Filmed in multiple locations across the Western Cape, Blood & Water follows the escapades of 16-year-old Puleng Khumalo (played by Ama Qamata) as she uncovers the truth behind her older sister, who was abducted at birth.
In her search Puleng meets Fikile “Fiks’’ Bhele from a nearby private school, played by Khosi Ngema starring in her debut role.
Viewers will undoubtedly binge-watch the series, eager to see how the story unfolds. Some of the familiar locations viewers can look out for include UCT, City Hall, Llandudno, Camps Bay, the Sea Point promenade, parts of the Atlantic Seaboard and Durbanville.
Blood & Water showcases two contrasting worlds: the one Puleng comes from and the one her journey of uncovering the truth takes her to.
In July 2019, Cape Town Etc spent a day on the Blood & Water set. We also had the chance to sit down with the show’s Art Director Chris Joubert.
In speaking of his creative principles, Joubert explained how important a design concept is.
“My key creative principles are colour palette, this is very important for the design of a world and the design of a TV narrative. I like to work with a design concept where you would take the theme of a series or film and say, ‘what is the main theme the story is trying to bring across?’ For example with B&W we are hitting a lot on the theme of identity because trying to find the identity of Fikile, Puleng being at an age where she is very much looking for identity, the entire cast are at an age where they are trying to find out who they are and where they fit in the world.”
Joubert described how he tried to bring each character’s personal identity across to viewers, from key elements to subtleties. Elements like the way the characters dress, style their hair and the make up they wear, were the more obvious ways to help establish his or her own unique character.
“Then it’s the props that they use – their school bag, their cell phones, the cover on their cell phones – those kinds of subtle elements.”
Joubert explained how he had to create the world in which these characters live, through the design of their bedrooms, their lockers: their personal space essentially.
“Eventually, once you’ve done this for all the characters it all comes together like a puzzle.”
In speaking of his creative vision for the show, Joubert said that there are two very distinct and contrasting worlds that the show brings to life.
“Puleng’s world, where she comes from, is a middle class home environment. We had to really create a world that is realistic and believable to show where she comes from and that the world she is going to go into during the first two episodes.”
The second world, as Joubert explained, is a world of opulence.
“We wanted to create an Ivy League feel for the second world. This world was created to show a very strong contrast between the two. Ivy League is not a South African thing as such, we do have versions of it from the different cultural influences in the country, we are a melting pot of cultures after all. We drew inspiration here from the Catholic schools around the country.”
Through these two worlds, viewers will be taken on a journey through Puleng’s perspective. We are made to feel comfortable in Puleng’s world, it is relatable and realistic. Then the second world, one where money is no object, is how Joubert aimed to showcase the stark contrast and wealth divide experienced in South Africa.
Joubert explained that working on a Netflix production is somewhat similar to that of local scale productions. He continued saying that the fact that his work will be showcased internationally is what has set this experience apart from others.
Blood & Water showcases the wildly talented and versatile minds of the South African production and film industry. The show will be available on Netflix from May 20, 2020.
Image: Jonathan Ferreira