‘Miseducation’ (2023) Review: Netflix’s Teen Drama Series Dive into South African Campus Life

Netflix, the streaming giant, is known for its diverse collection of high school romantic dramedies from around the world. Notable series include the most popular British drama, Sex Education, which delves into the lives of students exploring the difficulties of relationships and diversities in sexual orientation. Never Have I Ever follows the humorous yet heartfelt journey of a first-generation Indian American teenager as she deals with family, friends, and high school romance. The entertaining Mexican drama The Most Beautiful Flower takes viewers on a high school girl’s journey to explore her sexuality and find love for herself. Meanwhile, the Australian rom-com Heartbreak High is all about self-acceptance, dealing with trauma, and the enduring bonds of friendship. Now, Netflix ventures into South Africa with Rethabile Ramaphakela and Katleho Ramaphakela’s Miseducation. This six-part series centers around the journey of Mbali Hadebe, the daughter of a prominent politician. Through Mbali’s life journey, the series portrays the themes of love, adulthood, and social commentary. As Miseducation joins the ranks of Netflix’s global productions, it promises to capture the essence of youth, romance, and societal exploration, enriching the platform’s commitment to showcasing the universal aspects of young adults’ lives across borders.

Miseducation takes us into the life of Mbali Hadebe, the daughter of corrupt politician Brenda Hadebe, who faced accusations of stealing grant money. The series begins with Mbali’s extravagant party, where every action she takes becomes a source of controversy, leading to her becoming a subject of mockery and the target of social media memes. Raised in the shadow of her mother’s scandalous image, Mbali’s formative years were filled with public scrutiny and criticism. The weight of it all became too much for her to bear, which compelled Mbali to break into tears and finally drift away from her friends. In an urge to escape the spotlight and return to normalcy, she makes a life-altering decision to relocate to Makhanda, enrolling at Grahamstown University. It’s here that she crosses paths with Sivu Levin, the charming student who happens to be the university rowing champion and a candidate for SRC president. Their encounter ignites a love story that blossoms despite the difficulties of university and politics and becomes the core of Miseducation. This romantic tale takes center stage, showing how love can heal and change lives, even in difficult times.

Miseducation is a lighthearted drama that delves into the complex world of university life and uncovers issues that are relevant to today’s audience. It shines a light on problems like bullying, exclusion, and the complicated world of student politics at Grahamstown University. Through the story of Mbali Hadebe, the series vividly shows the challenges of fame and the difficulties of living under the shadow of a tarnished political legacy. As Mbali becomes more distant from her mother, she takes a drastic turn in her efforts to maintain her relationship with Sivu Levin, which leads her into morally gray areas that mirror her mother’s actions. Amidst all the chaos, some unexpected friendships develop, especially with Sivu’s adoptive sister, Natalie, who provides support and a sense of belonging. The inclusion of Jay, a character of South Asian descent playing a homosexual role, demonstrates the show’s commitment to diversity and its fearless exploration of the issue of homophobia. Miseducation doesn’t shy away from tackling these subjects, which serves as a mirror to the difficulties of modern student life.

Miseducation goes beyond the typical romantic comedy-drama by boldly addressing prevalent issues in schools and colleges, including unequal treatment between wealthy and less privileged students, as well as the harmful tradition of ragging. In addition to its central love story, the show sheds light on the often-overlooked politics on university campuses, shining a spotlight on these important matters. The character Sivu Levin is at the center of this academic struggle. He faces a tough choice: should he stick to his privileged, bullying white classmates, or should he support the students who are being mistreated by them? This is a big moral dilemma, and it shows the difficulty of doing what’s right when faced with injustice.

As student elections approach, another strong candidate, Caesar, becomes Sivu’s main competition. Caesar’s involvement in an attack on Jay highlights the need for serious action against intolerance and violence in college life. The promising cast, helmed by Buntu Petse, who plays Mbali Hadebe, and Lunga Shabalala, who plays Sivu Levin, do a fantastic job, making their roles feel real and genuine. Besides the protagonists, we get to see a diverse cast, including Prev Reddy as a South Asian student, Jay Naidoo, and Micaela Tucker as Natalie Levin, who did an absolutely amazing job in the show, portraying a beautiful bonding between these characters. Through these diverse character journeys, “Miseducation” captures the feeling of college life, mixing in elements of romance and humor. It shows the contrast between the excitement of youth and the serious problems that students face. In the end, it’s a show that not only entertains but also makes you think about crucial issues in education.

As Miseducation Season 1 wraps up, it leaves us with lots of questions and characters we want to learn more about. The final episode hints at the possibility of a new season on Netflix, where we can dive deeper into the stories, flaws, and growth of the cast. Fans are left in suspense, wondering if Mbali will overcome her challenges or if someone will come to her rescue. The show’s open-ended conflicts and mysteries leave ample room for more storytelling. At the core of the show is the evolving relationship between Mbali and Sivu, which has been a central focus. Its continuation is expected to be a driving force in the ongoing story, even though there’s no official confirmation of the second season yet. Bit fans can anticipate the potential arrival of a second season of Miseducation. This series has already made an impact by addressing important issues in the academic world, and future episodes promise more drama and exploration of these fascinating characters and their stories.

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Poulami Nanda
Poulami Nanda
Poulami Nanda hails from a medical background, yet her journey is to cross the boundaries of medicine and survive in the cinematic world. The surrealistic beauty of cinema and art has attracted her from a very young age. She loves to write poems, songs, and stories, but her dream is to write films someday. She has also worked as a painter, but nothing attracts her more than cinema. Through her writings, she wants to explore the world of cinema more and more and take her readers on the same ride.

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Miseducation is a lighthearted drama that delves into the complex world of university life and uncovers issues that are relevant to today's audience.'Miseducation' (2023) Review: Netflix's Teen Drama Series Dive into South African Campus Life