When fans of the hit Hlomu series by Dudu Busani-Dube learned that it was being adapted for Showmax’s first original telenovela series, the first reaction was one of irrepressible excitement.
Then the cast was announced and there was a fair amount of indignation circulating on social media as fans had misgivings about some of the choices and felt they were not aligned with the characters they read in the book.
But I’m sure now that they have been able to watch the first three episodes of “The Wife” those misgivings are no longer there. In hindsight, not truly warranted.
As I pointed out last week, the fact that the multi-award-winning Stained Glass was handling production was reason enough to have a bit more confidence.
Having proven their Midas touch with shows like “eHostela”, “Ifalakhe”, “Durban Gen” and “Lingashoni”, it’s safe to say that, when it comes to delivering the goods, they know what they are doing.
Casting, while an intricate and vital part of the process as is the scripting, isn’t as straightforward as viewers might assume. It’s not just about something looking the part, they need to bring the character to life.
And the author has no qualms about what she’s seen so far either.
Now I haven’t read the books, which is something I plan on rectifying soon, but I will say the telenovela has blown my mind so far.
Everything from the high-production-value, casting, scripting, directing, cinematography to wardrobe, ticks the boxes.
Right now, rising star Bonko Khoza (“Necktie Youth” and “Roots”) has become the fan favourite as Mqhele.
“Everybody loves him. He fits the description. He has the face. He understands the character. So, yeah, I'm happy. I'm relieved,” Busani-Dube said in one of her statements.
Casting Mbalenhle Mavimbela (“Skeem Saam and “House of Zwide”) as Hlomu, a journalist with Joburg Informer who is swept off her feet by Mqhele, is brilliant.
The actors share incredible chemistry and their respective performances are unparalleled.
In the first three episodes so far, the blossoming romance between Mqhele and Hlomu is juxtaposed with the taxi wars between the Zulu brothers and their sworn enemies - the Majolas, who not only head the taxi association but run the taxi rank, too.
Nkosana (Mondli Makhoba) as the eldest in the family is also the brains behind their criminal enterprise.
He understands the need to keep the peace and doesn’t take kindly when anyone steps out of line. But Nqoba (Abdul Khoza) is like a magnet for trouble.
In the family, Mqhele is Nkosana’s right hand.
He loves running his mouth off and doesn’t think before he acts. This places the Zulu brothers, which includes Qhawe (Kwenzo Ngcobo), Sambulo (Sipho Ndlovu), Mqoqi (Thulane Nkululeko Shange), Mpande (Ishmauel Songo) and Ntsika (Swelihle Luthuli), in a precarious position with the Majolas.
The beef worsens when Nqoba’s recklessness results in a shootout that gets a Majola killed.
Meanwhile, Hlomu’s first interaction with the Zulu family is when she accidentally bumps into Qhawe’s taxi.
He’s smitten when he sees her. But he never gets to make his move.
When her car breaks down, she is forced to take a taxi and ends up catching Mqhele’s eye. He wastes no time in wooing her, even though it’s with the smallest gesture - ice cream.
Even though Hlomu tells him she has a man, he doesn’t give up.
And that scene where he knocks on her door in episode three is next level bold.
He is a guy who goes after what he wants and he doesn’t give up. But you will have to watch it to find out what the hype is about.
The scripting for the series is first-rate. Each character is so wonderfully crafted.
And, I should point out that each and every actor is a marvel to watch - they add such depth and poignancy to their parts. The layered storytelling and twists will leave streamers religiously tuning in every week.
Fans love the show and so do I. Below are some of the comments on Twitter:
@SiisandaMabaso wrote: “When Hlomu allowed Mqhele to come in and kiss her knowing very well Sandile is in the same house. I knew girl was ready to exit the not so working relationship. #TheWifeShowmax”
When Hlomu allowed Mqhele to come in and kiss her knowing very well Sandile is in the same house 😂 I knew girl was ready to exit the not so working relationship 🤣#TheWifeShowmax pic.twitter.com/elFMDF7mj7— uSisanda🌸 (@SiisandaMabaso) November 11, 2021
@GSirimiri added: “The chemistry between Hlomu and Mqhele is so beautiful and thinking of the book its like they are on the cover they were made for these roles and no one will tell me otherwise #TheWifeShowmax no ways a standing ovation to the team a job well done. Loudly crying.”
The chemistry between Hlomu and Mqhele is so beautiful and thinking of the book its like they are on the cover they were made for these roles and no one will tell me otherwise #TheWifeShowmax no ways😭❤❤a standing ovation to the team a job well done ❤😭🔥🔥🔥🔥— Ntombi Yase Maxhoseni❤ (@GSirimiri) November 11, 2021
“Only catching up on #TheWifeShowmax now... Thiza Thursday is soooo far away... Mqhele character nailed to the T! Hawe MA! Siyabonga @dududube. Siyabonga @ShowmaxOnline,” added @MissMagzzz.
@Rootsandanchors said: “I just feel like this scene is not hyped up enough. Mqhele has no fear Weary face #thewifeshowmax”
@Tumiekomane added: “Mqhele went to get Hlomu ice cream with passengers inside sana then he made them get off #Thewifeshowmax.”
Mqhele went to get Hlomu ice cream with passengers inside sana🤣🤣🤣🤣 then he made them get off😩😂😂😂 #Thewifeshowmax— Tumie (@Tumiekomane) November 11, 2021