Yvonne Chaka Chaka on success of Giyani: Land of Blood - It's time to put Xitsonga on the map

Yvonne Chaka Chaka says that fans can expect big things from her character.
Yvonne Chaka Chaka says that fans can expect big things from her character.
Image: Instagram/Yvonne Chaka Chaka

Xitsonga drama series Giyani: Land of Blood may be a massive hit with TV audiences but  veteran musician and actress Yvonne Chaka Chaka is not surprised because she believes Mzansi has been waiting a long time for Xitsonga to take its place in the spotlight.

Yvonne plays the role of Gladys on the show, a no-nonsense matriarch who at times borders on cruel.

The series, which revolves around a conflict between two families over land and the banana plantation built on it got rave reviews from fans after its debut episode last week.

Yvonne told TshisaLIVE she was humbled by the response from fans but said that she knew the show would be a hit from the moment she was approached to join the cast.

"I agreed to be part of the show because I believed in it. I believe that it has incredible things to teach and more than anything it exposes people to Xitsonga culture. Me and other actors have been pushing for something like this for a long time but every time it was mentioned, it would be laughed at."

She said that Mzansi was now ready for a Xitsonga series because people had "started to embrace themselves".

"We have seen so many Afrikaans shows and English shows, and even Zulu shows, but I think we are getting to a point where we are accepting ourselves and not trying to fit into what we see on TV. We are embracing ourselves."

Series like Giyani have once again put minority languages into the spotlight and sparked a debate on tribalism.

Yvonne said it was not about which language or culture was better but about giving people a chance to see themselves on screen.

"We have been supporting the likes of Isibaya for years, and it's great, but now it is time for the same kind of support for other shows. There is obviously an appetite for it but we need to unite and support each other rather than see each other as competition."

Response to Yvonne's character has been positive but she says that may not be the case in a few weeks when her character's true colours becomes clearer.

"I am not sure people will like her all that much after they see what she is capable of," she added with a laugh.

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