Rhythm City

Pu­leng pushes her loved ones away to join a re­li­gious cult.

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In life, mov­ing on re­quires clo­sure – es­pe­cially when there’s a death in­volved. It’s been five years since sin­gle-mom Pu­leng (Te­bogo Khalo) lost her daugh­ter Ma­tric (Khanyi Sit­hole) in a car ac­ci­dent and she still isn’t over the loss. “Pu­leng’s been griev­ing on the in­side. She fo­cused all her en­ergy on get­ting other kids to re­place Ma­tric and hope­fully for­get about her al­to­gether,” ex­plains Te­bogo. But there’s a big re­minder wait­ing for Pu­leng on Wednesday 13 Septem­ber. A fa­mil­iar cus­tomer named Wise­man (Saint Se­seli) walks into her shisanyama and tells Pu­leng that Ma­tric’s dead spirit isn’t at peace. “Pu­leng to­tally freaks out! Not only does this guy have all the de­tails about Ma­tric’s death, but he also talks about Pu­leng’s mis­er­able life. But he of­fers her a way out,” says the ac­tress.

CHURCH & A PRAYER

Pu­leng is ready to start her heal­ing jour­ney on Fri­day 15 Septem­ber and she tags along when Wise­man in­vites her to his “church”, where she meets peo­ple in a sim­i­lar po­si­tion. “Pu­leng feels at peace. She wants to find out why ev­ery­thing is go­ing wrong in her life and these peo­ple have the an­swers,” says Te­bogo. While the year has been a roller­coaster ride for Pu­leng, like when her now-mur­dered brother-in-law Themba (Sphamandla Dh­ludhlu) kid­napped her as she was about to give birth in late May, she be­lieves that bad luck can turn around. “She’s had quite a year. And all that Pu­leng wants to do is get back on her feet and be happy on the in­side like she pre­tends to be on the out­side,” adds the ac­tress.

BLESS­INGS OVER­FLOW

Pu­leng sees the fruits of her labour on Mon­day 18 Septem­ber when Ma­tric’s spirit “speaks” with her. “Or so Pu­leng thinks,” laughs Te­bogo. But Pu­leng’s meddling mom Cuba (Magi Non­inzi Wil­liams) is wor­ried about how quickly tan­gled she’s be­come in the Ge­n­e­sis Fel­low­ship Church. “Pu­leng doesn’t want to hear any­thing that Cuba has to say. She con­tin­ues to visit the church and con­nect more with ‘Ma­tric’,” says Te­bogo. With Pu­leng in an en­tirely new headspace by Thurs­day 21 Septem­ber, she gets sur­pris­ing news from the mu­nic­i­pal­ity that will grow her shisanyama. “It’s a ten­der where she gets to cook and grow her busi­ness. It’s per­fect tim­ing for Pu­leng as her busi­ness is strug­gling at the mo­ment and she’s con­vinced that the church just saved her busi­ness,” ex­plains Te­bogo.

DEAL BREAKER

Pu­leng wants to share her luck and hap­pi­ness with her hus­band Suf­fo­cate (Mduduzi Mabaso) on Mon­day 25 Septem­ber when she in­vites him to join her at the church, but he isn’t in­ter­ested. “Pu­leng is frus­trated with him. She feels like she has sac­ri­ficed a lot for him now and in the past – and she wants him to do this one thing with her,” says Te­bogo. Un­like Pu­leng, ex- con Suffo has never been a re­li­gious per­son and he isn’t eas­ily con­vinced on some­thing like this. They end up in a heated ar­gu­ment on Tues­day 26 Septem­ber and Te­bogo says that “Pu­leng has had enough of be­ing sec­ond best! The church has given her power and she wants noth­ing but to fo­cus on grow­ing her faith – even if it means los­ing peo­ple in her life!”

Pu­leng is at the cen­tre of the “church’s” prayers.

Suffo doesn’t share Pu­leng’s be­liefs in “mir­a­cles”.

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