The top TV villains on South African TV we love to hate

(Image: Supplied)
(Image: Supplied)

When it comes to hate-worthy characters, Mzansi Magic soaps have hit the bullseye time and time again with individuals whose crimes include everything from throwing their bosses under the table, to theft and murder. And while hating them is so much fun, these characters are the very driving force that makes their shows popular. 

Sit back and stream these shows from the beginning to the latest episodes on Showmax right now and prepare to throw popcorn at your screen when these baddies start sinning… 

Gomora: Mr Ngoveni and Pretty

Mzansi Magic’s hit new telenovela has two characters you love to hate… and that says a lot seeing as the storyline is already filled with other dodgy characters like hijackers, murderers, alcoholics and abusers. It’s their personalities that make Mr Ngoveni (Kabelo Ngakane) and Pretty (Siyasanga Papu) so easy to dislike. Teacher Mr Ngoveni is vice-principal of Gomora Secondary but the way he walks and talks, you’d swear he was the president of a country. He has a bully’s attitude, speaks down to the students and has even threatened them with a physical beating if they don’t listen to him. Plus, he tried to get his boss Mr Dlamini (Zolisa Xaluva) fired in July and steal his job.

Pretty, on the other hand, tries to undermine her sister, Thathi (Katlego Danke). It’s not bad enough that Thathi’s husband was killed in a botched hijacking in episode 1 and the truth of his lies (stealing, embezzling, lying about being faithful and all other nasty deeds) have seen her booted out of Sandton and moving back home to Alex penniless, now Pretty is trying to kick a dog while she’s down. She feels that their mom Mam’Sonto (Connie Chiume) has always favoured Thathi, so pointing out everything that Thathi does wrong, through no fault of her own (like her hubby’s crimes), becomes a sport to Pretty. The higher her score against her sister, the wider Pretty grins… and the more viewers hate her.

The River: Veronica and Lindiwe

Veronica (Ferry Jele) isn’t a hateable character because she’s something cold and callous like a killer. Instead, she’s like that mosquito buzzing about the room that just won’t go away. She keeps sinking her needle nose into your skin, sapping out your energy with every scene as she cons her way through the Dlamini family’s mansion and fortune. She’s lied about being an invalid, acting almost like a patient in a psychiatric facility when they’re heavily medicated. She has perfected that to the point that her enemy Lindiwe (Sindi Dlathu) holding a scorching clothes iron centimetres from her face didn’t make her so much as flinch. Veronica is up to no good. Nothing she has said or done since her arrival has been the truth. And if there’s one thing viewers hate more than a murderer, it’s a liar. Speaking of murderers…

Lindiwe is so far from innocent that it’s a miracle the mining boss hasn’t been arrested yet. In episode 1 she already showed viewers what kind of a monster character she is when she murdered her employee Thatho (Don Mlangeni Nawa) in cold blood. She bludgeoned him to death in a river in order to steal a huge diamond that he’d found in her mine. And that’s not the only murder she’s committed. She even tried to bury her estranged daughter Itumeleng (Larona Moagi) alive when the teen threatened to expose Lindiwe for murdering Tumi’s adoptive dad, Thatho. Her list of crimes is as long as the mineshaft she’s no doubt thrown people down to keep her activities hidden. There’s fraud, theft, corruption, sex scandals… you name it, Lindiwe has done it. The difference between her and the rest of the characters on this list is that while she’s a villain and absolutely loathsome, she’s also the best at being bad, which makes her so popular!

Lockdown: Tyson

Tyson (Lorcia Cooper) spent the first two seasons as one of the hardest inmates at Thabazimbi Women’s Correctional Facility. But behind that façade is a hurt woman, a woman whose dignity is stripped from her in the cruellest way in seasons 3 and 4. She is raped by a male prisoner while the two are working together in the prison yard. There’s no need to show the crime onscreen. You don’t need to see that person’s face when you see how it affects Tyson in Season 4 when she goes through the process of having a baby in prison.

As a masculine lesbian, Tyson was ashamed of the incident [being raped]. It stripped her of her identity that she’d built in prison,” says Lorcia. “That psychological breakdown only fuels her when she’s done feeling sorry for herself.” Seeing the combination of rage and utter disgust on her face in the Season 3 finale as she kills her attacker will give you an idea of how much she hated him. And that is an all-too-real emotion for so many women in South Africa, whose rapists aren’t characters on a TV show, they’re people in their daily lives.

Isibaya: Mbovu

Forget money, cars, mansions… even gold. That’s fake currency. The real currency is land. The more you own, the wealthier you are. And in Isibaya, where the land belongs to the chief, any threat to that is seen as a threat to the people. Threats like Mbovu (Sibonile Ngubane). He and his cohorts moved down to eBhubesini recently and he’s had his eye on the prize: snatching land from the people living on it. But he hasn’t used force to take it, which would anger the chief. Instead, he has carefully set about manipulating the people, tricking them into signing over their property. He has been sly with his deals, making sure that he’s as charming as the serpent in the Garden Of Eden, leading his victims to “paradise” with his promises. Watching him go about his cruel tricks is enough to make you sick. And the worst part about Mbovu’s lies is that he may just get away with it…

Stream all these shows on Showmax, from just R49 per month.

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