By my observation, it all began when the main character – Karabo Moroka – suggested a polyandrous marriage. Social media commentary went crazy and my own mother expressed her unfortunate disappointment at the daring direction Mfundi Vundla and the Generations: The Legacy script writers are taking the show.
The following recap will bring you up to speed if (like me) you stopped watching somewhere between Sonia Sedibe leaving the show and the strike drama, or if you just don’t have a TV.
Karabo Moroka and her imminent polyandrous marriage
Karabo, played by Connie Ferguson, has been a central part of the show since its inception. So central in fact that she was the one Mfundi reached out to when he needed a saving grace to revive the show after its mass exodus of talent in late 2015.
In their continued effort to return the soapie to superstar status and reclaim viewership supremacy, they have thrown polyandry into the melting pot of contentious issues recently headlining the show.
And while the youth are eating up the idea of a woman being married to two men, parents across South Africa repeatedly mutter the words “sies” and “mihlolo” at the TV every evening between 8 and 8:30 pm.
Karabo wants to take her high school sweet heart, Zola Radebe (Mutodi Neshehe), on as a second husband. As a result, she has been subject to sexist comments from the show’s imaginary public, elders in her prestigious family and her own husband, Tau Mogale (Rapulana Siephemo).
As it stands, she has been given permission by her elders to go ahead with the wedding and is currently in the process of planning her wedding and figuring out the ‘logistics’ of her impending double life.
Tshidi Phakade, her snake and dark magic
Mamlambo is the reason for many a black grandmother’s distress these days. Let me see if I can get this recap right…
Tshidi (Letoya Makhene), is Tau’s sister. She is married to Tau’s former partner in crime, Kumkani “Gaddafi” Phakade. Kumkani (Vuyo Dabula) and Tau have a contentious bromance that often leads them to do horrible things to each other whenever one bruises the other’s ego. At one point, during a fall out, Kumkani tried to have Tau’s son (who was being carried by a surrogate) killed. The attempt failed so he opted to fake the baby’s death, steal the child and raise it as his own (very days-of-our-lives-ish if you ask me).
Because the child is half Moroka, the Moroka ancestors as well as Phakade’s own are angry about what he has done so they unleashed their wrath on him. Long story short, he fell into a sh**load of misfortune and he and the child kept getting sick.
He eventually told Tshidi the truth, she refused to give up the child and they’ve been dabbling in a lot of dark stuff to escape the wrath of the ancestors and keep the child alive.
The latest attempt being living with a snake. The albino Burmese python was given to them by the sangoma they have been consulting and he told Tshidi she has to treat the snake much like a husband. She has to speak to it, spend time with it and cater to its every, weird whim in order for it to grant her everything she desires – power, money, a successful business and a healthy husband and child.
Namhla Diale, her Nigerian boyfriend and Xenophobia
This kasi girl is a new character played by Thuli Pongolo. She has a thing for older men and has had quite a bit of drama in the past because of that (daddy issues?).
The drama seems to follow this one around because ever since she fell in love with her mother’s Nigerian delivery boy, Adze, it has been drama. Romantic drama, xenophobic drama, family drama…
It all came to a head earlier this week when residents of their fictional version of Alex broke down doors and gates and stormed the Diale’s home in search of Adze. It ended with them dragging poor Adze outside, beating him and dousing him in battery acid.
Wandile Radebe, homosexuality and cross-dressing
From the minute this character, played by Chiedza “Chi” Mhende, came on the scene, my mom said there was something about her that she just couldn’t place. And no, I did not make a mistake with the pronoun. Although Wandile is Zola’s youngest son, the character is played by a woman.
Wandile has been a pretty boring addition to the show until now… And no, the fact that a man is being played by the woman is not the big deal here.
The big deal is the upcoming gender inception mind-f***.
It turns out Wandile is gay and he has recently started experimenting with cross dressing after being taken to a drag club by Elam, a gay man who is attracted to him.
A cross-dressing, gay man, played by a woman, who already naturally dresses like a boy… Wrap your head around that!
Why I love it, hate it and will continue watching…
Karabo and Wandile’s story lines are one step closer to the goal of smashing patriarchy and gender conformity. Yes, it makes older generations upset but it also gets them thinking.
When different ideas about the same thing exist in one household/family (which will always be the case), things like these story lines can spur inter-generational dialogue. And that is a good thing as long as you, your parents and grand-parents are open to discussing your view points and listening to each other. Even if you end up agreeing to disagree.
When will you get another chance to ask your mom why it is disgusting for a woman to have two husbands but she doesn’t care that a man can marry six different women, have sex with them and still have girlfriends on the side?
While xenophobia and dark magic (I don’t want to call it witchcraft) leave me feeling angry, uncomfortable and disappointed, I certainly learned that this snake issue is not as far-fetched as I initially thought. It turns out that there people who actually believe in those practices and they engage in them.
I doubt the snake saga is far from over. That plot has not even reached its climax yet. Maybe it’s just because the whole idea freaks me out but I get an ominous feeling about this particular story line.
Even though Adze’s story does not seem to have been resolved (what were you trying to teach people Bab’ Vundla?), I will continue watching. For now.
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