Queen Sono is Netflix’s first-ever original series from Africa, created and executive produced by South African actor, writer, director, and comedian Kagiso Lediga. It’s an espionage thriller that approaches international relations from a South African point of view, weaving in parts of the country’s history and modern-day politics. It stars a mostly South African cast, and characters speak a range of native languages besides English, including Zulu, Afrikaans, and Swahili.
Queen Sono was also shot in several sites across the continent. In the show, titular super-spy Queen Sono jet sets to some of Africa’s biggest cities as she tries to take down an international crime organization run by a ruthless mob leader. All the while, she’s juggling some personal issues, including office conflicts, love triangles, and tracking down the truth behind the death of her mother, a prominent anti-apartheid activist in South Africa.
Queen’s itinerary (and the Queen Sono’s list of filming locations) includes many sites in Johannesburg and surrounding cities, as that’s largely where the show is set. However, the production did leave South Africa several times to shoot scenes in locations including Zanzibar in Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Kenya, and Lagos, Nigeria.
Pearl Thusi, who plays Queen, told Entertainment Weekly that the cast and crew of Queen Sono wanted to introduce viewers to Africa’s culture, languages, and places from an African perspective. That meant lots of travel and lots of effort to get the details right.
“Because of the layers and the specific window people have chosen to look through to view the African continent, the same message is being sent over and over again,” Thusi said. “It’s been entertaining, I’m sure, and beautiful sometimes to see, but it has not been very empowering for African people.”
The team behind Queen Sono hopes to change that a bit by controlling the narrative while delivering a thrilling, action-packed original series. From Nigeria to South Africa, the striking locations where Queen Sono was shot only make the show more authentic and unforgettable.