“I’ve never watched or read anything like it.” Katlego Lebogang on Spinners

Spinners, the first African series selected in competition at Canneseries, is now streaming on Showmax, with new episodes on Wednesdays until 27 December 2023. 

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A co-production between Showmax and CANAL+,Spinners follows Ethan, a 17-year-old driver working for a gang on the Cape Flats. Needing to support his younger brother but increasingly disgusted by gang life, Ethan discovers a possible way out via spinning, an extreme motorsport where he can put his driving skills to better use. With a gang war looming, can he turn his life around fast enough?

Spinners won three awards at Dakar Series, including Best TV Series; received standing ovations in Cannes, Paris and at Silwerskerm in Cape Town; and was the opening night screening at MIP Africa, generating rave reviews. 

As IOL‘s Debashine Thangevelo says, “Fasten those seatbelts for an exhilarating ride into the criminal world of the Cape Flats… I was blown away by the script, cast and the production value… If there is anything you watch this week, make sure it’s this!”

Or as Kenyan critic Kelvin Kariuki says on SinemaFocus, “I could go on for hours about everything I love aboutSpinners. It packs more within eight episodes than most shows could in five seasons or more.” 

We caught up with rising star Katlego Lebogang (Mabalwa in Wounds, Mbali in Jiva) to find out more: 

Tell us about yourself? 

I am Katlego Lebogang, an actor born and raised in Johannesburg and trained at UCT. From the age of nine, I was like, ‘I just want to be an actor.’ So I’m living out my little nine-year-old dream. 

What is the story of Spinners

It’s a story of hope: a story of breaking away from the cards that life has dealt for you, from what your life was basically destined to be from birth. 

Tell us about your character? 

I’ve had the honour of taking on the character of Phumeza. She’s a detective in her late 20s who gets thrown into the deep end when she is put in a position where she’s about to take over as the lead detective in the Hills. 

Do you identify with Phumeza? 

She’s worlds apart from who I am. I love that as an actor; it takes me out of my comfort zones. 

When people that know me watch her, they’ll be like, ‘That’s not you.’ But at her core, she’s very spiritually driven. She takes her faith very seriously and all her decisions are based on that, and just doing what’s right. So I relate to that. 

In a world where there’s so much bad, she believes, and she sees the good in people. And in this case, Ethan really needed the benefit of the doubt, because Phumeza saw him for who he really, really was.

There are some very strong female characters onSpinners, in a very male-dominated world. 

They’ve taken time with really crafting these characters. You look at Ethan’s mom, at Amber, at Phumeza – they are very, very different. 

When I look at uPhumeza, she’s coming in to head a department where she’s the only woman. It’s very empowering; she’s a very, very powerful character. She’s very strong and it could have made her hard, but they didn’t strip her of her femininity and her maternal energy. I think that’s very beautiful; I love how she’s portrayed.  

It is so important for us to break stereotypes. There are female detectives that are really good at their jobs and they need to be represented as well. It’s like, yeah, we’ve seen Bad Boys but we need more Phumezas, you know what I mean? 

What have been some of the highlights on set? 

My favourite thing is handling a gun. I don’t even want to lie. As I said before, little nine-year-old me is like, ‘Yeah, let’s go.’ 

Did you get a chance to do any spinning? 

Unfortunately, I didn’t. Phumeza’s about the law – she can’t be out there spinning!

Why should people watch Spinners?

It’s high action, high energy but still really, really true and authentic. People will fall in love with a lot of the characters; it’s a beautiful, beautiful story. And I’ve never watched or read anything like it.

Watch and embed an interview with Katlego:

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