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.
BACK IN CHURCH
“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.”
A TIME OF MOURNING
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.
REMEMBERING A FRIEND
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.”
BEHIND THE SCENES
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.
NOT EVEN MOM’S FUNERAL
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.