All signs point to trouble at Ayanda and Smangele’s traditional ceremony.
Uzalo Mon-Wed SABC1 (*191) 20:30
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.