Life with my darling boys

By Drum Digital
01 December 2010

POOR Khethiwe. She’s had a tough time of it this year, what with abuse from boyfriend Dumisane and carrying Khapela and his wife’s child. It’s drama all the way for her – not that we’d expect anything less from Mzansi’s favourite soapie...

But for the woman who plays longsuffering Khethiwe, the drama does not revolve around violent men or having babies for another couple. It’s about keeping her livewire son, Phenyo, entertained. And that, we discover after a few minutes in the 16-month-old toddler’s company, is a full-time job.

Winnie Modise enlists the entire DRUM team to hold her son’s attention so the photographer can get a few shots of the two of them together. Before you know it we’re all singing, dancing, counting, clapping and cooing “who’s a good boy?” to get him to smile. Which he does – for about half a minute – before wriggling away and yelling in frustration.“I told you this child is prone to tantrums,” his harassed mom says, calling for nanny Lillian Marimba to help.

“I feel so sorry for myself when Lillian goes home for the holidays,” Winnie groans. “It seems she’s the only one who can handle him and get him to eat his food.”

Still, outbursts and enforced dance sessions aside, it’s great to see the Generations star and the apple of her eye again. The last time we met was when we featured Winnie, her SABC cameraman husband, Thabo Modise, and little Phenyo on our Christmas cover last year (A cosy family Christmas, 24 December).

Back then Phenyo was five months old and it was the first time the public was introduced to the little guy. Small as he was, his feisty streak was already evident – as was that cheeky smile that could melt the hardest heart.

It’s impossible to stay annoyed at anyone who flashes you a grin showing off a few perfect teeth and it must be easy to let someone as cute as this rule the roost. Winnie and Thabo, however, make sure he’s disciplined when he needs to be and that he knows right from wrong. “Thabo especially can be strict,” Winnie says.

“Phenyo gives me a hard time sometimes but he listens to his dad. Thabo is very hands-on. I can see how important it is to have two people raising a child. I can’t imagine doing it on my own because from time to time I do need a break; knowing I can rely on my husband to help is so comforting.”

“Thabo is having a tough time at the moment,” she tells us. Just this morning he heard his father had passed away and they will soon be going to Mafikeng to be with the family. “Thabo was already not doing well this week because his cousin died – and now his dad,” she says sadly. “My poor husband is heartbroken.”

Read the full story in DRUM of 9 December 2010

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