Rising star Mbalenhle Mavimbela, who has appeared in Skeem Saam and Isipho, has been cast as Hlomu in the highly anticipated Showmax Original telenovela The Wife.
Mbalenhle was revealed as Hlomu in a teaser released by the popular online streaming service on Tuesday (19 October). The Wife is set to premiere on 11 November 2021.
Showmax’s ‘The Wife’ cast
The Showmax telenovela, which is inspired by Dudu Busani-Dube’s bestselling novel Hlomu the Wife, boasts an exciting cast as unveiled in the teaser, which can be viewed on YouTube here.
Mbalenhle will play Hlomu, the journalist who falls in love with a taxi driver, not realising that when you marry a man, you marry his secrets. Mqhele will be played by Bonko Khoza, who burst onto the acting scene as Jabz in the multi-award-winning film Necktie Youth and has since appeared in the likes of Professionals and the Emmy-nominated Roots.
The cast also includes Kwenzo Ngcobo (Imbewu), Sipho Ndlovu (Isibaya, The Queen), SAFTA winner Abdul Khoza (Isibaya, Kings of Joburg), Mondli Makhoba (Isithembiso, Generations, Imbewu) and SAFTA nominee Thulane Shange (Is’thunzi, Ifalakhe) as the Zulu brothers.
TikTok star Linda Majola as well as SAFTA nominees Bongani Gumede (Isibaya, Zone 14, Yizo Yizo), Dumisani Dlamini (Usindiso, Yizo Yizo), Siyabonga Shibe (Gazlam, Ashes to Ashes, Rockville) and Zikhona Sodlaka (Blood Psalms, DiepCity) also feature.
Thumbs up for Mbalenhle and Bonko as Hlomu, Mqhele
“I got to spend some time with Mbali and Bonko on set and they are great – new, fresh faces,” says book series author Dudu Busani-Dube. “They’ve already developed a chemistry and should do justice to the characters.”
“Mbalenhle and Bonko are fairly fresh faces in the industry; there isn’t any one role or character that audiences can instinctively affix to them,” says showrunner Gugu Ncube-Zuma. “As a result, they will truly embody and be known intrinsically as Hlomu and Mqhele. What solidified this decision was their undeniable chemistry: it was just electric.”
“When I found out Hlomu the Wife was being turned into a series, I jumped at the chance to audition,” says Mbalenhle. “Funnily enough, a while back I did a Tik Tok pretending to be Hlomu the Wife and that I had ‘made it,’ not knowing that I would end up playing the character. It was even trending.”
She’s delighted her casting is finally public. “It feels like I’ve been keeping a secret from my fans and followers for months, and I couldn’t even post a hint. I’ve been watching fans ‘casting’ from the sidelines on Twitter and Facebook but haven’t been able to say anything.”
The Wife is being produced by Stained Glass, who’ve created SAFTA-winning shows like eHostela and Ifalakhe as well as Uzalo, South Africa’s most-watched soap opera.
Showmax has commissioned three seasons of 40 episodes each, inspired by Dudu’s books Hlomu the Wife, Zandile the Resolute, and Naledi His Love respectively. The books follow the lives of the eight Zulu brothers, a formidable crime family, through the eyes of the wives they marry.
Binge the first three episodes of The Wife from 11 November 2021, with three new episodes added every Thursday.