Good­bye dears, hello GC

GC’s re­turn brings a sil­ver lin­ing to the gloom of MaNzuza and Sman­gele’s fu­neral cer­e­monies.

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A com­mu­nity is in mourn­ing as they bury beloved Pas­tor’s wife MaNzuza (Leleti Khu­malo) and choir leader Sman­gele (Sihle Nd­aba) on Fri­day 16 Fe­bru­ary, fol­low­ing the tragic church con­fer­ence heist shoot-out on Fri­day 9 Fe­bru­ary. But even in the darkest times, there is joy – and for Uzalo fans, GC’s (Khaya Dladla) lon­gawaited re­turn is cause for cel­e­bra­tion. The sa­lon star has slowly been re­cov­er­ing at home with his par­ents Bhomu (Mduduzi Nombela) and MaXimba (Ma­bel Mthombeni) fol­low­ing his hos­pi­tal­i­sa­tion af­ter he was as­saulted and left for dead in Septem­ber 2017. And while GC is dev­as­tated that the wed­ding he came back to KwaMashu to cel­e­brate on Wed­nes­day 7 Fe­bru­ary has turned into a fu­neral for his dear friend Sman­gele, the GC we see at the fu­neral and Sman­gele’s me­mo­rial on

Wed­nes­day 21 Fe­bru­ary will be the old, out­spo­ken GC rather than the drunken mess he be­came be­fore the at­tack. But he will need courage to face his past.


“Spend­ing time with his fam­ily was what he has al­ways wanted but never had be­cause he had played another per­son [one who wasn’t gay] when he was home. It was a big deal but still awk­ward con­sid­er­ing there was a lot that hap­pened,” says Khaya. So as sad as it is, a fu­neral could be the per­fect time for GC to re­turn to KwaMashu be­cause it won’t be an “all eyes on me” sit­u­a­tion. “GC can­not be all over the place. The last time we saw him, he was steal­ing from the peo­ple, the church, and the shisanyama – he even stole from MaNzuza her­self! So he has healed phys­i­cally from the stab wounds but he has to lay low a bit un­til he is trusted again,” ex­plains Khaya.


But as we will see at the fu­neral, GC won’t be back with his tail be­tween his legs com­pletely. He won’t be able to help him­self when he spots celebri­ties like so­cial me­dia in­flu­encer and so­cialite Zodwa Wa­bantu or Distruc­tion Boyz star Zipho “Gold­max” Mthembu. It’s selfie time! “GC and Khaya are not the same, our opin­ions dif­fer a lot. I have never taken a selfie with a fan at a fu­neral. Be­hav­iour like

that should not be ac­cept­able. I think it’s in­ap­pro­pri­ate,” Khaya says firmly be­fore adding, “How­ever, GC does not see a prob­lem with that.”


Khaya can un­der­stand GC’s mixed feel­ings about com­ing back to this se­cond home in mourn­ing, since he him­self re­turned just in time to say good­bye to two mem­bers of his Uzalo fam­ily. “Let’s just say that good­byes are not my thing. It was emo­tional for me, es­pe­cially with Sihle as we are very close on and off set,” ad­mits Khaya. “It was very heavy to play be­cause there are too many emo­tions with too many char­ac­ters. And there is the re­al­ity that the sa­lon no longer has four ac­tors but now three.” But those com­plex feel­ings added another layer of re­al­ism to the fu­neral scenes, which prom­ise to raise the hair on the back of our necks. “The set-up, the dé­cor and the church ser­vice – even the type of mu­sic that was be­ing used and sung at the fu­neral and at the grave­yard – was like the last nail as we wit­nessed those coffins slowly go down,” says Khaya. He couldn’t help the swoop of emo­tion he felt when the choir sang for MaNzuza and Sman­gele one last time. ”It was emo­tional. The choir set the mood of what was tak­ing place, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing the choir was Sman­gele’s baby,” says Khaya.


Af­ter the for­mal fu­neral, GC shows the depth of his per­sonal con­nec­tion with Sman­gele. On Mon­day 19 Fe­bru­ary, he joins with fel­low sa­lon stylists Fik­ile (Nelisa Mchunu) and

Tho­bile (Nokuthula Mabika) to hold a me­mo­rial ser­vice for Sman­gele, to help com­fort her fi­ancé and true love Khum­bu­lani (Sihle Xaba) and melt his frozen heart. “They do a me­mo­rial ser­vice at the shisanyama. All of Sman­gele’s friends share their ex­pe­ri­ences about what an­noyed her, what she re­ally liked, or what our big mouths al­most ru­ined, and so forth,” re­veals Khaya.

A GC 2018

As for what lies ahead, Khaya tells us, “I will be bring­ing the old GC back – and pos­si­bly even Jojo (GC’s ex-fi­ancé, Siph­e­sihle Cele) again. GC wants to work at the new busi­ness, which will be in­tro­duced into the show later.” Cu­ri­ous? See our Pre­view on p15 for a hint. And can we ex­pect love and kisses for GC? “Pos­si­bly…” laughs Khaya. Uzalo’s cre­ative di­rec­tor Mmamitse Thibedi agrees: “GC had a very trau­matic tra­jec­tory in sea­son 3 and his char­ac­ter kind of trans­formed. Part of the rea­son we took him off­screen was be­cause we wanted to give the char­ac­ter time to breathe so that when he re­turns, he comes back as the GC that we know and love – who’s light and funky and bring­ing all the flavour that GC brings.”


The fu­neral episode, which was shot over two days and will air as a one­hour spe­cial on Fri­day 16 Fe­bru­ary, will re­veal how far-reach­ing MaNzuza and Sman­gele’s work had be­come be­fore their deaths. Uzalo’s pro­duc­tion team put real-life KwaMashu-bor­nand-raised celeb on the guest list – from gospel star Hlengiwe Mh­laba to Distruc­tion Boyz’ Zipho “Gold­max” Mthembu. From mayor of eThek­wini Zandile Gumede to scan­dalous so­cial­ist Zodwa Wa­bantu, lo­cal lu­mi­nar­ies are all in the KwaMashu King­dom Church to pay their re­spects too. “It is such a heavy space to shoot in be­cause that is prob­a­bly the largest num­ber on peo­ple we have had on set. The more peo­ple there are on the set, the harder it is to shoot and con­trol,” re­veals Khaya.


But there is one sur­prise stay-away: Ayanda (Kay Sibiya) the swappe­dat-birth son raised by MaNzuza. “Mmm. I don’t re­ally know why he was not able to come. I would as­sume he had signed into another com­mit­ment that he had to pri­ori­tise,” points out Khaya. He could be right – Kay has been film­ing the new SABC1 se­ries Agent in Mau­ri­tius!

GC re­turns in time to say a sad good­bye to Manzuza and Sman­gele.

So­cialite Zodwa Wa­bantu (right) takes a pew along­side guests Ukhozi FM ra­dio host Selby “Sel­be­y­once” Mkhize (cen­tre) and Distruc­tion Boyz star Zipho “Gold­max” Mthembu (left).

Leg­endary ac­tor Kid Sit­hole ap­pears as Pas­tor Goba.

Mayor of eThek­wini Zandile Gumede makes a cameo ap­pear­ance at the fu­neral ser­vice. Famed gospel leg­end Hlengiwe Mh­laba raises her voice dur­ing the cer­e­mony to help bid farewell to the ladies.

(From left) All of KwaMashu is there, from the godly to the gang­sters: Gabisile, Pas­tor Mdlet­she, Mx­olisi and Samke­lisiwe. Ukhozi FM host Dudu “Lady D” Khoza is the MC at the fu­neral ser­vice.

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