The Wife Season 3 set a new four-day viewing record for Showmax when it launched last Thursday. This week’s new episodes are again trending at #1 on Twitter, in part over the demise of one of the telenovela’s most celebrated and loved characters: Nqoba Zulu, played by the multi-talented actor Abdul Khoza.
Fans of The Wife continuously raved about Abdul’s performance as the hot-headed Zulu brother, describing it as perfect casting. Abdul, born in KwaMashu in Durban, earned himself a DStv Mzansi Viewers’ Choice Favourite Actor Award for this iconic role earlier this year. Abdul also took home his second Golden Horn when he won Best Supporting Actor in a Telenovela at the 2022 SAFTAs.
If you’ve been following the lives of the Zulu brothers from the beginning of the telenovela, the formidable crime family has come to feel like your family, too, right? So, saying goodbye to Nqoba was never going to be easy, and it certainly has not been easy for Abdul’s co-stars, who have built a strong bond with him from the very beginning of this journey.
‘The Wife’ cast members praise Abdul Khoza
Check out what The Wife cast had to say about Abdul’s impact on the show and their bittersweet farewell messages:
Zikhona Sodlaka: “He is the scene partner I didn’t know I needed.”
Mandisa and Nqoba became Mzansi’s most relatable and loved couple. “What an incredible opportunity it is to work with such a talented man,” says Zikhona Sodlaka, who plays Mandisa. “I think our chemistry worked because of how dynamic yet similar our characters are. The one is a female version of the other and vice versa. He is the scene partner I didn’t know I needed. We got to play so much on set.”
Mondli Makhoba: “We were always on our toes because of how good he is.”
“I really enjoyed working with Abdul,” says Mondli Makhoba, who plays the eldest Zulu brother, Nkosana. “I’m really grateful for the relationship we have, both on and off-set. I think the off-set relationship we had made it easier for the on-screen chemistry. I was lucky to have an opportunity to work with him because of how good he is. It was challenging but a good challenge because he always wanted us to push each other to get better every time. He always wanted us to find better and more artistic ways to do scenes. We were always on our toes because of how good he is.
“But also, we were able to find ourselves in each other. I knew that I was safe with him, and we were all safe with each other in terms of work. I remember there was a scene we did when we were disciplining Mqhele, and while discussing the scene, he was like, ‘It’s going to be too far to go around the table, I’m just going to go over it. One of you has to catch me.’ And we did!”
Mbalenhle Mavimbela: “He was fun and made fun.”
Mbalenhle Mavimbela, who plays one of the Zulu matriarchs, Hlomu, shares some of her fondest memorable moments with Abdul. “Oh man! I have so many memories with Abdul but my favourite one was when he jumped on the table to try to reach one of the brothers. That showed how much he cared about Hlomu and Mbali,” she says.
“Honestly, something that’s very close to my heart is how he used to encourage me in between scenes. When I had challenging or very emotional scenes, he would come to me and speak to me on the side. Just to reassure me that I’m doing well. He would give me tips on how to play a certain part. I think that’s how much he cared and how much he saw my passion. I learnt so much from him; he was fun and made fun. He created that unity. He’s so talented. We love you, Abdul,” adds Mbali.
“I also loved how he called me ‘uMakoti obizayo’ (an expensive wife) and guess what, that stuck with the whole nation. Everyone now calls me ‘uMakoti obizayo’ because of him. Oh my God, he’s such a talented artist and we’re going to miss him. Shout out to you, Abdul; I hope I’ll work with you again one day.”
Sipho Ndlovu: “He brought us together.”
One thing that was evident amongst the Zulu brothers was the bond they built between them on and off screen. Sipho Ndlovu, who plays Sambulo, shares how they’ve become family in their time working together and how important this was for Abdul.
“The success of Season 1 was driven by Abdul Khoza. He is one person who made sure that we have unity, and he brought us together. He ensured that we remained one, even off-screen as brothers. This became evident even to the viewers as they started picking up that the brotherhood they see on screen is just as strong off-screen,” he said.
“We attended gigs together, and even when it was only one brother who was booked, we went together to support him. He created that bond among the brothers. He always reminded us to do our best. We will miss all the fun on set, and we appreciate the role he played and also the fact that, while he has been in the industry for a while, he was down to earth. May he continue doing that to other shows.”
Kwenzo Ngcobo: “He is a great leader and an icon.”
Kwenzo Ngcobo, who plays Qhawe, the Season 3 lead, says he is honoured to have worked with Abdul and has learnt a great deal from him. “We will miss Abdul so much. It was wonderful working with him and there are so many fond memories that are still playing in my mind. He is a great leader and an icon. The fact that I got to share a screen with an actor like him is an honour. What an inspiring man. Working with Abdul taught me so many things.”
Thulane Shange: “Our journey continues until Jesus comes.”
Thulane Shange, who plays Mqoqi, shares how beautiful the journey has been working with Abdul but also assures us that the journey doesn’t end here. “I’ve got nothing but love for you, my big brother. Working with you has been a very beautiful and an amazing creative journey since the beginning. You know how much I respect and look up to you. The Wife journey might be ending for you but our journey continues until Jesus comes. I know wherever you are, you will keep motivating other actors like me. May it be a good one. Remain humble. I’ve got nothing but love for you.”
Swelihle Luthuli: “He was like a big brother to me.”
“Working with Abdul Khoza on The Wife is something I didn’t expect,” says Swelihle Luthuli, who plays Nqoba’s younger brother, Ntsika. “At first I thought maybe he would be like a superstar but he came across as very humble and chilled. He may seem like a hardcore person when you don’t know him but he’s very soft. Him exiting the show made me sad because of the bond we all have. He was like a big brother to me. He would always check up on me and also avail himself for assistance in terms of performance. He’s a person who cares and I will miss him so much.”
Binge the first six episodes of The Wife Season 3 now on Showmax, with new episodes landing every Thursday. Look out for Nqoba’s funeral in next week’s episodes, dropping 24 November 2022. This week’s teaser is also available on YouTube.