When Showmax announced they were making a telenovela inspired by Dudu Busani-Dube’s bestselling novel Hlomu the Wife, overjoyed fans immediately took to social media to offer their casting suggestions for the lead roles of Hlomu and Mqhele.
Now Showmax has confirmed that Mqhele will be played by Bonko Khoza, who burst onto the acting scene as Jabz in the multi-award-winning film Necktie Youth and has since appeared in the likes of Professionals and the Emmy-nominated Roots.
“I read the book a couple of years ago and was a fan from the moment I put it down,” says Bonko. “Fast forward to 2021 when I got sent an audition for the series. I’m really excited to bring to life this incredible piece of writing. Dudu created a compelling work of art and now we get to breathe life into it, put faces to names and show it to the world.”
Showmax has also confirmed the casting of Mqhele’s family, the Zulu brothers, with Kwenzo Ngcobo (Imbewu) as Qhawe; Sipho Ndlovu (Isibaya, The Queen) as Sambulo; SAFTA winner Abdul Khoza (Isibaya, Kings of Joburg) as Nqoba; Mondli Makhoba (Umkhokha, Generations, Imbewu) as Nkosana; SAFTA nominee Thulane Nkululeko Shange (Is’thunzi, iNumber Number) as Mqoqi; Ishmauel Songo (Rhythm City, Tsotsi) as Mpande; and Swelihle Luthuli (eHostela) as Ntsika.
The Wife is being produced by Stained Glass, who’ve created SAFTA-winning shows like eHostela and Ifalakhe as well as Uzalo, South Africa’s most-watched soap opera.
Showmax has commissioned three seasons of 40 episodes each, inspired by Dudu’s books Hlomu the Wife, Zandile the Resolute, and Naledi His Love respectively. The books follow the lives of the eight Zulu brothers, a formidable crime family, through the eyes of the wives they marry.
But even if you’ve read all Dudu’s books, don’t be too sure you know what’s coming. “The Showmax series expands on the world created in the novel,” says Dudu. “For fans of Hlomu the Wife, who know all the scenes and the lines, be prepared for new experiences and surprises on screen.”
The Wife is the eighth South African Showmax Original released in 2021, following on from record breakers like the true-crime phenomenon Devilsdorp and Babes Wodumo and Mampintsha’s reality series Uthando Lodumo, as well as critically acclaimed scripted series like DAM, Skemerdans and Tali’s Baby Diary and ever-popular reality series like Temptation Island South Africa S1 and Life With Kelly Khumalo S2.
Binge the first three episodes of The Wife from 11 November 2021, with three new episodes added every Thursday.