Blood & Water (South African TV series)

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Blood & Water
Blood and water title card.png
Written by
Directed by
  • Nosipho Dumisa-Ngoasheng
  • Daryne Joshua
  • Travis Taute
  • Thati Peele (season 2)
Opening theme"Blood & Water"
by FRYA[1]
  • Mr Kamera[2]
  • Kyle Shepherd
Country of originSouth Africa
Original languages
  • English
  • Multilingual (subtitled)[a]
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes19
Executive producers
  • Bradley Joshua
  • Benjamin Overmeyer
  • Nosipho Dumisa-Ngoasheng
  • Daryne Joshua
  • Travis Taute
  • Simon Beesley
  • Bradley Joshua
  • Benjamin Overmeyer
Production locationsCape Town, South Africa
CinematographyZenn Van Zyl
  • Simon Beesley
  • Tessa Verfuss
  • Andrea Shaw
Running time43–53 minutes
Production companyGambit Films
Original networkNetflix
Original release20 May 2020 (2020-05-20) –
present (present)

Blood & Water is a South African teen crime drama television series developed by Gambit Films for Netflix starring Ama Qamata, Khosi Ngema and Gail Mabalane. Set in Cape Town, the series follows a girl who transfers to an elite school when she suspects one of the students may be her sister, who was abducted as a baby.

The 6-episode first season was released on Netflix on 20 May 2020. In June 2020, Netflix renewed the series for a second season, which was released on 24 September 2021. A third season, announced in April 2022, premiered on 25 November 2022. The series won Best TV Drama at the 2021 South African Film and Television Awards as well as awards for cinematography and sound design.[3]


The series revolves around Puleng (Ama Qamata), a high school girl whose sister Phume was kidnapped as part of a human trafficking network shortly after birth.[4][5] On the same day of Phume's birthday Puleng was invited to a party of Fikile Bhele (Khosi Ngema), a popular athlete studying at Parkhurst College, a prestigious school in Cape Town.[6] After Wade (Dillon Windvogel), a new acquaintance points out their resemblance, Puleng starts to suspect that Fikile is Phume. She has lived in the shadow of her sister all her life so she decides to get to the bottom of things. She transfers to the elite school to investigate.[7] While solving the puzzle, Puleng discovers that the mystery of her missing sister is not the only secret that her friends and family keep.[8]



  • Ama Qamata as Puleng Khumalo
  • Khosi Ngema as Fikile Bhele (née Phumelele Khumalo), Puleng's newfound half-sister who was kidnapped by a human trafficking syndicate as a baby.
  • Gail Mabalane as Thandeka Khumalo, Puleng's mother
  • Thabang Molaba as Karabo "KB" Molapo, an aspiring rapper in Fikile's friend group and Puleng's ex-boyfriend
  • Dillon Windvogel as Wade Daniels, the first student at Parkhurst to befriend Puleng and later became his girlfriend and also the son of the headmistress
  • Arno Greeff as Chris Ackerman, a pansexual swimmer in Fikile's friend group and later Wendy's boyfriend.
  • Ryle de Morny as Chad Morgan (season 1), the swim coach at Parkhurst
  • Greteli Fincham as Reece van Rensburg, a girl in Fikile's friend group who deals drugs and is having financial troubles
  • Getmore Sithole as Julius Khumalo, Puleng's father
  • Odwa Gwanya as Siya Khumalo, Puleng's younger brother who begins attending Parkhurst in Season 3
  • Natasha Thahane as Wendy Dlamini, daughter of an MP and head of the school magazine and later matric dance committee
  • Mekaila Mathys as Tahira Kahn, Wendy's friend who runs against Fikile to be Head Girl, winning. She is stripped of her role as Head Girl in Season 3
  • Sandi Schultz as Nicole Daniels, Parkhurst headmistress and Wade's mother
  • Cindy Mahlangu as Zama Bolton (main, seasons 1-2; voice, season 3), Puleng's friend from Meadowridge who is involved with Chris
  • Xolile Tshabalala as Nwabisa Bhele (seasons 1-2), Fikile's mother
  • Sello Maake Ka-Ncube as Matla Molapo, KB's successful lawyer father
  • Patrick Mofokeng as Brian Bhele, Fikile's father
  • Shamilla Miller as Riley Morgan (main, season 1; recurring, season 3), Chad's wife
  • Duane Wiliams as Mark Tedder (seasons 1–2), a love interest of Chris'
  • Zikhona Sodlaka as Janet Nkosana (seasons 2–3), the new school counselor and Sam's mother
  • Leroy Siyafa as Sam Nkosana (seasons 2–3), the son of the new school counselor and later Fikile's boyfriend
  • Katishcka Kiara as Pauline (seasons 2–3)
  • Alzavia Abrahams as Zayd (seasons 2–3)
  • Inge Beckmann as Philippa van Rensburg (main, season 2; guest, season 3), Reece's mother
  • Sonia Mbele as Lisbeth Molapo (guest, season 2; main, season 3), KB's mother
  • Mpho Sibeko as Lunga (season 3), Puleng's Cousin
  • Abduragman Adams as Detective Vaans (recurring, season 2; main, season 3)
  • Nicole Fortuin as Detective Petersen (recurring, season 2; main, season 3)
  • Meggan-Lee Johnstone as Leigh-Anne (recurring, season 2; main, season 3)
  • Tumisho Masha as Harold Grootboom (season 3)
  • Gary Joshua as Gabriel (season 3)
  • Nasr Ho-Yee as Bruce Kwan (season 3)
  • Clint Brink as Reinhard (season 3)
  • Thapelo Mokoena as Anthony Gabisa (season 3)
  • Gantane Kusch as Lex Tom (season 3)
  • Marco Spaumer as Kyle (season 3)


  • Laura Bosman as Mrs. Joffe
  • Andre Lombaard as Mr. Loots
  • Baby Cele as Minister Dlamini
  • Elzet Nel as Nate (seasons 1–2)
  • Faniswa Yisa as Brenda Jaxa (seasons 1–2)
  • Nasty C as Zhero (season 1)
  • YoungstaCPT as himself (season 2)
  • Ivan Botha as Mr. Ferreira (season 2)
  • Ethan Brukman as Chase (season 3)
  • Augusta Zietsman as Amber (season 3)


SeriesEpisodesOriginally released
1620 May 2020 (2020-05-20)
2724 September 2021 (2021-09-24)
3625 November 2022 (2022-11-25)

Season 1 (2020)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
11"Fiksation"Nosipho DumisaDaryne Joshua20 May 2020 (2020-05-20)
As another year passes since her sister's disappearance, Puleng shoulders her parents’ complex grief and escapes for a taste of joy... with a twist.
22"The Interview"Nosipho DumisaTravis Taute20 May 2020 (2020-05-20)
Puleng combines secrecy and strategy as she continues her quest for answers, and a special project leads to a closer bond with Fiks and her classmates.
33"Propaganda"Travis TauteNosipho Dumisa20 May 2020 (2020-05-20)
Fiks faces backlash while campaigning for Head Girl. Meanwhile, Puleng considers a pivotal decision: Share her mission with Wade or abandon the search?
44"Payback's a Bitch"Daryne JoshuaTravis Taute20 May 2020 (2020-05-20)
The tables turn as Puleng experiences her own school scandal. Later, she and Wade chase a new lead. Fiks struggles with the pitfalls of romance.
55"Frenemy No. 1"Daryne JoshuaDaryne Joshua20 May 2020 (2020-05-20)
After Wendy goes on record, Puleng grapples with regret ... and grows closer to KB. Fiks hosts a poolside gathering and deals with a devastating blow.
66"Trippin'"Nosipho DumisaDaryne Joshua20 May 2020 (2020-05-20)
Tensions mount at a party with KB’s family and friends. Puleng prepares for her father’s trial and examines a series of life-changing revelations.

Season 2 (2021)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
71"New Kid Syndrome"Nosipho Dumisa-NgoashengNosipho Dumisa-Ngoasheng24 September 2021 (2021-09-24)
A painful past meets an uncertain present as Fiks struggles with her identity. Meanwhile, a shocking request threatens to hamper Puleng's progress.
82"Mayday"Thati PeleNosipho Dumisa-Ngoasheng24 September 2021 (2021-09-24)
As Fiks grapples with a personal decision, Reece weighs the risk and reward of a new side hustle. Puleng plans a party with the help of a loyal friend.
93"The Source"Travis TauteDaryne Joshua24 September 2021 (2021-09-24)
Dealing with a setback, Puleng asks for a favor. KB receives big news and faces a tough critic. A school assignment sparks entrepreneurial interest.
104"Spiyoyo"Daryne JoshuaMmabatho Montsho24 September 2021 (2021-09-24)
Tension mounts between Puleng and Wade, a lavish tea party takes shape, Reece raises the stakes of her game, and Fiks encounters a sweet surprise.
115"Puleng vs. The World"Daryne JoshuaNelisa Ngcobo24 September 2021 (2021-09-24)
Fiks and Puleng chase a new lead ... and deal with the consequences. Reece agrees to a new responsibility, and KB prepares for a performance.
126"Dark Times"Nosipho Dumisa-NgoashengChinaka Iwunze24 September 2021 (2021-09-24)
An outburst reshapes Puleng's and Fikile’s next steps. Elsewhere, KB faces the music after a rogue decision, and Reece reaches her breaking point.
137"Family Matters"Travis TauteDaryne Joshua24 September 2021 (2021-09-24)
After a string of shake-ups, Fiks receives more news, Puleng reconsiders her love life, and the case takes a shocking turn during a pivotal party.

Season 3 (2022)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date [9]
141"Re-Orientation"Travis TauteChinaka Iwunze25 November 2022 (2022-11-25)
Fiks pays an emotional visit to the Khumalo house and looks for answers with Puleng. The authorities investigate the Molapos. Siya starts at Parkhurst.
152"The Recruit"Travis TauteChinaka Iwunze25 November 2022 (2022-11-25)
KB confronts a surprise arrival while Fiks also receives a visitor. At school, a bullying incident gets out of hand. Chris rents a yacht for his 18th.
163"Blind Spot"Mmabatho MontshoNelisa Ngcobo25 November 2022 (2022-11-25)
Friends and loved ones rally around the Khumalos in the weeks after a terrible tragedy — but Puleng can't shake the feeling that it wasn't an accident.
174"Out of the Shadows"Thati PeleChinaka Iwunze25 November 2022 (2022-11-25)
After a police raid at a rave, Wade and Fiks take drastic measures as they try to locate missing Puleng. Meanwhile, Chris receives tough news from Wendy.
185"Mayfair"Thati PeleNelisa Ngcobo25 November 2022 (2022-11-25)
Puleng's situation grows more precarious. With the authorities remaining tight-lipped, Wade and the gang take matters into their own hands.
196"A Tale of Two Sisters"Nosipho Dumisa-NgoashengThati Pele, Mmabatho Montsho25 November 2022 (2022-11-25)
A bloody showdown takes place at the Molapo house and Puleng plots another escape — but will the perpetrators of all this pain ever see justice?



In February 2019, it was announced Netflix had picked up their second South African original production after Queen Sono with a new teen drama from Gambit Films directed by Nosipho Dumisa and written by Daryne Joshua and Travis Taute. Bradley Joshua and Benjamin Overmeyer would produce.[10]

In June 2020, Netflix renewed the series for a second season.[11] The writers' room was expanded for the second season, and Thati Peele was added to the directing team.[12]

On 6 April 2022, it was revealed the third season of the show was under production.[13]


Smuts Hall

The cast was reported when filming for season 1 began, with a line-up of Ama Qamata, Khosi Ngema, Thabang Molaba, Dillon Windvogel, and Natasha Thahane. Gail Mabalane, Sello Maake, Arno Greeff, Ryle De Morny, Getmore Sithole, Xolile Tshabalala, Monique Rockman, and Cindy Mahlangu would also feature.[14] Qamata was connected with the casting director through her work on Gomora.[15]

Leroy Panashe Siyafa, Katishcka Chanderlal, and Alzavia Abrahams joined the cast for season 2 with Greteli Fincham promoted to a more central role.[16]


Principal photography for the first season began on location in and around Cape Town in June 2019.[17] Parts of the University of Cape Town made up the fictional Parkhurst College, such as Smuts Hall and Sarah Baartman Hall. Other filming locations included Cape Town City Hall, the Bay Hotel in Camps Bay, Sea Point promenade, the Atlantic Seaboard, Durbanville, and Llandudno.[18] The swimming pool scenes were shot at Generations School in Somerset West.

Filming for the second season started 1 November 2020 and ended on 3 March 2021 in Cape Town.[19] By the third season announcement in April 2022, filming had already commenced in Cape Town.[20]


A teaser trailer for the first season was released on 11 May 2020 followed by the official trailer on 15 May.[21] All six episodes were available on Netflix from 20 May.[4]

In August 2021, Netflix announced the season 2 release date with a teaser trailer as part of their September 2021 slate. A new official poster was also revealed.[22] Netflix dropped the full trailer on 13 September.[23] The seven episode second season was released on 24 September 2021.

In October 2022, Netflix officially announced that season 3 would be released on 25 November 2022 with a teaser trailer.[24] This was followed by the full trailer on 9 November.[25]


Critical and audience response[edit]

For season 1, Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 80% based on 5 reviews with an average rating of 6.5 out of 10.[26] The series received attention from celebrities such as Gabrielle Union and Lil Nas X.[27]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
2021 South African Film and Television Awards Best TV Drama Blood & Water Won [28][3]
Best Achievement in Directing — TV Drama Nosipho Dumisa, Daryne Joshua, Travis Taute Nominated
Best Achievement in Screenwriting — TV Drama Nominated
Best Achievement in Cinematography — TV Drama Zenn van Zyl Won
Best Achievement in Sound Design — TV Drama James Olivier, Richard West, Simon Ratcliffe, Jade Hill, Jack van Wyck, Carl Roberts, Michael Broomberg, Tamlyn Taylor, Charles Singleton, David Houston, Jaime Lopes, Craig Ormond Won
Séries Brasil Awards Revelação Do Ano Ama Qamata Pending [29]
2022 South African Film and Television Awards Best Supporting Actress in a TV Drama Xolile Tshabalala Nominated [30]
Best Achievement in Scriptwriting – TV Drama Nosipho Dumisa, Travis Taute, Daryne Joshua Nominated
Best Achievement in Wardrobe – TV Drama Marne van der Burgh-Blaauw Nominated
Best Achievement in Art Direction – TV Drama Christian Joubert Nominated


  1. ^ Characters sometimes slip into other languages, especially in season 2, such as Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans, SeSotho, Shona, and Tswana.


  1. ^ "FRYA". COVAID Africa. 2020. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  2. ^ "Meet Mr Kamera, the Man Behind the Music Score for Netflix's Blood and Water". iNgudukazi. 30 August 2020. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  3. ^ a b Africa, Keshia (22 May 2021). "All the 2021 Safta winners". IOL. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  4. ^ a b "Blood & Water season 1 review – an African teen-drama that vibes easily". Ready Steady Cut. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  5. ^ "Review: Blood and Water is a Disappointing Teen Drama". The Cinemaholic. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  6. ^ Scott, Sheena. "'Blood And Water': The New Netflix Original Series From South Africa". Forbes. Retrieved 31 May 2020.
  7. ^ Bruney, Gabrielle (25 May 2020). "Netflix's 'Blood & Water' Solves Its Central Mystery, But Leaves the Door Open to Season Two". Esquire. Retrieved 31 May 2020.
  8. ^ Bruney, Gabrielle (22 May 2020). "Netflix's 'Blood & Water' Introduces American Audiences to a New Cast of Upcoming Stars". Esquire. Retrieved 31 May 2020.
  9. ^ "Shows A-Z – Blood & Water on Netflix". The Futon Critic. Retrieved 18 November 2022.
  10. ^ Vourlias, Christopher (25 February 2019). "Netflix Orders South African Teen Series 'Blood & Water'". Variety. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  11. ^ "'Shut the front door': Local hit series 'Blood & Water' gets second season". Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  12. ^ de Wee, Naledi (24 September 2021). "Exclusive: In conversation with 'Blood & Water' director Nosipho Dumisa". The South African. Retrieved 17 October 2021.
  13. ^ Smith, Carin (1 April 2022). "'We're here for the long haul': Why Netflix execs love SA". Fin24. Retrieved 6 April 2022.
  14. ^ "Netflix Starts Production On South Africa Teen Drama Series 'Blood & Water'". Black Film. 27 June 2019. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  15. ^ Tyekana, Phila. "All the way up". True Love. South Africa: pp. 46–47. Retrieved 22 October 2020 – via PressReader.
  16. ^ Kekana, Chrizelda (14 February 2021). "'Blood & Water' season 2 opens up the industry with new faces". Times Live. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  17. ^ "Blood & Water films in Cape Town for Netflix". KFTV. 27 June 2019. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  18. ^ Searra, Imogen (8 May 2020). "Behind the scenes of local Netflix series: Blood & Water". Cape Town Etc. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  19. ^ Morkel, Graye. "PHOTOS | Blood & Water season 2 underway in Cape Town". Channel. Retrieved 15 October 2020.
  20. ^ Naidoo, Alice (5 April 2022). "It's official! 'Blood & Water' season three is in production". The South African. Retrieved 6 April 2022.
  21. ^ Castillo, Jessica (12 May 2020). "Netflix's "Blood & Water" Trailer Teases "Gossip Girl" Meets "Elite" Set in South Africa Blood & Water". Teen Vogue. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  22. ^ Messina, Victoria (23 August 2021). "The Wait Is Over: We Finally Have a Teaser For Blood & Water Season 2". PopSugar. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  23. ^ Engelbrecht, Leandra (13 September 2020). "The trailer for Blood & Water season 2 is finally here!". Eyewitness News. Retrieved 15 September 2021.
  24. ^ Maako, Keitumetse (26 October 2022). "Blood & Water season 3 comes in piping hot". News24. Retrieved 26 October 2022.
  25. ^ Echebiri, Makuochi (9 November 2022). "'Blood & Water' Season 3 Trailer Reveals Dangerous Times Ahead for Puleng". Collider. Retrieved 10 November 2022.
  26. ^ "Blood & Water". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  27. ^ Grootboom, Jamal (24 August 2021). "Lil Nas X is excited for 'Blood & Water' season 2". IOL. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  28. ^ Kahla, Cheryl (29 April 2021). "Netflix bags more than 40 nominations at 2021 SAFTAs". The South African. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  29. ^ "Ama Qamata bags first international nod". IOL. 4 December 2020. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  30. ^ Ferreira, Thinus (14 July 2022). "From The Wife to Tali's Baby Diary - All the 2022 Saftas nominations". Channel24. Retrieved 16 July 2022.

External links[edit]