Pearl Thusi’s ‘Queen Sono’ smashes tired stereotypes about Africa and womanhood

Pearl Thusi. 'Queen Sono' is the Bad-Ass Women-Led Spy Thriller Like No Other: Here's What its Stars Have to Say About It. PIC: Netflix

A little over a year ago, Netflix announced that Africa’s first Original Series Queen Sono was in the works. Excitement has been building for the spy thriller series ever since.

Social media has been abuzz with fans putting out what their play-by-play expectations of the series are.

After dropping a number of enticing teasers that kept fans on the edges of their seats, and more recently the official full-length trailer for Queen Sono, the wait is finally over.

The series premiered on the streaming platform on Monday.

Created by South African comedian and actor Kagiso Lediga, the Queen Sono series follows Pearl Thusi in her lead role as the main character Queen Sono, a female spy working for an the Special Operations Group (SOG) who is also trying to demystify aspects of her complicated personal life.

The star-studded cast includes the likes of Vuyo Dabula, the male lead who plays Shandu, an ex-spy for the SOG, Kate Liquorish and Chiedza Mhende who play the supporting female roles of Ekaterina and Miri respectively as well as Connie Chiume, Miri’s mother and Abigail Kubeka, Queen’s paternal grandmother.

If you thought this was just another spy thriller series with plenty of action but not much else to it, think again.

Without giving away any spoilers, we will say that the layered themes in Queen Sono will prove that the cast and crew really considered every single detail and its significance in the telling of the story.

Lediga, who is a talented producer and creator is known for also creating culturally significant comedy sketches The Pure Monate Show as well as Late Nite News with Loysia Gola. His debut film was the 2017 romantic title Catching Feelings which he then followed up with Matwetwe, a coming-of-age adventure and frenetic ode to boyhood, in 2019.

Lediga could have told any story he liked but it was this particular story and its importance for Africa as a whole that really spoke to him.

Speaking to OkayAfrica, he says, “I thought the spy [genre] is great because you have this super cool female agent who travels across the continent, slipping in and out of all of these powerful organisations. The result of [spies’] work is always on the news. You know what I mean?”

Queen Sono is set in present-day South Africa and attempts to highlight the country’s present-day politics, growing femicide crisis and gender-based violence issue in real time. “In the story, we build on South African history and I feel like it’s a cool way to give the viewer a first hand account of what might’ve happened in South Africa, ” Lediga adds.


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