With the increased popularity of streaming services over traditional television channels, audiences have more programs than ever before to choose from. For those who’ve already binged the latest top ten Hollywood series and are craving a more unique take on TV, it may just be time to turn your attention to the world of African television. Curl up on the couch with some steaming hot popcorn and these eleven riveting African dramas, which are now streaming on Netflix.
Turn to any television channel or streaming service, and chances are you will notice a lack of Black female action heroes, but Queen Sono is here to help close that gap. Embarking on a quest to discover the truth surrounding her mother’s demise, South African secret operative Queen Sono balances fighting crime while holding together her personal life. Actress Pearl Thusi’s star power commands the audience’s attention in this riveting single-season drama.
After Sarah and her perfect match of a fiancé, Kola, get engaged, he vanishes and it soon becomes clear that she’s been flirting with disaster. Plagued by a scandalous secret, Sarah and her best friend Kemi go on a perilous journey as Kola’s family feud boils over. Through their riveting performances, leads Ini Dima-Okojie and Nancy Isime unravel the problems of patriarchy while solving this mysterious disappearance. The suspense in this limited four-episode series will keep you on the edge of your seat.
How To Ruin Christmas
The holiday season may have already come and gone, but who’s really ready for the “most wonderful time of the year” to end? The premise of the three-season comedy is fairly simple: two families who are polar opposites of each other brew up drama and ruin the occasion. Audiences will be too busy laughing along with the main character, Thumi, to even remember that it’s another 12 months until the merriest of all holidays returns.
If Marvel’s short-lived Luke Cage wasn’t enough to satisfy your need for action, then Shadow may just hit that sweet spot. Following the titular character, Shadow, this ex-cop embarks on his own journey to help those who are helpless in the city of Johannesburg. This eight-episode tale of retribution hits those classic Hollywood notes for anyone just starting to dip their toes into the vast sea of African television.
Blood & Water
For fans of winding soap operas, Blood & Water should tick all the right boxes. The three-season Cape Town-based show centers on high school student Puleng as she unravels a family mystery: are Puleng and the school's star athlete sisters separated by crime? Trying to keep both her family and romantic life steady, Puleng’s high school experience proves to be unlike any other audiences have experienced.
Young, Famous & African
Sometimes all we need is a good comfort show to put on and unwind at the end of the day and Young, Famous & African is just that. A celebration of African stars and influencers (and, of course, the wealthy!), Black celebrities are on full display in this reality show. It’s a window into the extravagant lives of some of the richest people on the planet on a continent most overlooked and underestimated. Most importantly, drama spreads like wildfire, and there’s plenty to keep you glued to the screen.
Real-life beauty company scandals frequently dominate the front pages of our social media feeds—we just can’t seem to look away when something behind the scenes goes awry. If you’re craving a show with those elements of drama, then Savage Beauty should be your TV gold. The show follows a young woman who manages to get into the Bhengu family's beauty empire, and she brings a makeup bag full of secrets and lies with her. This series will certainly deliver your fill of both drama and glamor over its six-episode run.
King of Boys
As more politicians' skeletons emerge from the closet, creatives have plenty of material to draw from. Nollywood movie King of Boys follows a woman fighting for political power while still being tied to the seedy criminal underworld. Filled with grim, bloody scenes of violence and a stellar performance by Sola Sobowale, King of Boys is not for the faint of heart.
Looking for a TV for a pick-me-up? Jiva celebrates the complex world of street dance by following a young South African woman who rediscovers her passion for dance while competing for a sizable cash prize. Though it’s not as heavy on scandal and betrayal as other African dramas available on Netflix, its vibrancy showcases a peek into the modern-day African dance scene. Consisting of five episodes, this jubilant splash of color is perfect to binge over and over again.
Tales of Africa
While TV is a great source of entertainment, it also provides a great opportunity to learn a few things. Packaged into six bite-sized episodes, Tales of Africa is an exciting, animated journey into the traditional local folklore of different African countries. It’s a palatable way to introduce more culture into your home and a fun time to bond with the kids as you all gather together to watch.
The Brave Ones
Becoming consumed in the bleak reality of everyday life is easy, but every once in a while everyone needs to escape into fantasy. Featuring goddesses from otherworldly realms and celestial powers, The Brave Ones promises to transport you somewhere else for six episodes while also giving you a healthy dose of emotional drama. In Ntsiki, a woman who must learn to embrace her identity while defending her loved ones, fans will find a fantastic female lead to look up to.