The globally trending TV show, Blood & Water, has become a hot topic on social media after viewers and film critics noticed a likeness between the storyline andthe real-life kidnapping saga of Zephany Nurse, now known as Miché Solomons.
The six-part series, which was shot in Cape Town and stars local actors, was released on Netflix on 20 May.
It is about a 16-year-old girl Puleng Khumalo (Ama Qamata) who goes to extremes to find her missing 17-year-old sister Fikile Bhele (played by Khosi Ngema), who was abducted at birth from a hospital.
Just like the Nurses, the fictional family also celebrates the birthday of the missing girl every year with a huge cake, until she is found at the age of 17.
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@bloodandwaternetflix After crossing paths at a party, a Cape Town teen sets out to prove whether a private-school swimming star is her sister who was abducted at birth. blood and water can't wait.￼ @mekaila_mathys @shamilla.miller @puffydillon @sellomkn @greteli.fincham @xolile.tshabalala @amaqamata @arnogreeff @cindy_thando @khosingema @natasha_thahane @netflix @netflixsa #bloodandwater #bloodandwaternetflix MAY 20 get ready It's exciting guys 😍😍😍
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Zephany was just three days old on 30 April 1997 when Lavona Solomon stole her from her mother Celeste Nurse’s side, while they were sleeping in a ward at Groote Schuur Hospital.
The sensational story of her reunion with her biological family and the kidnapping trial of her “mother” made headlines around the world.
But Miché, now 23, and her father Morné Nurse say despite the striking similarities to their lives, no one from Gambit, the producers, or Netflix consulted with them about the series.
Miché posted on Facebook: “Beautiful and well done. We have been receiving tons of questions around Blood & Water, that there are so much similarities to our lives and story.
“Is it our personal story? Did we give permission? Unfortunately no, we were not made aware of it at the time and had no involvement in Blood & Water.”
Dad Morné says they had no involvement in the making of the film and called it “a fantasy”.
“It’s not the Nurses’ story, we have no relations or connection to the movie called Blood & Water, it’s a nice try, well constructed, but not our story though.
“The Nurses’ true life story is still to come and Blood & Water was inspired by tabloids and media tales, same with a book called A Home for Zephany.
“Unfortunately for Gambit films it’s not the true life story of our story, but a mere fiction taken off tabloids and newspapers. A fantasy put together merely for entertainment.
“Zephany Nurse the name has NO CONNECTION WHATSOEVER.”
The Daily Voice contacted Gambit and Netflix to ask if they had consulted with Miché and the Nurses about the show.
According to them, the family is aware of the show, but they wouldn’t clarify if this was before or after it started streaming on Netflix.
They also denied the show was based on the Nurses’ lives.
In a statement to the Daily Voice, they said: “Zephany Nurse and her family are aware of the show - however our show creators centred their story around a 16-year-old girl who engineers her transfer to a new and prestigious high school in Cape Town when she learns of a 17-year-old girl whom she suspects might be her sister who was kidnapped at birth.
“This is a dramatised and heightened fictional story that revolves around Puleng’s quest to discover the truth - and the teenagers whose lives are touched by this journey with the backdrop of Cape Town, South Africa not seen before.”
The sensational tale of Zephany
Zephany Nurse was just three days old on 30 April 1997 when Lavona Solomon, 54, stole her from her mother Celeste Nurse’s side, while they were sleeping in a ward at Groote Schuur Hospital.
Celeste and her husband, Morné, celebrated their eldest child’s birthday every year, never losing hope that they would find her.
The couple went on to have three more children, but their marriage broke down in 2014.
Earlier this month they announced that they reunited.
Meanwhile, Lavona raised Zephany, whom she named Miché, as an only child with her husband, Michael, in Seawinds, Lavender Hill, close to where the Nurses lived in neighbouring Capricorn, Muizenberg.
Miché’s world came crashing down in February 2015, when the Hawks came to arrest her “mother”.
Zephany was found after her sister, Cassidy Nurse, started attending the same high school as her and everyone commented on their striking resemblance.
The girls became friends and after meeting Miché, who was in matric at the time, Morné called in the Hawks.
DNA tests proved that the girl was indeed his long lost child, Zephany.
During the trial, it was revealed that Lavona had suffered a number of miscarriages, which she said had made her desperate to have a child of her own to love.
Lavona denied stealing Zephany, insisting that she was handed a newborn baby at Wynberg Train Station by a woman named “Sylvia", a claim dismissed by Judge President Yahya Hlophe as a “fairytale”.
In 2016 Lavona was sentenced to 10 years behind bars.
Miché at first rejected her biological family but has since reconciled with the Nurses.