Stein

Sello Maake ka-Ncube as Malome Thabiso

Brenda Nxoli as Dambisa Dikana

Ferry Jele as Veronica

Special Guest:

Connie Ferguson as Harriet Khoza, in a 2-week crossover with The Queen.

Introduced in Season 2[edit]

Shahan Ramkissoon as himself

Masasa Mbangeni as Adv Akhona

Ntokozo Dlamini as Sihle Ngema

Thabo Malema as Ten Ten

Michelle Craig as a journalist

Robert Whitehead as Judge Christoper Knowles

Lebogang Tlokana as Dora Phakati

Winne Ntshaba as MaDlomo

Nkanyiso Bhengu as Pastor

Mary-Ann Barlow as Gail Mathabatha

Alina Moloi as Constable Candy

Awards and Nominations[edit]

South African Film and Television Awards 2019

Best Telenovela

The River

Best Actress - Telenovela

Moshidi Motshegwa - The River

Best Actor - Telenovela

Presley Chweneyagae - The River

Best Supporting Actor - Telenovela

Lawrence Maleka - The River

Best Achievement in Directing - Telenovela

Johnny Barbuzano, Catharine Cooke, Zolani Phakade and Ferry Jele - The River

Best Achievement in Scriptwriting – Telenovela

The River, Gwydion Beynon & Phathutshedzo Makwarela

Best Achievement in Original Music/ Score – Telenovela

The River, Brendan Jury

Best Achievement in Editing – Telenovela

The River, Ula Oelsen, Bongi Malefo & Matodzi Nemungadi

Best Achievement in Sound – Telenovela

The River, Ben Oelsen, Lele Seate & Tladi Mabuya

Best Achievement in Cinematography – Telenovela

The River, Gaopie Kabe & Trevor Brown


  1. ^ "The river". Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  2. ^ "The River Telenovela". Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  3. ^ "Watch The River online on Showmax". Showmax.
  4. ^ Mnganga, Tholakele (10 January 2019). "Screen superstar Sindi Dlathu on juggling her screen roles". Drum.
  5. ^ "The River Episode 1".
  6. ^ "Who stars in 1Magic's 'The River'? Meet the Cast here!".
  7. ^ "The River Title Sequence". Vimeo.