Khanyi Mbau (Unmarried, Happiness Ever After) has landed the biggest role of her career: she’s joining the record-breaking Showmax Original telenovela, The Wife, in the Season 2 lead role of Zandile The Resolute, playing the wife of Nkosana (fan-favourite Mondli Makhoba), the leader of the Zulu brothers’ crime family.
Eagle-eyed fans of the hit show, which has topped Twitter every Thursday since its launch, will get their first glimpse of Khanyi as Zandile in Thursday’s episodes.
While she does feature again – and more prominently – in Season 1, she’ll take centre stage in Season 2, which premieres on Showmax in February 2022, and will be inspired by Dudu Busani-Dube’s bestselling novel Zandile The Resolute.
“Season 2 is told through the eyes of uZandile,” says Stained Glass showrunner Gugu Ncube-Zuma (eHostela, Ifalakhe). “We’ll be exploring Nkosana and Zandile’s love story and finding out more about their history. We’ll get to know Zandile as the matriarch of the Zulu family, the glue who held the Zulu brothers together. In Season 2, she wants to reclaim her position, a role that uHlomu has now taken over in her absence. Get ready to see the world through Zandile’s eyes.”
After the unprecedented (but quickly forgotten) fan outcry that greeted the initial casting announcements of Hlomu and the Zulu brothers, Khanyi admits she’s understandably daunted by the role. “The greatest challenge for an actress is being a part of a story that everyone knows,” she says. “That brings a lot of expectations that you need to live up to. There’s a cult around this show so there’s a lot of pressure. And before being part of the cast, I am a fan, so I really don’t want to drop the ball. For me to depict this character is really something that can either make me or break me, to be quite honest with you, but I love the thrill.”
Gugu is confident that Khanyi is perfectly cast. “Khanyi is talented and had the range so necessary for this role,” she says. “She has depth and rawness; she’s able to tap into the dark side that Zandile has, as well as give that vulnerability that we’ll see, especially with the love between her and Nkosana. As a production team, we’ve worked with her before, and we know she’ll bring that grit that is needed for the character of Zandile.”
The Wife opened to rave reviews in November 2021, breaking both Uthando Lodumo’s first day and Devilsdorp’s four-day Showmax viewing records in the process.