18 December 2019
Dream: The Lebo Mathosa Story comes to its dramatic conclusion
Nothing was going to stand in the way of musician Lebo Mathosa’s dream – but it was all cut short by a tragic car accident in 2003. She was set on becoming an iconic pop star, topping charts and winning music awards by the truckload. And it all’s played out on this year’s six-part biopic Dream: The Lebo Mathosa Story – a first of its kind from BET South Africa, now ready to bingewatch on Showmax. Set in the 90s, it kicks off just as Lebo has lost her big-name group Boom Shaka.
“Because the show is a biopic, it allows leeway between fact and fiction. Aesthetically, I don’t look or sound anything like Lebo, but I dug deep to access my raw emotions.”KB Motsilenyane
Not that kind of show
Dream isn’t the typical biopic that follows the celebrity from childhood to stardom. It starts off with an adult Lebo (played by real-life musician KB Motsilenyane, who worked with Lebo as a label mate) having one of her many nightmares – she is lost and can’t find her way home. And every now and again, there’s a flashback to her as a teen (portrayed by Bahumi Madisakwane, whose choreographer father Somizi knew the real Lebo) trying to prove that she could crack it as a singer.
“Because the show is a biopic, it allows leeway between fact and fiction. Aesthetically, I don’t look or sound anything like Lebo, but I dug deep to access my raw emotions,” says KB of her performance.
Blood, sweat & tears
The underlying theme throughout the biopic is that Lebo is struggling to find her voice and identity after going solo. She’s days away from losing her apartment because she can’t keep up with payments. Her friends are giving her a hard time. And she’s making headlines for the wrong reasons.
To cope with the pressure, Lebo turns to alcohol, drugs and excessive partying. But when her friends leave, she has nightmares about her life flashing before her eyes. “We get to see her vulnerability as well as her journey. She had given so many of us life through her craft, but many of us have no idea of how she was feeling,” explains KB.
Aside from Lebo’s tenacity and fighting spirit, the biopic highlights the singer’s turbulent romance with her on-off girlfriend Sibongile (Khabonina Qubeka) that was filled with jealousy and violence but also love and tenderness.
Racing against time
In-between Lebo’s numerous roads to fame, there’s a storyline that plays out in the background. A despondent woman named Nobomi (Charmaine Mtinta) is searching for her child. She leaves her house in the Eastern Cape after losing a baby and travels to Johannesburg.
When she returns home dishevelled, she reveals that she had an affair with her teacher and priest Pastor Maseko (Sello Maake Ka-Ncube) while she was still in high school and he snatched the baby from her, palming it off to another family to raise.
And it’s in that search for a child that Lebo’s story is revealed and the truth about her life that almost no one knew about.
While there has been a lot of negativity from fans and people associated with Lebo, Dream is telling a different story. It’s not about the young Lebo. It’s about the tortured artist, her rise to iconic fame – she’s still spoken about with the most revered tone of respect in 2019, almost 20 years after her death – and her life away from the public eye.
This is Lebo Mathosa like we never knew her.
Watch to the end of the series for the twist in the tale. We were left with a new perspective on this South African superstar, and a profound respect for her art and her suffering.