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.

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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.”


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…

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