Nomzamo Mbatha as Queen Nandi on Shaka iLembe
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Shaka iLembe season 1 has kept Mzansi on its toes from one episode to the next with a classic storyline showcased by Mzansi’s finest actors and actresses. From a world-class production to an exceptional marketing rollout, Multichoice and Bomb Productions went all out on this series.

Nomzamo Mbatha, Queen Nandi on Shaka iLembe

Shaka iLembe Overview

Set in the 1700s, Shaka iLembe tells the story of the making of an iconic African king – Shaka Zulu, with iterations from his early childhood to adulthood and his impactful reign as the Zulu king. The Multichoice and Bomb Productions series was in the making for 6 years before the shooting of the series began due to the extensive research that was carried out as it is based on a true story.

Season 1 consists of 12 episodes which are 50 minutes long on average and of 4K video quality. Just from watching and listening to it for a few seconds, you can easily tell that millions and millions of South African Rands were invested in producing this high-end film, with a word on the street saying just over 1 billion was spent.

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Shaka iLembe on PROFILED

We featured Shaka iLembe on PROFILED where we detailed the history behind this series, Shaka’s story, the late Henry Cele’s impact on portraying the role of Shaka Zulu, a few cast members, and more! You can watch this PROFILED video from our YouTube channel below.

READ: Shaka iLembe Story: Series, Cast, History & Success (PROFILED)

Shaka iLembe Cast & Characters

One aspect that Multichoice and Bomb Productions got right is casting! The series features all Mzansi’s loved seasoned actors and actresses, predominantly Zulu-speaking, from new talent to legends, from new faces such as Thembinkosi Mthembu who plays the role of Dingiswayo to legends such as Vusi Kunene who plays the role of King Makhasana. Below is a full list of all Shaka iLembe cast members and the roles they play.

[Last Updated on September 3, 2023]

Nomzamo Mbatha as Queen Nandi

Daughter of King Mbengi of the Langeni and Queen Mfunda, Nandi was a woman ahead of her time. Beautiful and bold, she defied societal norms and chose to chart her own path. Mother of Shaka kaSenzangakhona, who despite enduring many hardships nurtured and guided him to become a legendary leader, instilling in him the strength, love, and bravery that defined his reign. Queen Nandi remains a revered African icon.

WATCH: Nomzamo Mbatha’s Shaka iLembe Role Profiled

Senzo Radebe as King Senzangakhona

Son of King Jama and Queen Mthaniya. Senzangakhona kaJama, became king of the Zulus and father to Shaka. He was a charismatic leader who was also known for his dashing looks. Despite his disappointment at not being the great leader the Sanusi’s foretold, from his seed came the greatest Zulu king and many thereafter that continued to unite and lead the Zulu Nation long after his reign.

Lemogang Tsipa as Adult Shaka

Son of Queen Nandi and Zulu King Senzangakhona kaJama. Shaka and his mother were outcasts who endured hardships which shaped him to become a legendary leader and warrior. His story of unwavering determination and unbreakable will is a testament to the power of the human spirit. He went on to conquer and unify many kingdoms to build the Zulu nation and left an indelible mark on African history that continues to fascinate people around the world.

WATCH: Lemogang Tsipa’s Shaka iLembe Role Profiled

Ntando Zondi as Young Shaka

Son of Queen Nandi and Zulu King Senzangakhona kaJama. Shaka and his mother were outcasts who endured hardships which shaped him to become a legendary leader and warrior. His story of unwavering determination and unbreakable will is a testament to the power of the human spirit. He went on to conquer and unify many kingdoms to build the Zulu nation and left an indelible mark on African history that continues to fascinate people around the world.

Dawn Thandeka King as Princess Mkabayi

Princess Mkabayi kaJama, daughter of King Jama and sister to King Senzangakhona kaJama. Mkabayi was a kingmaker and visionary who played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Zulu Nation. Her commitment to her people and the vision of her ancestors and her unparalleled strategic thinking make her a true icon in Zulu history.

Thembinkosi Mthembu as King Dingiswayo

Son of King Jobe of the Mthethwa. Formerly known as Godongwana, who fled into exile and against great odds returned as Dingiswayo and ascended to the throne of the mighty Mthethwa. King Dingiswayo was an inspirational leader, gifted strategist and skilled warrior known for his military prowess, wise counsel, and ability for diplomacy. He became a key mentor to Shaka and helped shape him into a great warrior and lauded leader.

WATCH: Thembinkosi Mthembu’s Shaka iLembe Role Profiled

Hope Mbhele as Baleka

Baleka (fictional) was a healer for the Mthethwa King Jobe and later King Makhasana of the Mabhudu. A passionate healer, she was a young scientist. Filled with determination and fierce independence, she dedicated her life to healing and the direction of the ancestors, bringing comfort to those in need. She believed in the importance of pursuing her own dreams and aspirations, regardless of societal expectations.

WATCH: Hope Mbhele’s Shaka iLembe Role Profiled

Wiseman Mncube as King Zwide

Zwide, son of the feared Queen Ntombazi and King Langa. He was a shrewd and dangerous warrior who out-maneuvered his adversaries with deft strategy and ruthlessness. He shared his mother’s ambitions to build an empire and was fiercely committed to protecting and providing for his people.

WATCH: Wiseman Mncube’s Shaka iLembe Role Profiled

Khabonina Qubeka as Queen Ntombazi

Queen Ntombazi, mother of the great Ndwandwe King Zwide kaLanga, was a powerful and enigmatic force in her own right. Revered by some as a mystical and wise leader, and feared by others as a witch, she had dreams of building an empire and utilised her formidable intellect and cunning to fight for the prosperity of her people.

Sthandiwe Kgoroge as Queen Mthaniya

Wife to King Jama, mother to King Senzangakhona. Queen Mthaniya is strong, dignified, and strategic. She becomes regent for some time after her husband dies and before her son becomes king. Mthaniya is a nurturer to both her son Senzangakhona and later her grandson Shaka.

Mduduzi Mabaso as Gendaya

Gendaya has always been in love with Queen Nandi, even before she met Senzangakhona. He took care of Nandi and Shaka after Senzangakhona cast them out and would later mold Shaka as warrior. He was an amazing stepfather to Shaka although throughout his childhood Shaka didn’t consider him as a father figure and wanted to fix his relationship with his real father Senzangakhon who still cast him out when he was older. Gendaya died in a battle against Dingiswayo which was to some extent Shaka’s fault and Nandi, Shaka’s mother blamed Shaka for her lover’s death.

Ziya Xulu as Piklile
Vusi Kunene as King Makhasana
Mondli Makhoba as Ngomane kaMqomboli
Ntando Duma as Bhibhi kaSompisi
Sjava as Bhungane
S’Thandiwe Kgoroge as Mthaniya
Sibonile Ngubane as Mudli
Calvin Ratladi as Goloza
Abdul Khoza as Cija
Phumlani Mndebele as Nyengelezi
Ayanda Borotho as Mfunda
Siyabonga Melongisi Shibe as Mgabhi
Magic Hlatshwayo as Mbhengi
Buhle Tsepo Doncube as Mandulo
Don Mlangeni as Langa
Wanda Zuma as Mawewe
Hamilton Dlamini as Jobe
Mondli Makhoba as Ngomane
Sphamandla Dhludhu as Tana

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Shaka iLembe Episodes Summary

Season 1 of Shaka iLembe has 12 episodes which are on average 50 minutes each in terms of duration and below is a breakdown of key highlights of each episode.

Shaka iLembe Episode 1

Princess Nandi of the Langeni meets and captures the heart of Prince Senzangakhona of the Zulu, however, their romance is cut short by a clash with Prince Zwide of the Ndwandwe. Zwide declares war on the Zulus, placing the blame on Senzangakhona’s shoulders. (Directed by Angus Gibson)

Ntando Zondi as Young Shaka, Nomzamo Mbatha as Queen Nandi, Shaka iLembe Episode 1
Shaka iLembe Episode 2

A Sangoma investigates Queen Ntombazi for King Langa’s murder, but not all is as it seems. The Zulu, fearing their survival against the powerful Ndwandwe, receive a prophecy of a future great king. (Directed by Angius Gibson)

Wiseman Mncube as Zwide, Abdul Khoza as Ciji, Shaka iLembe Episode 2 Cast
Shaka iLembe Episode 3

As the Zulus face the Ndwandwe army, an ally emerges to support them. Queen Ntombazi, fearing for her son’s safety, embarks on a journey to the Mthethwa capital. (Directed by Zeno Petersen)

S'Thandiwe Kgoroge as Mthaniya, Shaka iLembe Cast Episode 3
Shaka iLembe Episode 4

Prince Godongwana and Baleka escape but their freedom is short-lived when Mthethwa warriors trap them. Princess Nandi faces the shock of her pregnancy and heartache follows. (Directed by Zeno Petersen)

Hamilton Dlamini as Jobe, Shaka iLembe Cast Episode 4
Shaka iLembe Episode 5

King Senzangakhona proposes to Nandi, who becomes his third wife, while a crisis unfolds in kwaNdwandwe as Zwide and Goloza confront each other. (Directed by Zeno Petersen)

Calvin Ratladi as Goloza, Shaka iLembe Cast Episode 5
Shaka iLembe Episode 6

Shaka and Nandi’s lives change when Bhibhi arrives and poisons Senzangakhona against them. Godongwana finds refuge with the Hlubi and changes his name to Dingiswayo. (Directed by Mqondisi Ngubane)

Mondli Mkhoba as Ngomane, Ska iLembe Cast Episode 6
Shaka iLembe Episode 7

Dingiswayo and Ngomane face the grim reality of being sold as slaves. Nandi and her children return to eLangeni, where they face humiliation from her brother, Mgabhi. (Directed by Catherine Stewart)

Thembinkosi Mthembu as Dingiswayo, Mondli as Ngomane, Shaka iLembe Cast Episode 7
Shaka iLembe Episode 8

Shaka is determined to return to his father but he faces disappointment when he meets with King Senzangakhona. (Directed by Catherine Stewart)

Lemogang tsipa as Shaka, Shaka iLembe Cast Episode 8
Shaka iLembe Episode 9

Shaka embraces Gendeyana’s offer and joins the camp. Dingiswayo’s attempt to avoid bloodshed is met with betrayal. (Directed by Catherine Stewart)

Mduduzi Mabaso as Gendaya, Lemogang Tsipa as Shaka, Shaka iLembe Episode 9
Shaka iLembe Episode 10

Nandi and her children leave the Qwabe and move to kwaMthethwa. Shaka strives to prove himself by facing a terrifying opponent. (Directed by Adze Ugah)

Shaka iLembe, Lemogang Tsipa, Episode 10
Shaka iLembe Episode 11

Shaka faces betrayal and launches an attack on Makhedama’s forces. (Directed by Adze Ugah)

Shaka iLembe Episode 11
Shaka iLembe Episode 12 (Season 1 Finale)

Shaka outsmarts those plotting against him and returns to the Zulu. (Directed by Angus Gibson, Zeno Petersen and Adze Ugah)

Queen Nandi, Shaka iLembe Episode 12 Season 1 Finale

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  • Nomzamo Mbatha as Queen Nandi on Shaka iLembe
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  • Shaka Episode 11
  • Shaka iLembe, Zulu Nation

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