Gangster finds God
Nkunzi is reborn behind bars after he sees the light – but is he just gaslighting?.
Uzalo Weekdays SABC1 (*191) 20:30
With so many evil characters turning to religion to play the sympathy card, viewers are wary of believing anyone who claims to have had that “road to Damascus” moment. And when the criminal is as vicious and murderous as Nkunzi (Masoja Msiza) – who tried burning Mxolisi (Nay Maps Maphalala) to death on Thursday 6 July – doubt runs deep. But on Monday 24 July, Nkunzi tells his prison support group that he wants to be good and he could be for real!
FAMILY IS EVERYTHING
Masoja credits Nkunzi’s daughter Zekhethelo (Nyalleng Thibedi) for his true change after she cuts ties with him on Monday 24 July. “She didn’t have a clue about what her father was doing. When he bought her a new car or brought her gifts, she thought he was busy with his normal business. She feels betrayed,” says Masoja. And without her, “Nkunzi feels that he has lost his world.” The only way to get Zekhethelo back is by not just convincing her that he’s changed, but really changing.
“Nkunzi starts by seeking forgiveness from the Lord God and then he wants to change his life,” says Masoja. But imprisoned Nkunzi’s resolve is tested when he is offered a literal escape route on Tuesday 25 July. “Escape is freedom but he realises that there is nowhere that he could go and it [escaping] would make matters worse,” reveals Masoja. “He has an opportunity to pretend that he is escaping but uses this person as a scapegoat to prove to the authorities that he has changed.”
CHANGE IS HARD
This backstabbing proves that badguy Nkunzi is as cunning as ever. “It’s not easy to change overnight,” admits Masoja. “Nkunzi made money through crime and for him to change, he has to pluck up his courage and know that he is going to struggle for a while. He has to tell himself, ‘I am a smart man with a great mind. I will learn some new skills and come out with a new way of making money.’” And Nkunzi isn’t the only one changing…
“When I play somebody who is a gangster, I picture an animal, like a bull or a snake. Now I change even his posture. I bring the chest out, the chin up and come into the light and I smile more. I translate my scripts into Zulu, so now I use words that have no vulgarity and that are clear. I research words from the Bible,” reveals Masoja.
Nkunzi’s change is driven by Zekhethelo disowning him. Nkunzi (right) wants spiritual help from Pastor Mdletshe, the man he tried to kill.