Wed­ding wreck­ers

All signs point to trou­ble at Ayanda and Sman­gele’s tra­di­tional cer­e­mony.

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While the Xu­lus, Mdlet­shes and Ma­phu­mu­los are fight­ing bit­terly over which fam­ily Ayanda (Kay Sibiya) be­longs to and whose tra­di­tions mat­ter when he mar­ries his baby­mama Sman­gele Maphumulo (Sihle Nd­aba), Sman­gele is in a cold sweat about her fake preg­nancy be­ing dis­cov­ered. All that she wants is to be the preacher’s wife – is that too much to ask? “I can’t imag­ine how it would feel to fi­nally get what you want and then just when you’re about to get it, it gets stopped,” says Sihle. So we’ll be bit­ing our nails along with her as Ayanda and Sman­gele’s tra­di­tional wed­ding cer­e­mony be­gins. Her mom-in-law Lindiwe Xulu (Dawn Than­deka King) had her shot at, ru­in­ing Sman­gele’s church wed­ding on Wed­nes­day 9 Novem­ber, but there are many others who’d like a word: from the an­ces­tors to Ayanda’s lover Sibahle (Londeka Mlaba). Pas­tor Ayanda is still strug­gling to come to terms with the Xu­lus’ mar­riage rites as the wed­ding be­gins on Mon­day 12 De­cem­ber. His mom Zandile (Leleti Khu­malo) is mut­ter­ing an­grily about the rit­ual slaugh­ter of an­i­mals and an­ces­tor wor­ship, while Sman­gele is strug­gling to ac­cept that she’s mar­ry­ing a Xulu. “It’s a shock to the sys­tem but she’ll live,” Sihle jokes, re­mind­ing us that “she did date MK Xulu (Bonga Dlamini)…” But she’s ac­cept­ing of the com­ing cer­e­mony. “As much as she’s a Chris­tian, she knows that the cul­ture and tra­di­tion are very im­por­tant and the an­ces­tors… they don’t lie and they don’t joke. She knows it has to be done if she wants to be ac­knowl­edged as a real wife to Ayanda,” ex­plains Sihle.

Guilty Sman­gele knows what’s up dur­ing the umem­beso (when the groom’s fam­ily brings gifts to the bride’s fam­ily) on Mon­day 12 De­cem­ber when one of the gifts – a goat – dies. “She’s like, ‘Oh no, some­body is go­ing to fig­ure out that some­thing’s gone wrong [with the baby]!” says Sihle. And on Tues­day 13 De­cem­ber, a cow is stolen on the wed­ding day, con­vinc­ing Xulu el­der

On Tues­day 12 De­cem­ber, scorned Sibahle can only laugh as her dad De­tec­tive Dhlomo (Don Mlan­geni Nawa) tells her about Ayanda and Sman­gele’s drama. So just as the tra­di­tional cer­e­mony ends, Sibahle walks in, bring­ing Ayanda to a crash­ing halt. “Sman­gele’s ner­vous be­cause his heart be­longs to Sibahle. There’s a lot of emo­tion at play be­cause Sman­gele is like, ‘Are you re­ally go­ing to em­bar­rass me in front of all th­ese peo­ple?’” re­veals Sihle. The mo­ment that Ayanda chooses which woman to pub­licly hu­mil­i­ate on Wed­nes­day 14 De­cem­ber, he’ll be tak­ing a stand about who he re­ally is and what he wants – Sman­gele or Sibahle, duty or de­sire, Mdlet­she or Xulu…

The ac­tion on­screen makes the wed­ding a real nail-biter, but film­ing the scenes was a fan­tas­tic ex­pe­ri­ence, par­tic­u­larly the wed­ding it­self on Tues­day 12 De­cem­ber. “It was so beau­ti­ful!” says Sihle. “We had the tra­di­tional dancers there and mu­sic. Most of the time when we have cer­e­monies, it’s the singing and the vibe that drives it. And I loved all the cul­tural wear for the dif­fer­ent cul­tures that are rep­re­sented at the wed­ding. It was ab­so­lutely mag­i­cal. I’m from Mpumalanga, so to be in KwaZulu-Natal and shoot some­thing in a KZN man­ner was just beau­ti­ful. As a Zulu girl, I was very proud to be part of that.”

Ayanda’s caught in the mid­dle as Sman­gele (cen­tre main image) pre­pares to marry him. Zandile com­forts Sman­gele when her umem­beso goes wrong.

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