Season two of Showmax’s popular series based on author Dudu Busani Dube’s novels – Hlomu The Wife, Zandile The Resolute and Naledi His Love – is back on TV screens after a short break.
Season one briefly introduced us to Zandile, portrayed by Khanyi Mbau, and often referred to as Zah by her loved ones, who is married to Nkosana the oldest of eight brothers, whose powerful family is in the taxi business.
Although Mbau had not read Dube’s books, she was approached by the creators to join the team to star as the woman whose beauty is described as “indescribable”, and compared to that of a mermaid and who displays a strong, calm and resilient character.
The busy Mbau spared a few minutes to talk to the Sunday Independent, sharing her thoughts about the character and about joining the cast.
SI: How have you been able to encapsulate who Zandile is and bring that on screen?
KM: She is a work in progress and is under heavy maintenance.
Out of all the characters that I’ve ever played, Zandile is the most complex one. She challenges me.
She is not an open book; I am still in the process of trying to find who she is. She’s very cold and detached and disconnected from reality. She doesn’t cry. She speaks with the same tone. She never lifts her voice. So she frustrates me and she is going to frustrate the viewers, to the extent of almost disowning her because she seems indecisive and manipulative.
You can never pinpoint what she’s going to wake up like the next day. I think even her husband Nkosana struggles with that.
But she has one thing about her that I like: she loves deeply, which is something that she has in common with her husband.
SI: What has been your biggest fear about being part of such a massive storyline that has grabbed the attention of South Africans?
KM: Buckling under pressure and losing my honesty and truth to the character.
I have lived the taxi industry life since I was a child, that experience plays a big role in my research and preparations.
SI: What do you love about telling the story of Zandile and Nkosana?
KM: Their love is electric. They have such a beautiful love story. They have a couple goals from the get go, even while in prison. For the viewer, one thing they'll truly enjoy is their language. Nkosana is very poetic, how he uses his words, and how he relays his love to her. Nkosana makes the Zulu language so romantic; he makes it sound like French.
SI: How different is this character from all the other characters you've had to portray thus far?
KM: Zah is different, she has a life of her own
SI: You are thrust into the middle of a love story between two lovers. Is Khanyi Mbau a hopeless romantic?
KM: I love love, I dwell on it. It’s all that I am.
SI: Why did you choose to be a storyteller/actress?
KM: I live in an imaginary world and acting allows me to get paid to stay there.
SI: How have you grown over the years in your craft?
KM: Tremendously. I think I have matured with time.
SI: Describe season two of The Wife in three words?
KM: Intense, dark and sad.
SI: What makes this work more special than your last work?
KM: there is something very spiritual about this production
SI: Any last words?
KM: I am grateful for this opportunity