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JIS News

Renowned Jamaican playwright and actor, David Heron, has landed a role in the new drama series Ya Ma Afrika, scheduled to have its world network premiere in February 2007.
Set in New York City, Ya Ma Afrika follows the personal and professional lives of four ambitious and attractive young African women sharing an apartment in Brooklyn, New York.
As they try to forge a better life for themselves in their adopted homeland, they encounter numerous obstacles and challenges ranging from immigration issues to romance to various family crises.
The half-hour drama series will air on the popular international cable channel 3A Telesud, which is beamed to millions of viewers throughout Africa and Europe and is seen in the United States on The Dish Network.
Heron plays the role of Marcus Leslie, an advertising agency employee and co-worker of one of the four principal characters. “He’s employed to the same ad agency as Thandi, one of the four roommates who hails from South Africa,” Heron explained to JIS News of his character.
“They are good friends, and he’s married, but he has also has a bit of an eye, so there are several compromising situations in which he gets himself as the series goes on,” he added.
Ironically enough, Heron had originally auditioned for another role when he first met with the producers in October.
“I was up for the role of a cop, who becomes a kind of knight in shining armour for one of the four girls,” he recalled, “but the producers called me back and said they were going to create a totally new character for me, based on what I’d done in the audition. and now it’s developed into a larger role than the one I’d originally gone in for.that was really flattering”.
This is Heron’s first recurring role in a television series and he is eagerly anticipating the challenge. He said he hoped to inject a Jamaican vibe into the character.
“Marcus is Jamaican born and has been living in New York for many years, and like the four lead characters, he still identifies strongly with his homeland. I’m hoping to inject a real ‘yard’ vibe into him to add to the show’s diversity and appeal, and hopefully, keep Jamaica firmly in focus and on the map,” he told JIS News.
Award winning African filmmaker Thato Mwaso from Botswana, serves as writer and director for the series, which is executive produced by Cameroonian born Else Bollanga. The cast includes Miss Universe 1999, Mpule Kwelagobe also of Botswana; top runway model Soulemayne Sy Sylvane, who is from the Ivory Coast; and US radio personality Omekongo, who is of Congolese descent.
“It’s an exciting opportunity for me to be part of a truly international production team that includes personnel from all over the Diaspora, including Cameroon, Botwsana, Kenya, Nigeria, the United States and Haiti,” Heron told JIS News. He added that, “it gives the production a really cosmopolitan outlook and will give viewers around the world a totally different perspective on the lives of Africans and other people of colour living in the big city”.
Heron also revealed that the producers were in negotiations to have the show air throughout the West Indies, including Jamaica.