Netflix‘s hit South African soapy, teen drama series Blood & Water is back for another season after captivating viewers amid last year’s season 1 debt during quarantine.

In the second season of the show, as Netflix states, “Parkhurst High returns with a rocky start between Puleng and Fikile following the revelation of the DNA results and the drama ensures to test old alliances and forging new and unlikely friendships. A new school therapist joins the staff and a new hunk, Sam, joins the Parkhurst gang with both bringing a few secrets of their own… One thing that we can all be sure of is nothing is ever as it seems and nobody will be left unscathed by the truth.”

Ahead of the season 2 premiere, Shadow and Act spoke with series stars Ama Qamata (Puleng Khumalo), Khosi Ngema (Fikile Bhele), Thabang Molaba (Karabo “KB” Molapo), Dillon Windvogel (Wade Daniels) and Cindy Mahlangu (Zama Bolton).

Leads Ama Qmata and Khosi Ngema on how their characters deal in season 2 after a tumultuous season 1 that continues to have a heavy hold on this year’s events:

Ama Qamata: I think in season 1, what I’ve discovered about Puleng and her character is that she definitely has trust issues. So even with Wade coming along with her in the journey, it was because he kind of caught her in the act of trying to find some stuff. And with Fikile as well. Fikile confronted her and this was the truth and she could not hide it anymore. But I think her journey into season 2, we get to see a lot of things more in-depth. So I think we get to see her boldness more in-depth. And how far she’s willing to go to prove that Fikile is her sister. So yeah, the stakes are definitely higher. They’re raised and it’s a life or death situation. So I think she has that the back of her mind of, I can’t be wrong about this because I’ve already invested so much to find out the truth and I’ve really invested so much that Fikele is my sister. So I just had to go with it.

Khosi Ngema: Fikile in season 1 is very sheltered. I think she lives in a bubble. You know, she strives for perfection and I think when we find her in season 1, she is actually trying to pay her own way, trying to find her own voice and her own identity that is besides everything that everyone has labeled her to be, this rich girl. She’s trying to show the world that actually there’s more to me. So while she’s doing that, this whole thing happens around her entire identity as well. And everything that she’s known is in question now. So in season 2, she’s obviously battling with that, in denial, she’s angry, she’s confused. But within all of that chaos internally, I feel like she does find strength within herself. She almost finds her own voice in how she wants things to progress. She makes some choices, to control the narrative a bit because she’s just tired of things happening to her. And so I feel like in season 2, she has a more hands-on role in how the story progresses and finding out the truth in all that.

Dillon Windvogel and Cindy Mahlangu on the changes and character development seen in Wade and Zama over the course of the new season, as well as new star Leroy Sifaya on his character Sam.

Dillon Windvogel: I think Wade takes not necessarily a full 360, but we definitely see a different side of Wade. And I think it’s all brought onto him by the different situations he finds himself in. New situations bring out this different side and this new side. He has to stand up for himself. Wade’s now moving on in his love life per se. And I think, I can give credit to all the situations he finds himself in throughout the season 2. And I think it’s about time that Wade stood up for himself and I’m glad that it happened as early as it did. From the beginning of season 2, we see him already make this change because of how season 1 had ended.

Cindy Mahlangu: I think with me, every scene with Zama, I honestly get something new out of it and something I never thought she had within her. But with this, outside of her being a great friend to Puleng, which is something that will never change, she’ll stick on it. But not only that, she goes through her own journey when it comes to love. And she makes certain decisions where she is just like, oh, I think this is comfortable for me. I think I want to do this. So why not? Let me try it out. And also when she’s fine with it, she’s just like, I think this is not the space I want to be in or the situation I want to be in. So she’s very firm and then she removes herself from that situation. So she sticks to her decisions. You know, she’s just like, this is what I’m going to do. And this is not what I’m going to do.

Leroy Sifaya: As the season develops, we get to see a lot more of Sam as not just this quirky guy, who is smooth, but we get to see the fact that he wears his heart on his sleeve and that he really cares about the people that he loves and that at the end, he values family above everything else.

Going into season 1 as a new show and now heading into season 2 as a show with a global audience and fans around the globe.

Thabang Molaba: When we went into season 1, we were definitely not expecting it to be such a big show. We were all just nervous saying, ‘Hey, is this going to do well? Is there going to be a season 2?’ We have seen the reception from the audience, we were just like, ‘OK now we need to not really top season 1, but we still need to bring the A-game and then push it forward a bit more.’ So yeah, it was really exciting to see how well it did. It was really a blessing to be a part of it all, a huge blessing. It opened so many doors as well.

Khosi Ngema: It’s really humbling. Like you said, it is a global sensation and we didn’t really expect it to reach as many people as it did, but Netflix being the platform that it is, of course it would have reached the entire world. But if anything, for me it’s encouraging to hear from all the fans from all over the world, Brazil [and] America even, just people saying, ‘Wow, I feel so inspired. ‘And yeah, sometimes I get in my feels about it. But it just shows you how universal everything is and how we’re essentially all the same. Like the fact that people can relate to a South African story all over the world just shows you that we’re one.

How the show is impacting the visibility of South African, African and Black stories?

Ama Qamata: I think for me,, the most humbling part and just a great realization was I think a lot of the times, so our stories are told obviously from a different perspective, not from our own voices. And I think a lot of that has to do, obviously with just controlling the narrative. But also there was just a lack of trust. Like, could we give people a project this big and would it be successful? Would it be a commercial success? And I’m glad the plan was approved that it can be. You can trust black creators and African creatives to tell these stories and people will relate to it. People will gravitate towards it. So I’m hoping there’s a continuation of that throughout the continent. We’ve just seen more voices amplified and Black voices amplified. And to see more positive storytelling for the Black child and the African child, not just one of poverty and struggling. Those are important, but I think these ones are important as well to see a different perspective of what it is to be African and a Black creative.

Watch the full interviews below: