We have a hit on our hands

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - LEISURE - LIAM KARABO JOYCE

AF­TER watch­ing the first episode of Mzansi Magic’s new drama, ehostela, I was pleas­antly sur­prised that there were only two scenes of vi­o­lence in the 60-minute episode. When a show is based on the in­tri­cate world of izink­abi (paid as­sas­sins), one nat­u­rally ex­pects lots of bul­lets and blood. It was just the first of a 13-episode se­ries.

Pro­duced by Stained Glass Pro­duc­tions, the show chron­i­cles the life of Mn­deni (played by Thobani Nzuza), a young ink­abi. Mn­deni, the adopted son of re­spected ring leader Manc­inza (played by Bheki Sibiya), has am­bi­tions of leav­ing this world be­hind to fo­cus on his true pas­sion – Maskandi mu­sic. All seems to be go­ing to plan with Mn­deni’s com­mit­ment to one last hit, but his loy­alty to the fam­ily is sud­denly ques­tioned when he meets Khethiwe (played by Lun­gelo Mpan­gase) at a Maskandi com­pe­ti­tion, and al­lows him­self to fall in love.

The thorny de­tails of his last hit are soon re­vealed, and the young as­sas­sin’s life is sud­denly plunged into tur­moil, be­cause his last hit was the fa­ther of the wo­man he has fallen madly in love with.

A new face to TV but not to act­ing, Nzuza, who started his ca­reer in theatre af­ter grad­u­at­ing from the Dur­ban Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy is an award-win­ning writer. “I never ever thought I would be an ac­tor, grow­ing up I didn’t even con­sider it as a ca­reer. My pas­sion started when I would go to my com­mu­nity arts cen­tre and I was ex­posed to dif­fer­ent art forms,” Nzuza said.

He bagged the role of Mn­deni the tra­di­tional way, while he was still busy with a pro­duc­tion at the Mar­ket Theatre.

Although he had chal­lenges work­ing on the set of a tele­vi­sion show, he does ad­mit to hav­ing a chal­lenge with Mn­deni. “I am a very emo­tional per­son and I have a soft heart, I want peo­ple to be okay and I al­ways want to help oth­ers. As much as he wants to stop be­ing an ink­abi, he still has no prob­lem shoot­ing some­one dead and mov­ing on with his life, and he does not show a lot of emo­tion,” he said.

The ris­ing star said he was at­tracted to the au­then­tic­ity of the script. “I am a writer my­self so when I saw the full script I loved it. I loved its raw­ness and au­then­tic­ity. This story is a true re­flec­tion of what hap­pens in our com­mu­ni­ties. I was also at­tracted to Mn­deni and his dream to get out of the ink­abi busi­ness, be­cause I some­how re­late to him. Be­cause when I found my pas­sion in act­ing, all I wanted to do was act and fol­low that dream which comes with many sacri­fices.”

ehostela was shot in Dur­ban at the in­fa­mous Kwamashu Hos­tel. ehostela airs Sun­days at 8pm on Mzansi Magic, Dstv chan­nel 161.

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