Zikhona Sodlaka steals the show on Mzansi Magic’s new telenovela ‘Gqeberha: The Empire’ amid mixed reviews

Actress Zikhona Sodlaka at the pre-screening in Gqeberha. Picture: Supplied

Actress Zikhona Sodlaka at the pre-screening in Gqeberha. Picture: Supplied

Published Jan 17, 2023


Mzansi Magic’s new telenovela, “Gqeberha: The Empire”, premiered on Monday, January 16, and made history as the first ever Mzansi Magic telenovela filmed entirely in the Eastern Cape.

While the new telenovela divided opinion online, it was veteran actress Zikhona Sodlaka who already appears to be a favourite among viewers.

Sodlaka plays the role of Bulelwa, one of three strong women married to a successful businessman, Luzuko Mxenge (played by Mbulelo Grootboom).

The show’s star-studded cast also includes Zandile Msutwana, Kay Bikitsha, Phila Madlingozi, Anele Matoti and Akhenime Mfenyana.

“Zikhona Zodlaka has so much presence, her craft is so commanding in such a beautiful way” Tweeted @untlatywa. “She one of the best, plus I love her nje🤞🏽💙🤲🏾. #GqeberhaTheEmpire.”

@_thembalihle_ added: “My Queen Zikhona Sodlaka😍 is definitely going to do what she does the best‼️ She is going to execute this role flawlessly with her magnificent talent. #GqeberhaTheEmpire.”

Last week, IOL Entertainment spoke to Sodlaka about the new series and how it was working in her home province, the Eastern Cape.

“I think what we share with the entire cast, and I can say I speak for them when I say we are all so honoured to be working at home because it’s something that doesn’t happen so much – we’ve all been living in Joburg, we’ve all had to travel for work,” she said.

“Being in the Eastern Cape and creating Eastern Cape work is something that we don’t take lightly. It’s not lost to us the fact that there’s never been a Xhosa soapie since ever.

“There’s always been Xhosa series’, maybe a series that we all love and the audience is just attached to it because we all just yearning for something that sounds like us.”

“Gqeberha” replaced Mzansi Magic’s award-winning telenovela, “The Queen”, which was produced by Ferguson Films. Over the weekend, Connie Ferguson took to Instagram to share how she felt about seeing the show come to an end.

She wrote: “Today marks the final episode of a show that's very dear to my heart THE QUEEN.

“It's such a bitter sweet moment for me. Sad that it's coming to an end but also grateful for the opportunity to produce close to 6.5 seasons of a show that gave the young black producer the courage to say, IT IS POSSIBLE!”

“@mzansimagic Thank you for taking a chance on Sho and I, and giving us our 1st opportunity as producers with the first ever drama series on the platform ROCKVILLE.

“A few other dramas followed after that, but THE QUEEN has been our biggest break so far!”