The Special Connection Miriam Makeba Has to Netflix Tearjerker From Scratch.
When Netflix released From Scratch on 21 October, it became an instant hit, spending multiple weeks in the streamer’s top 10 most-watched TV shows.
The story – based on a true story and adapted by Tembi Locke’s novel of the same name – follows the relationship between aspiring artist Amahle, nicknamed Amy (Zoe Saldaña) and Sicilian chef Lino (Eugenio Mastrandrea), from when they meet to when their relationship ends.
As the limited series continues to trend on social media as the tearjerker of the year, it has also caught the eye of South African viewers for a very special reason.
In the show, Amy’s full name is Amahle, which derives from Zulu, meaning “they are beautiful”.
According to Locke, who the character is based, the name was chosen to pay homage to her full name, Tembekile.
Tembekile also derives from the South African language, meaning “trustworthy”.
In an October interview with Today, Locke explained: “Amy’s name was a wink and a nod to having an Afrocentric name and the ways in which it changes.”
“But her parents always call her Amahle,” the author and actor added.
Adding to the sentimentality, Locke was named by a South African and therefore wanted the character’s name to be of the same decent.
According to Locke’s bio on her official website, the Never Have I Ever actor was “born to civil rights activist parents in Houston”. She was thus named by legendary South African folksinger and anti-Apartheid activist Miriam Makeba.
In a 2019 Instagram post, Locke speaks more about her father’s work as an activist.
“When I was a kid, he kept a calendar in his kitchen with the names of all the South African freedom fighters working then to upturn Apartheid. I remember wanting to learn their names to impress him. I remember staying up at night to imagine what their lives were like so very far away,” she wrote.
In an earlier 2019 post on Instagram, Locke paid tribute to the “one-of-a-kind woman who also happened to give me my name” on what would have been her 87th birthday.