Zenande Mfenyana has landed the 'Mother of All' roles

Zenande Mfenyana. Picture: Instagram

Zenande Mfenyana. Picture: Instagram

Published Oct 27, 2023


Actress Zenande Mfenyana slips into her new character on eVOD’s new show “Mother of All” with ease, despite the role being a first of it’s kind for her.

The show is currently on its second episode, and Mfenyana takes on the role of Nolwazi ‘’Nono’’ Mathebula, an ex-cop turned convict who is just released from prison after 10 years.

Met with hostility from her mother and “celebrity” daughter, Fufu (Lynn Nelisa Willem), and unable to get a job, Nono’s life isn’t a bed of roses, but she remains steadfast in her resolutions, until her daughter is framed for a murder, just as she was.

When a local gangster slits the throat of her daughter’s boyfriend, who is married, and blackmails her as he has her fingerprint on the murder weapon, Nono has no choice but to be as ruthless as she was in prison.

She raises an all-women army made of ex-convicts - all searching for redemption - rejected by their respective families to save her daughter.

We caught up with the actress to chat about her character.

“Nono was framed and convicted of a crime, spent many years in prison, and when she gets out, she doesn’t received the warmest welcome from her mother or daughter. There is so much hostility.

“It is sad to watch because, in reality, when people come out of jail, there is not a lot of rehabilitation programmes for them to welcome them back into society.

“People still look at you with those eyes, that you’re a criminal. So Nono tries to get back on her feet, but no one is willing to give her work.

“She ends up staying with a group of ladies who are also ex-convicts. So they can relate to the struggle and are supportive of her,” said Mfenyana.

She said she was drawn to the role because she had never played a cop or a convict before and was very open to challenging herself.

“After reading the script, I was very excited to be a part of the show because I never played a part like this before, an ex-convict.

“She is also quite physical. She’s a fighter. I did all my stunts on my own, did not have a stunt double. So I’m really excited about it. This is the first of it’s kind, and I pray to have more roles like this where I can challenge my physical strength. I love a good challenge.”

With not much time to prepare, the actress used her work experience, and dug from her own experiences of being a mother to be able to get into character quickly.

“I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare. I was called four days before we started shooting, but being the immaculate actress that I am, I was able to get into the character quiet fast.

“I can also relate to Nono being a mother, because I am also a mom. I was able to pull it off because, as a mother, we would do anything for our kids. And that is Nono mindset.”

Speaking about the themes that run through the series, she said that one important message stands out.

“When women stand together, they become such a powerful force. Nono brings together these women who are ex-convicts, and they become like a pack of wolves.

“When women stand together, they become a dynamic and powerful force to be reckoned with. They really team up and kick some butt.”

Produced by The Final Chapter under the leadership of Zuko Nodada and his wife, Thandeka Nodada, Mfenyana she had the best time filming.

“I don’t mean this in a biased way, but the people I worked with on set were such a lovely bunch. From the crew to the cast, we all just got along. We literally became a family in the three months that we worked together.

“The comrade spirit on and off set was so commendable. We spent a lot of time together off set, which is great because the chemistry on set is actually genuine.

“Working with the producers were fantastic. It’s always nice knowing that you not going into a hostile environment.

“Thandeka was one of the actors on set, and you never saw her as your boss because she just wore the hat of an actor. She never pulled rank on us.

Shot in Durban, viewers will be able to see the shots of the beautiful beaches and some areas of Ballito, uMhlanga and the Durban CBD.

“We shot in and around Durban. I think people from Durban will really love the tourist aspect of it,” she said.

The series also stars “Kandasamys: The Baby” actors Maeshni Naicker as Gadijah, the house mother and Koobeshen Naidoo as Prabakar, one of Durban’s underdogs.

The supporting cast includes Brigette Masinga, Thamie Africa, Thokozile Gumede, Bradlynn Smit, Linda Brian Khumalo, Ralph Lawson and Ruben Naidoo.

Mfenyana hopes that viewers who watch the show go in with an open mind.

“People must look out for great team work, lovely talent and an awesome, all-round beautiful show.”

∎ “Mother of All” is currently streaming on eVOD, with new episodes dropping every Tuesday.