We speak to Shona Ferguson about Kings of Jo’burg and his titanic rise as a producer

By Debashine Thangevelo Feb 22, 2021

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Johannesburg – Several years again after I was proving my mettle as an leisure author, I keep in mind requesting a number of interviews with Shona Ferguson.

At the time, he was gaining his foothold within the business.

And I keep in mind him agreeing to a chat, though his schedule typically left him with scant time to accomplish that.

Nothing a lot has modified.

Ferguson is as gracious and unassuming as he was again then when he was nonetheless making a identify for himself.

The cast of “Kings of Jo’burg”. Picture: Netflix

Like most success tales in showbiz, Ferguson had a humble albeit impactful begin as Ace on SABC1’s pioneering soapie, “Generations”.

Interestingly, spouse Connie Ferguson virtually made her declare to fame on the identical present as the inimitable Karabo Moroka.

Not lengthy after, he expanded his fan base with meaty roles in different common soapies like SABC3’s “Isidingo” and e.television’s “Scandal” and extra.

Why am I telling you stuff that may be simply Googled? Well, it’s one of the best ways to contextualise his meteoric rise on this business as nicely as make clear the particular person behind the celebrity.

Today, Ferguson, together with spouse Connie, is well known as one of the nation’s eminent producers.

Through Ferguson Films, which was established in 2010, they’ve produced award-winning and critically-claimed providing like “Rockville”, “iGazi”, “The Gift”, “The Throne”, “The Herd”, “The Queen” the season of “The Imposter”.

Their newest endeavor is the 6-part Netflix collection, “Kings of Jo’burg”.

Of course, with fame comes controversy. And Ferguson Films have weathered its honest share of storms.

But, on the finish of the day, actors need to be cast of their initiatives.

In a latest digital chat with Ferguson to achieve a higher understanding of what influenced the making of “Kings of Jo’burg”, he tells me, “You know I was telling Connie, you are probably the only journalist out there that says I want an interview and I go, ‘Okay’.”

I’m not going to lie, that meant a lot.

Since we have been solely given 10-minutes, which I pushed by a few extra minutes and Ferguson indulged me, he expanded on why he made the aware shift from female-centric choices to a extra testosterone-charged one.

Up till not too long ago, the collection, which launched in December, was one of the Top 10 watched choices in South Africa.

He mentioned: “It started about 4 years ago. At that point, we were getting into the second season of ‘The Queen’.

“We had done, as a company, so much female-centric kind of shows and, well since the beginning of Ferguson films, most of our shows have been predominately female-centric.

“Even a show like ‘Rockville’, which had a lot of male cast.

“We felt like the wave in SA television has everyone going the female-centric kind of way.

“We starting thinking in the next year or two, we must make something that’s pretty much a male-dominated kind of show. That was how the initial idea started.

“Fast forward a couple of years later, immediate I knew that show was going to be called ‘Kings of Joburg’, there was no question.

“So the name was the first thing that popped into my head.”

If there’s one factor he, together with Connie, is well known for, it’s delivering content material that resonates with audiences.

Looking at their monitor document, they do have the Midas contact.

Although one half of the inventive course of was executed and dusted, he nonetheless had to develop a storyline and etch the characters that reside on this world.

And so Ferguson deflected to his childhood.

“It was the beginning of last year when I really started penning the whole thing down.

“The key thing, always, was, even as much as it is male-centric, we wanted to give the characters something above and beyond the testosterone or the action if you know what I mean.

“So to give the strong men on the show, a strong family dynamic, which we feel the audience will relate to.”

Although he didn’t plan on taking part in Simon Masire, by casting Zolisa Xaluva as Mo Masire (Simon’s buddy), it made sense for him to do exactly that.

Anyone who has seen the collection will agree, Ferguson and Xaluva are a tour de pressure of their respective roles.

Ferguson strayed a little farther from the storylines they’re identified for.

He delves into the supernatural world and introduces a superhero aspect with his darkish lead character, Simon.

He admitted: “It goes back to our childhood, where we had our parents tell us these stories.

“My dad used to tell us very scary stories.

“So it is going back to how he used to tell these stories of the demons and how certain influential people had supernatural powers.

“The way the stories were told was not necessarily how we are portraying it on screen; I took the essence of those deep, dark secrets and stories and turned it into a more fictional, relatable world and set it in Johannesburg.”

“Kings of Jo’burg” ushers in a new period for Ferguson and his manufacturing home, too.

“We’ve done so much content, locally.

“We, as a company, this is our first 100% owned show. It is the first show we own.

“None of the shows on TV belongs to us. In all honesty, I don’t think any platform could have given us this.

“It almost feels like the first time of getting into production.”

On the collection, he additionally works with US government producer, Samad Davis.

Ferguson added: “We idolise America so much that we fail to realise that Hollywood is looking at us.

“Hollywood is coming here. And that is what we are not understanding.

“Here, we have Hollywood, Nollywood and South Africa.

“We have developed this whole America and Africa connect. This project had to signify and, sort of represent these massive industries.

“This is the first undertaking of Netflix with Ferguson Films. The first of many, hopefully.”

I do really feel that “Kings of Jo’burg” can be a metaphor for Ferguson’s rise within the business.

More so, as he spreads his wings and evolves with the altering occasions.

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