Staunchly traditional Mlu helps his daughter Omphile to take her first steps on the path to womanhood
Scandal! Weekdays e.tv (*194) 19:30
Very few soaps follow child characters to their teenage years, but Scandal! is going to show just how powerful that can be on Monday 27 March when Omphile (Botlhale Boikanyo) takes an enormous developmental step with the help of her father Mlu (Patrick Mofokeng). “Excited?” laughs Patrick. “No, I was scared! As African men, the thing of periods is very taboo to us. It’s the space that we don’t invade. But what I liked about these episodes was the aspect of trying to break a barrier between fathers and young daughters. I hope this story will stimulate discussions in households.”
BE A FATHER
Patrick points out that Scandal’s writers could have easily made Omphile’s first period a boding moment with her step-mother Zinzile (Gcina Nkosi). “But it was clever of them to take this story and put it at my feet, to say that we as fathers, our responsibility doesn’t stop at the line where we just become financial fathers. We have to be involved in our daughters’ lives and I’m saying especially daughters because of this arm-length relationship that we have, especially when it comes to a character like Mlu – he’s seen as a very strict, rigid African man. I think that it will help a lot of fathers to start opening up and to start talking to their daughters.”
BE A FAMILY
For Omphile, the fact that her father is willing to set aside his own discomfort to be open with her is a huge deal. “There is a scene where Omphile says, ‘Why is this happening to me? I wish that my mother was here’. And at that moment, I am the mother and I am the father and I must show her that all is well, all is good and I must comfort her and just hold her hand and walk the path with her,” explains Patrick. “It’s a demonstration of love, of sincerity and of caring. And more than anything, it is a demonstration of support – knowing that her mother is gone but there are people here for her, there is family and there is her father.”
Mlu is as nervous as his daughter Omphile.