After decades of consuming American-made soapies, nations like Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa (and so on) started making their own daily soapies and telenovelas. Something that would look and feel visually African (I make no apologies for that shameless plug lol). Don’t get me wrong, we already had other weekly-type shows but not daily soapies. African made soapies came late into our lives.
As kids, we would sit around the television with our older siblings, sisters, and mothers and watch American soapies. I’m talking about The Young and The Restless, Days of Our Lives, or if you did not mind sudden, unexpected intimate scenes: Sunset Beach. The western soapies came from a whole different place and culture. That cultural gap was the source of many awkward silences during family TV time. One had to be a renowned junior Houdini, in order to both anticipate, and escape the embarrassing grip of unforeseen family-time-TV “love” scenes. Hollywood considered them family-friendly, but a typical western family holds different traditions from a typical African family. Still, family-friendly or not, millions of Africans remained glued to these daily screenings, through thick and thin. Even if it meant that Houdini had to pretend to go to the bathroom each time a conversation started to show signs of heading south. Sigh, having one TV channel in the country was a pain. Only one, imagine that!
African soapie productions have a fair amount of guidelines and censorship hooks which stop them from making things too uncomfortable for our multi-generational African families. Here are some African soapies and telenovelas that you can stream now for free. Watching these will allow you to see a side of Africa, which most people outside of Africa never get to know of. South Africa is by far the continental leader when it comes to pumping out multiple soapie productions.
Watch “The River Episode 01” now
After watching those first two episodes below there are plenty more episodes waiting for you on YouTube. What I loved about this production was that one does not have to wait long before bodies start dropping. It’s a telenovela that’s jam-packed with action, conflict, love, and connected events.
Watch “The River Episode 02” now
After a week I came back to this post, just to check on things and realised that the “Muvhango” videos had started to vanish. It seems that the broadcaster only keeps the videos online for a limited time. After which, they get set to private. I shall keep hunting for more soapies that I could add as replacements. Muvhango has been running since 7 April 1997. So it was a great addition to this post, but the hunt continues.
This is only the beginning of our playlist, I have decided to continue adding new shows here overtime. For now, check out The River and Muvhango while I continue to hunt down content from other African countries. Once found, I will add any new soapies here. South Africa has plenty more soapies that I could have added here, but I want this post to include more countries but it seems as if other African countries have not yet allowed their broadcasters to put soapies online…. not yet.