Victoria-Molobane Mbatha

In a Maid in Manhattan-esque twist, Miles Vilakazi once again popped the question to Victoria – and, this time, she accepted. Debashine Thangevelo caught up with veteran actress Victoria-Molobane Mbatha to find out how life changes for her domestic worker character…

MILES Vilakazi doesn’t have the best track record with relationships.

His former relationship with diva gospel singer Rachel Phakathi (played by Lucia Mthiyane) reached a dead end – she died in a fiery car crash. Then he found himself manipulated by the terrifyingly unhinged Naomi (played by Moshidi Motshegwa).

And his baby mama Lucilla Vilakazi has been playing him like a fiddle ever since they hooked up.

That’s probably why he gravitated towards a more dependable and, not to rain on his parade here, safer option – his affectionate and supportive domestic worker, Victoria (Victoria-Molobane Mbatha).

Although he popped the question last December, she only took him seriously the second time around, in the episode that aired on Thursday.

Having spent most of her time in theatre – well, that’s when Mbatha isn’t running her fashion designing and construction businesses – she says she was inspired to take on this role because of her real-life interactions with women who were domestic workers.

She notes, “We used to talk about how their bosses treated them. When I went in to audition for this role, I took that into consideration, in the hope that Victoria will motivate other women and to show that people need to be respected.”

Mbatha continues, “Then I said I’m going to take it to another level and make South Africans realise that maids are people. They are mothers, sisters and wives and shouldn’t be taken for granted.”

Getting to Victoria’s sort of rags-to-riches tale, she says, “Victoria has had feelings for Miles from a long time ago. She understands him more than any other person, be it Lucilla or his family. She knows almost everything about him. The first time she turned it down it was because she loved him and it hurt that he didn’t really see it for a while. Now it has deepened even more. And she believes that she can give him the support he needs.”

So was there a bit of pride that played a hand in the delay of their engagement?

“You can say so,” Mbatha smiles. As a woman, she needed to feel appreciated. And she was a bit insecure after seeing Miles with different girls.”

But she eventually decided to let go of it and be happy.

Now her love story doesn’t have much of a happily ever after future as Miles has a brain tumour.

As for whether that might have swayed her decision, she says, “No!”

“Right now their engagement is still hush-hush. She does worry if people are going to question whether she loves him or is doing it because he is sick. From Miles’s past experience, a clear picture has been painted. He is seeing life differently. All along he has been looking for this woman he could fall in love with and trust. In a way, every man is looking for their mother. Victoria represents that and he falls even more in love with her than he did with Lucilla. In fact, that gets Lucilla a bit jealous and intimidated,” she says.

With Victoria coming from an impoverished background, her whole world changes with the engagement.

Mbatha points out, “She is ambitious and intelligent but she never had the financial support to do what she needed. But she is also a very down-to-earth person who knows what to say, when and how. Now everyone in the house starts recognising who she is and taking her seriously. She can advise them and engages in more family matters.”

Although her wardrobe does transform too, it isn’t in a kugel way.

What’s interesting, though, is Buhle’s (Miles and Lucilla’s son) return home, which causes a bit of friction. Let’s just say an ugly home truth is let out of the bag and Lucilla is none to impressed about Victoria being the messenger and meddling in “family affairs”.

Rhythm City airs on weekdays at 6.30pm.