Country Queen, the first Kenyan Netflix original, is a drama that explores Kenya’s complex history with gold mining while also offering a parallel tale about complex families. After a ten-year self-exile, Nairobi event director Akisa presumably the titular country queen returns to her hometown of rural Tsilanga in the film’s lead role, played by Melissa Kiplagat.
The six-episode first season opens with Akisa organizing an occasion for Eco Rock, a significant Kenyan gold mining firm.
The business is led by Vivienne Sibala (Nini Wacera), and Akisa obtained the contract with the assistance of Max (Blessing Lung’aho), who is also Vivienne’s husband and Akisa’s boyfriend.
The occasion is crucial for Akisa’s profession, so she wouldn’t have wanted things to turn out the way they did with Max accidentally telling his wife about their connection and an irate man showing up to the party to smear Vivienne and accusing the company of land grabbing.
However, it is how the event unfolds. She receives a surprise call from her Aunt Salome (Muthoni Gathecha), telling her that her father is gravely ill, adding to an already horrible night. By dawn, Akisa is returning to her town and the father who abducted her child ten years prior, the mother who doesn’t appear to want to see her, and the father.
The invasion of Tsilanga by Eco Rock in pursuit of gold takes place at the same time as Akisa’s return. The firm is doing what capitalism is most despised for: utilizing the weak to enhance the wealth of the powerful, with ambitions to transform the entire town into a goldmine. Villagers are being duped into abandoning town and their lands in exchange for meager payments.
Children who are starving are placed into actual holes in the ground in exchange for unreliable payment.
And conflicting interests are tearing apart families. The greatest plot of land in the center of Eco Rock’s proposed operation belongs to Akisa’s father, Mwalimu (Raymond Ofula), who refuses to sell it despite the fact that Eco Rock has his brothers in its crosshairs and has threatened to destroy him and his way of life.
Akisa is returning home to this mess as if navigating her complicated relationship with her parents Esther, played by Mumbi Kaigwa wasn’t difficult enough.
Other than her aunt Salome, no one from her past seemed to be on Akisa’s side beside a man by the name of Kyalo (Melvin Alusa).
Kyalo still has feelings for Akisa, her childhood sweetheart who doesn’t know why she left home or why they had a kid together.
However, he is about to wed Anna (Sheila Munyiva of Rafiki fame), the town doctor, and Akisa’s reappearance inevitably strains their relationship.
Blood . Gold . Love
When an invasive mining company threatens the existence of her village, a city girl caught between two worlds must return home, overcome her painful past to save the village, and find herself in the process.
Directed by: Vincent Mbaya, Brian Munene, David “Tosh” Gitonga
Written by: Wanjeri Gakuru, Oprah Oyugi, Lydia Matata, Kimani Waweru, Shirleen Wangari, Ian Kithinji, Mkamzee Chao Mwatela, Florence Onyango, Annette Shadeya, Kamau Wa Ndung’u
Produced by: Kamau Wa Ndung’u
Cinematography: Andrew Mungai
Edited by: Mkaiwawi Mwakaba, Aleks Kamau
Starring: Melissa Kiplagat, Melvin Alusa, Nini Wacera
Content courtesy of Netflix & NFH