The big chop
Wandile’s journey of self-discovery lands him in hospital, on the verge of admitting the truth about his true gender at long last.
Wandile has gone to desperate lengths. Weekdays SABC1 (*191) 20:00
The past months have been rough for Wandile Radebe (Chi Mhende) – he lost his father in a car accident in April and both his brothers left for London in February and April respectively. Since he and late- dad Zola (Mutodi Neshehe) had a falling out before his death, Wandile got none of his father’s considerable estate and was left desperate and destitute before moving in with the Diales in June. Now his demons have come back to haunt him and he’s realised that although his dad cut him off for dressing like a girl, he needs to do some cutting off of his own to become who he really is.
When Wandile lands in hospital on Wednesday 12 October, no one believes why he’s there. Who could have possibly mutilated the former trust fund kid who now earns his wages as a barman at a shebeen? The list isn’t that long and is soon narrowed down, that Wandile confesses to the police that he, in fact, cut off his own penis. “The act is brought about by extreme self-loathing,” explains Chi. “Wandile’s been feeling extremely guilty since his breakup with Getty (Andisiwe Dweba) and he has begun to harm himself again while drowning his sorrows.”
No one’s more shocked on Thursday 13 October than Wandile’s most recent ex Getty when she finds out what Wandile’s done to himself. “She’s stunned at first, but later she feels guilty for leaving Wandile and not realising how sick and sad he really was,” says Chi.
Still in hospital on Monday 17 October, Wandile seems to have lost the will to live. “He doesn’t know how he can continue in this body that is, in fact, the life, his life, which he so desperately struggles to connect with,” Chi explains. Although he has surgery to remove the physical implications of his actions, the emotional damage is far-reaching. “Out of shame and selfpity, Wandile can’t look at Getty and wants nothing to do with her,” says Chi of Wandile’s dismissive behaviour on Thursday 20 October. “He throws rage and self- disgust at any pity offered.”
REACHING ROCK BOTTOM
The one piece of advice Wandile does heed from his former BFF and ex-girlfriend is to seek professional help. So on Monday 24 October, Wandile goes to see Dr Watson (Michele Levin) for help working through his issues. “She recommends that he sit with his memories and try to connect with his childhood development and family structure,” Chi explains. “The doctor encourages Wandile to speak with his family, which he doesn’t want. Slowly but surely, their relationship allows Wandile to unpack what will be an exciting new chapter in the character’s journey that the audience has been so eagerly awaiting.” A new chapter that will see Wandile finally coming out as a trans woman…