It's the end of an era as Masasa Mbangeni exits "Scandal!". Picture: Supplied
It's the end of an era as Masasa Mbangeni exits "Scandal!". Picture: Supplied

An ode to Thembeka Shezi-Nyathi

By Buhle Mbonambi Time of article published Jun 13, 2020

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As the life drained from Thembeka Shezi-Nyathi, her teeth crimson red, blood oozing out of her mouth, she asked Quinton to forgive her. 

He cradled her, reassuring that he has and help is on the way.

I sat on the couch, a bit shocked and watched this scene play-out. A few minutes ago I had tweeted 'Nooooooo' when the gun went off and I realised that Mthunzi Mayiza had shot Thembeka after their scuffle. 

And like the coward he is, Mthunzi bolted from Quinton's apartment, running away from yet another crime. As I watched Thembeka die, and an emotional Quinton holding her, tears welled up in my eyes. Thembeka was gone.

It is rare for a South African TV show to indulge actors and fans of the show like "Scandal!" has done, especially with this particular storyline. 

The e.tv show is one of the few shows that consistently delivers storylines that leave you at the edge of your seat. It is more a drama than it is a soap opera and that has helped set the show apart from other soapies on TV.
It's the end of an era as Masasa Mbangeni exits "Scandal!" Her character Thembeka Shezi was killed by Bongile Mantsai's Mthunzi Mayiza. Picture: Supplied
No one thought that this would be Masasa Mbangeni's swan song on the show. Ironically, her return was to make amends with the people she had wronged, specifically Quinton. She had a serious health condition she was living with and had only a few months left to live. 

Reunited with Quinton, life was good. Until she found out she was misdiagnosed and now had to tell Quinton that it she was actually fine. She takes too long to tell him, he finds out from the doctor and feeling betrayed, he breaks up with her. 

I had longed to see Thembeka and Mthunzi in scenes together and Masasa and Bongile Mantsai delivered in a major way. And you could see they were relishing the opportunity to perform together. Because not only are they brilliant actors, but their characters are the most villainous "Scandal!" has had since the Nyathis. 

Their plot to take down Thebelanga is going well, until Thembeka finds out that Mthunzi has been siphoning her money. She flips, and starts working with the Langa's to take Mthunzi down. 

It's this particular storyline that once again made "Scandal!" appointment television. 

You had to watch it every day. Not only was the storyline edge of your seat thrilling, but as a viewer, you couldn't help feel lucky that you were getting such great performances on a free-to-air TV channel. Masasa, Bongile, Hungani Ndlovu (Romeo Medupe) and Sive Mabuya (Xolile Langa) gave performances that will surely earn them awards next year. 

When Masasa Mbangeni left "Scandal!" for the first time in 2016, I was disappointed, but I also understood.  

No actor wants to be stuck doing the same role for a couple of years, especially one as young as Masasa. It was almost like many were waiting in the wings for her to leave "Scandal!" so that they can snap her up for their shows. 
Thembeka didn't have a problem with killing an adversary at her wedding to Quinton. Picture: Supplied
And yet, even as great a performance that she gave in those shows (Hard Copy, Thola, Harvest, The Republic, The River, Housekeepers)  I still craved for Thembeka Shezi. As a viewer, I needed closure. And we got it, thanks to one of the most entertaining and devastating exit storylines on SA TV.

Thembeka gave the show an edge. She is easily one of the most complex villains ever written on South African TV. It's almost sociopathic how she would do everything to protect herself and those that she loves, including killing someone while guests were waiting for her on her wedding day. 

You could never come between Thembeka and the people she loved the most. Especially Quinton. And yet, tragically, like Romeo and Juliet, they are star-crossed lovers. They were never to be. 
And as Quinton held her in his arms for the last time, it was a representation of many viewers who needed to hold Thembeka in their arms and then let her go. She had served her purpose. And now it's time for us to let her rest. 

"Scandal!" airs on e.tv, weekdays at 7.30pm 

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