Outlaws gives Mmabatho Mogomotsi the role she’s been thirsty for

17 August 2023

Outlaws gives Mmabatho Mogomotsi the role she’s been thirsty for

Mmabatho Mogomotsi, who played Snowey in Yizo Yizo more than 20 years ago, is making her acting comeback with the new Showmax Original Outlaws, premiering on 6 September 2023. 

A veteran of shows like Muvhango, Rhythm City, The Wild, Jacob’s Cross and The River, in her new role Mmabatho plays Moretlo, the Basotho queen pin of the largest cattle raiding syndicate in Lesotho. She’s the bane of the Zulu, cattle-farming Biyela clan across the border in KwaZulu-Natal. 

Lehlohonolo Mayeza as Leruo and Mmabatho Mogomotsi as Moretlo in Outlaws

South Africa’s first modern-day Western series, Outlaws is created by Tshedza Pictures’ Phathu Makwarela and Gwydion Beynon, who’ve won five Best Scriptwriting SAFTAs in the past four years for smash-hit shows like The Republic and The River, which was also nominated for an International Emmy. Outlaws is Tshedza’s second Showmax Original, building on the success of Adulting, which set a record for the most first-day views of any drama on the streaming service in March 2023. 

Watch the trailer for Outlaws

Mmabatho co-stars alongside fresh faces Lehlohonolo Mayeza and Nirvana Nokwe-Mseleku,  SAFTA winner Nolwazi Shange (The River, Mzali Wami), two-time SAFTA nominee Siyabonga Shibe (Shaka iLembe, The Wife, Gaz’lam), Men’s Health Cover Guy Challenge winner Mnqobi Kunene (How To Manifest a Man) and man of the moment, Thembinkosi Mthembu (Adulting, Shaka iLembe, The River).  

Showmax spoke to the acting legend about why Moretlo is the role she’s been thirsty for. 

Tell us about Outlaws. 

It’s a reality of stock-theft wars between communities in Lesotho and KZN, a reality for many who live in those areas. I’ve spoken to a few people who identify with the story. It’s a story where two families are at loggerheads over continued cattle theft. A story of survival. For Moretlo, it’s a story of a mother being a mom and mothering her family just to stay afloat. Doing what she needs to do and doing what’s right by her. So it’s a story of survival, in a nutshell.

Tell us about your role.

Moretlo is the matriarch of the Ts’eole family that belongs to the Basotho side of the story. Moretlo is your ordinary woman in the village but she’s got a twist about her, she will fight for her family by all means necessary. She would just put up a different personality and do what she needs to do at the time to survive, she would use her gun without thinking twice. So Moretlo is not your ordinary damsel, at war she changes into something very different.

Do you relate to your character?

I’m a mom! I’m a mom who is firm with her children, I’m a mom who’s also laid back but draws the line. Moretlo is the same with her son. She reigns  him in but lets go where necessary. So there’s a boundary that she exercises. 

That’s more like me. I’m not my children’s regular friend but they can come to me for anything, I am their mom first. That’s the kind of mom that Leruo has in the story. So that’s the similarity between me and Moretlo.

This is South Africa’s first modern-day Western. Did you have to do any stunts?

Oh, yes. We ride horses, we shoot guns, we do things I never thought I would do but always wanted to do. Some of them are a bit commanding and demanding. Because of that, there’s an opportunity for  body-doubles here and there.

Why should people watch Outlaws?

Number one, the name itself draws you in, right? Outlaws! It’s like a Western, riveting, full of drama. Most of all I have respect for the talent that you see and experience and the talent you don’t see behind the camera. It’s the puzzle coming together in the magic that is Outlaws. Both in front of and behind the camera, there’s magic in there. Besides that, the story is in itself excellent, and that’s what the audience will stay glued to.

Outlaws S1 is now streaming on Showmax.

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