If you’re part of the data struggle, you may have to switch networks and subscribe to that free Whatsapp as Sanlam debuts its new drama today which will only be available via Whatsapp.
The show is called Uk’shona Kwelanga and was written by veteran scriptwriter Bongi Ndaba who has worked on shows such as Generations in the past.
“How does a Whatsapp show work” you may ask? Well, the story takes place entirely within WhatsApp allowing subscribers to ‘be a fly on the wall’ as the fictional family’s funeral arrangements unfold via text, voice notes and video.
They set up a WhatsApp group to plan the funeral of the family’s recently deceased elder, Bab’ Langa. Financial pressure, family secrets and unanswered questions give rise to tension as they scramble to raise money to give Bab’ Langa the funeral he deserves.
Writing a script for something like this proved to be a challenge for Ndaba who admitted  “despite WhatsApp having 1.2 billion monthly users globally, very few brands have successfully tapped into the platform due to its technical challenges. This was an opportunity to engage Sanlam’s audience in a new way via a channel they actively use. A first for advertising, and a first for me,” according to Daily Sun.
We wondered how viewer engagement would happen but it seems the “viewers” will be allowed to contribute to the situation. “By using relatable characters and a relevant storyline I hope to grip the attention and imagination of subscriber’s immediately. They’ll be part of a family WhatsApp conversation as it unfolds in real-time – no other drama is as real, instant or engaging,” explained Ndaba.
Uk’shona Kwelanga boasts an all-star cast including the likes of Bongani Madondo from Shabangu and Mtunzini; John Nhlanhla from Isidingo, Stokvel, and Generations; Linda Sokhulu from Isidingo; Makgotso M from Isidingo and Muvhango; Thembi Mtshali from Stokvel and League of Glory; and Ivy Mkuthu from Generations.
Mtshali, who currently plays Gertrude on the eTV drama, Broken Vows expressed her excitement about the project, stating “most people use WhatsApp these days as it’s the easiest and most popular means of communication.  Even my 85 year-old father uses the app. I think it’s going to be an exciting new form of entertainment; something that has never been done before. You can watch this drama from anywhere you are - even people travelling on taxis can be part of it.”
The drama debuts today and will continue for six weeks, ending in mid July. To find out more, click here.
To sign up to receive Uk’shona Kwelanga updates as they happen: 
  1. SMS your name and surname to 45603
  2. Save '073 174 4396' as 'Sanlam Funeral' in your contacts. You won’t receive any messages if this step is skipped
  3. You will be sent the daily episodes on WhatsApp every day for 7 days

Main image credit: sanlam.co.za