The average South African family doesn’t look like the average TV family so it makes us (as viewers) very happy to see the occasional unconventional family depicted on our favourite shows.
Defined as something that is not based on or conforming to what is generally done or believed, calling a family unconventional refers to that fact that it comes in a form different to the cliche; mom, dad and two kids.
Gone are the days when that family unit was the ideal. Circumstances just don’t allow it anymore - and while there are people who will shame families that do not come in that old-school form, being exposed to different types of families normalizes them therefore changing perceptions and eradicating the negative perceptions around things that weren’t always deemed “normal.”
Gog’ Flo, Cosmo, Lucy, Gertie, Namhla and Lesedi - Generations
Not only is this household headed by the family’s grandmother but it also has an unconventional father figure in the form of Cosmo. The Diale’s also later took in Lesedi - who initially came to them as an orphan - and has come to mean so much to the family that Lucy refers to her as her daughter.
Families all over the world often take in other people’s children due to a number of circumstances but it still remains to be widely depicted on TV.
Romeo and Grace Medupe - Scandal
As common as single mothers are, they are rarely shown as something normal on SA TV. This type of family unit is usually shown as something that needs to be fixed by the presence of a man who is supposed to also be romantically linked to the mom.
Father figures come in many forms, not just daddy 2.0 and Romeo and Grace’s family unit is a perfect example of that.
Dintle and Quinton - Scandal
As more and more children are born out of wedlock, this type of family unit becomes more common; the couple who are raising a child together without being romantically involved and without the bitter drama.
It has also been depicted on shows like Skeem Saam, Isidingo and Isibaya, among others.
Chris Welmans and Lesedi - 7de Laan
KB Motsilanyane plays, Lesedi, the newly discovered love child of the patriarch of the Welmans family (Chris). Although, none of the characters on the show knows about the connection yet, nor will they be able to make said connection it immediately because she does not look mixed-race.
The story goes that Lesedi’s parents used to work on Chris’ dad’s farm back in the say and Chris had a thing with Lesedi’s mom. Seeing as interracial relationships were illegal back then, Lesedi’s mom had to keep it a secret and she was raised under the guise that she was Jacob’s (Patrick Shai) daughter. Even though the news about their relation has not yet been revealed, it will be interesting to see how it plays out once it comes out.
This type of storyline has also played out in some form of another through the introduction of Grace Mashaba’s character in Generations (pre-legacy), Abena Ayivor's stint as Barker Haine's daughter Isidingo as well as that of Fezile Mpela’s character in SABC 3’s High Rollers.
We have yet to see any homosexual couples with children enjoying permanent roles on any of SA's biggest shows but there will always be time for that (we hope producers are reading this).
Main image credit: etv.co.za