Pallance Dladla on his SAFTA-nominated role in the hit Showmax Original DAM

16 February 2023

Pallance Dladla on his SAFTA-nominated role in the hit Showmax Original DAM

DAM S1 and 2 are now ready to binge on Showmax. 

Created by four-time SAFTA winner Alex Yazbek, the first season of twisty and twisted thriller was one of the 10 most-watched titles of 2021 on Showmax and the most nominated drama series at the 2022 SAFTAs, earning rave reviews for breaking the mould of South African TV. 

It’s now three months after the Spring Festival. The cult’s ritual sacrifice seems to have worked: rain has come and transformed the land. Yola has no memory of anything since her return for her father’s funeral. Can she put the missing pieces together as diamonds are discovered, a mass grave uncovered and a monster surfaces in the dam?

Pallance Dladla and Lea Vivier return in their SAFTA-nominated roles as Themba and Yola, with Natasha Loring reprising her SAFTA-winning role as Yola’s sister, Sienna. Made in partnership with Picture Tree and the Eastern Cape Development Corporation, the Showmax Original also won Best Art Direction for Sue Steele at the 2022 SAFTAs. 

TV Mzansi says, “DAM S2 is a worthy follow-up to its exceptional predecessor. It’s just as compelling as the first season: a perfect blend of drama, horror and suspense.” Die Son agrees, calling S2 “deeper and darker.”

Shot in Adelaide and Bedford in the Eastern Cape, DAM also stars SAFTA winners Antoinette Louw, Thembisa Mdoda and Tarryn Wyngaard; Fleur du Cap winner and Africa Movie Academy Award nominee Faniswa Yisa; Laudo Liebenberg, Francis Chouler, and Gerald Steyn; and SAFTA nominees Jennifer Steyn, Andre Odendaal and Marvin-Lee Beukes. 

We caught up with Pallance to find out more about the hit Showmax Original: 

What made you want to come back to your role in Season 2? 

Definitely this family. We met at the worst time. We shot the first season during COVID. A lot of people didn’t know how the future was going to pan out. Somehow we ended up in Bedford in the Eastern Cape shooting this series, and something magical happened that resonates through the show. We became such a real family – the actors and the crew. I feel like there’s going to be more incredible things that are going to happen in our industry if we just build this family-based way of working. 

But also, Season 1 ends on a cliffhanger, so we knew that we had unfinished business …

How do you describe DAM?

It’s a psychological thriller that intertwines horror and fantasy too. It’s a rollercoaster, man. But more than anything else, it’s a story about family, love and healing. That’s what it really is. 

How was the reaction to Season 1?

It was really embraced by all cultures, which was surprising for me. I found out that people just want refreshing stories. 

It’s been incredible for me, because this is a very new genre for South Africa. We are only starting to play with genres like psychological thriller now. What Alex did is take this very heavy subject matter and make it digestible for the people by using genre. 

We shouldn’t underestimate our audiences; our audience is ready.  

Tell us about your character. 

I play uThemba. My character is almost like the moral compass for the audience. He has this purity. He’s grounded, where with Yola’s role this season, there’s a sense of disconnection. 

He realises the importance of his ancestry and that the values passed down by his forefathers are fundamental to humanity: values of love, family, forgiveness, community, and connection with nature – that we all belong in this ecosystem. And he is challenged to honourably embrace these values and these responsibilities, whatever the cost. 

The S2 trailer is freaky. Was there anything that creeped you out this season? 

When the stuntman was on fire. I’m just gonna give you that, without context. That’s the only clue I’m gonna give you. I do my own stunts, but to a certain level, not like that. So kudos for that, man. WHOO WEE. 

What was it like working with Alex and director of photography Tom Marais? 


Alex’s leadership quality is of a father. He makes everybody somehow vulnerable, but you can trust him with that vulnerability. Because Alex wrote it, it seems very personal. 

And then Tom is so amazing at finding small intricate details about the character. Every time I work with Tom, he finds something personal, that somehow resonates through the camera. One thing I love about this genre is how the camera moves and how it’s lit. That’s how you really set the mood and the world. 

I love how those two work together. They’re like little boys – every time they see a shot, they laugh like children.

The show was nominated for 11 SAFTAs and won two. Were you surprised?

No; I was waiting for more! Like, let’s take this to other festivals. Friends of mine who are not from this country, who’ve seen this, they’re like, ‘Oh. My. Gosh. What is this?’ So I want us to take it further. 

If you weren’t an actor, what would you do?

You know, I believe, somehow, through what I do, I heal myself and I heal others, I teach myself and I teach others. So I would still be telling stories for sure. If it’s not in this medium, it would be in a different medium. I would write or direct and or produce. I would do sound. I’d hold the camera. Something along those lines. 

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