Fa­ther for hire

Zinzi’s found some­one to fill Doc’s shoes as her “dad”: Lungile.

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“They have an amaz­ing and play­ful bond,” says Me­shack Mavuso of his char­ac­ter Lungile and Zinzi (Ntando Duma), who’s fa­ther Doc (Du­misani Mbebe) died in late Oc­to­ber 2016. Lungile has stepped in as a fa­ther fig­ure, hop­ing to fill that spot when Zinzi’s mom Bongi (Thembi Seete) is ready to get into a re­la­tion­ship. But there’s a poi­sonous prob­lem on Fri­day 16 De­cem­ber and its name is Ler­ato (Samkelo Ndlovu)!

“Ler­ato wants to see Bongi suf­fer and she will use any tools at her dis­posal,” ex­plains Me­shack. “She is tar­get­ing Lungile not only be­cause he’s the ob­vi­ous choice [be­ing close to Bongi], but also be­cause he told her in Novem­ber that he is onto her plans, so she wants re­venge.” Ler­ato’s plan was to leave al­co­hol within Bongi’s reach at the Red of­fices, know­ing that Bongi will get drunk and seem in­ca­pable of run­ning the mu­sic la­bel. Then Ler­ato could snatch Red from Bongi af­ter Doc left Red to her in his will. From Mon­day 12 De­cem­ber, Lungile and Zinzi give Ler­ato the open­ing she’s been wait­ing for when they bond and Me­shack says that “it was easy to play this sto­ry­line be­cause I have this re­la­tion­ship with my own daugh­ters. Lungile treats her with the love and care of a fa­ther and Zinzi likes that”. Me­shack adds that while Bongi knows there’s noth­ing sin­is­ter to Lungile and Zinzi’s re­la­tion­ship, Ler­ato is whis­per­ing oth­er­wise in her ear on Fri­day 16 De­cem­ber…

“Ler­ato tells Bongi to keep an eye on her daugh­ter be­cause older men – these ‘blessers’ – take ad­van­tage of young girls,” Me­shack says. Noth­ing could be fur­ther from the truth for Lungile, who Me­shack adds “is fo­cussed wholly on Bongi”. He says that Lungile is help­ing Bongi to cope with her sit­u­a­tion at both home and work. “Ler­ato knows all too well that while Lungile is look­ing af­ter Zinzi and pro­tect­ing her, Bongi can fo­cus on Red and her mu­sic. He brings bal­ance to Bongi’s life right now and that’s im­pact­ing Ler­ato’s chances of tak­ing over Red.”

Zinzi mis­reads Lungile’s ac­tions on Wed­nes­day 21 De­cem­ber and Me­shack says that “Lungile is like, ‘Woah! You’re a child!’ He doesn’t take ad­van­tage when she tries to kiss him – he likes her mother and he’s not that kind of man ei­ther”. But it gets worse and by Tues­day 27 De­cem­ber, Lungile’s re­jec­tion is go­ing to send young Zinzi into an emo­tional tail­spin. Du­misani is splash­ing the cash on gifts but one mother takes ex­cep­tion and lets him know. Bongi is miss­ing, while Niki is front and cen­tre when her hubby Suffo needs to be con­soled. Pu­leng con­fesses a se­cret to Suffo, Bongi has the up­per hand on Ler­ato, and Sa­belo’s anger reaches break­ing point and he lashes out at Du­misani. Later, Suffo or­ders Pu­leng to in­vite Themba over to her place.

A record la­bel is in­ter­ested in sign­ing Mam­pho and Rene to their ros­ter, and gang­ster David isn’t hav­ing much luck with the ladies. Du­misani is fed up with Sa­belo’s treat­ment of him and he is ready to pack up and leave, and Suffo widens the dis­tance between him­self and Pu­leng. Lungile and Zinzi are bond­ing, and Pu­leng sits down for a heart-to-heart dis­cus­sion with Suffo. Ler­ato uses Zinzi and Lungile’s re­la­tion­ship as a way to at­tack Bongi, Pu­leng worries when she re­alises that the scan will re­veal the baby’s date of con­cep­tion, and Kop finds the witch in his yard. Niki plots to get the DNA tests be­fore Pu­leng, and Ler­ato man­ages to come between Bongi and Lungile at the of­fice. Kop be­comes a men­tor to trou­bled run­away Du­misani, and David faces a deal fall­ing apart if he doesn’t de­liver.

Zinzi and Lungile are get­ting along re­ally well. Ler­ato’s on a mis­sion. Bongi is un­der at­tack.

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