African streaming service Showmax has inked a two-series slate deal with Tshedza Pictures, the South African production company behind the International Emmy-nominated telenovela “The River,” the company announced Tuesday at the start of the Joburg Film Festival.

“Adulting,” Tshedza’s first Showmax Original, is an eight-part drama series set in the parallel universes of four varsity friends. Their strong bond has held them together even as their journeys in life have taken them in very different directions — a bond the show’s creators describe as “the bromance of the decade.”

Tshedza’s second Showmax Original, “Outlaws,” is a cross-cultural love story that plays out in the dangerous world of cattle-theft syndicates in the lawless land on the border between Lesotho and South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal region. 

“Adulting” is set to premiere in the first half of 2023, while the 40-episode epic drama series “Outlaws” is expected to be delivered in the second half of the year. 

Tshedza’s co-founders, Phathu Makwarela and Gwydion Beynon, are also the creators of the South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTA) best TV drama winner “The Republic,” and have won five best scriptwriting SAFTAs in the last four years. 

“There’s so much creative freedom in working with Showmax, who have broadened the landscape of what’s being made on South African TV,” said Makwarela. “We’re given the freedom to tell authentic African stories on an African streaming platform.”

Tshedza Pictures co-founders Phathu Makwarela (left) and Gwydion Beynon. Courtesy of MultiChoice

“We couldn’t be more excited about ‘Adulting’ and ‘Outlaws,’” said Yolisa Phahle, CEO of Showmax and connected video at MultiChoice. “Both series are real, bold and very different from anything ever seen before locally. Tshedza have mastered the art of brave storytelling; they always give audiences the chance to dream bigger while telling stories that reflect South Africa right now.”

The two shows are part of a broad slate of Showmax Originals already set to launch in 2023, including “Catch Me a Killer,” a co-production with Germany’s Night Train Media, about South Africa’s first-ever serial-killer profiler, starring Charlotte Hope (“The Spanish Princess”), and the Canal+ co-production “Spinners,” an action drama directed by Jaco Bouwer (“Gaia”) about the extreme South African motor sport of spinning.

Also on tap is the second season of SAFTA-winning psychological thriller “DAM,” plus first seasons of “The Real Housewives of Abuja” and “The Real Housewives of Nairobi,” as well as a third season of the Durban edition of the NBCUniversal franchise. Other titles include season 2 of the Kenyan series “Single Kiasi” and a first season of the Nigerian telenovela “Wura.”

Meanwhile, the Showmax Original crime series “Donkerbos,” which wrapped on the platform this month to rave local reviews, is the only African series chosen for Berlinale Series Market Selects at this year’s EFM.