Zozibini Tunzi to host a Bridgerton affair with a South African twist

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Zozibini Tunzi.
Zozibini Tunzi.
Photo: Jaco Marais/Gallo Images
  • To celebrate the return of Bridgerton, Netflix's hit show, former Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi will host a soirée polo event in Johannesburg on Saturday.
  • Coconut Kelz and comedian Donovan Goliath are part of the star-studded guest list.
  • Coconut Kelz will be channelling the African version of Lady Whistledown and Goliath will come as the queen's royal guard Brimsely.

The return of the Netflix hit Regency era series Bridgerton is ready to shake a few tables as the show's second season is themed "Love Never Plays by the Rules". 

The highly-anticipated second season premieres worldwide on the streaming service on Friday, 25 March.

In the spirit of the Bridgerton weekend, former Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi will host 400 guests at a soirée polo event in Johannesburg, parading as Queen Charlotte. She will host South Africa's ton, transporting guests to an old-world charm of the Regency era with an African twist.

The star-studded guest list includes Zakes Bantwini, Coconut Kelz, real name is Lesego Tlhabi, and Donovan Goliath.

Coconut Kelz told Channel24 that she would be parading the event wearing a Mantsho garment by Palesa Mokubung.

She revealed that she would be channelling the African version of Lady Whistledown - the gossip merchant who sets tongues wagging and wigs falling with her naughty pen - although she finds Eloise Bridgerton (played by Claudia Jesse) extremely interesting.

"I love her because she is fiercely independent. She is a loving sister, and she has a deep friendship with Penelope, who happens to be lady Whistledown, unbeknown to her.

"But she is focused on chasing her career and making her dreams come true and just making sure she remains independent before she goes through the long thing of being paraded around to find a husband, make a baby. I love watching a character where they come from a time where that is supposed to be the focal point, and yet it's not," said Coconut Kelz.

Eloise in the series is best friends with Penelope (played by Nicola Coughlan), who also happens to be Lady Whistledown.

"What I like the most about Lady Whistledown is that it seems like what she is doing is gossip for gossip's sake. But I think it is important to have somebody who holds a mirror up to society and holds them accountable for their actions, especially those that need fixing."

"I mean, I would not do it in secret if I were her because I don't think there is a reason to hide. Sometimes it takes someone telling you about yourself to be able to make those important shifts, especially where your behaviour might be problematic," she said.

Coconut Kelz admits that she started watching the show after rave reviews circulated globally, and she was looking forward to the new twists.

'A recipe for success'

This season sees the introduction of Kate Sharma, played by Simone Ashley. While the eldest Sharma is technically on the marriage mart, Kate believes she is too old to find herself a husband and uses all her energy finding her younger sister a love match. She is challenged not only by her new life in London but also in equal parts, infuriated and enticed by Anthony Bridgerton (played by Jonathan Bailey), who has his sights set on her sister. 

"I like when Shonda Rhimes has her name on something, and Netflix has their name on something, sex scenes, period costumes, and there is the regency hair and make and beautiful cast members; I think you have a recipe for success," she said.

With the official trailer out, Coconut Kelz expressed gratitude for the inclusivity of the overall production.

"I am looking forward to the introduction of Kate Sharma. Anthony pursues her sister, Edwina Sharma (played by Charithra Chandran), this season. In the trailer, we can see that although they seem to be foes and seem to have a battle of wits and battle of the words, Kate is actually going to be the one that ends up with Anthony. I like her independence streak, similar to why I like Eloise. And I like that she is extremely sharp and quick-witted. I love people who can shut you down with a one-liner. That is my superpower as well," said Coconut Kelz.

"Also very important for me is that Shonda Rhimes tends to use characters from races that aren't usually celebrated as love interests. We saw a Black man being a romantic lead in a show set in Britain about the regency era. And now, this season, we see South East Asians be able to take that lead in a romantic love story in Britain," she added.

Goliath will be in his capacity as the queens' royal guard Brimsely (played by Hugh Sachs) will help guests get Bridgerton ready. 

"I think with season one, we landed the plot, the story, the look of everything. I think people are used to that. We have turned up the volume a little bit more. So we put a lot more emphasis on getting to know the rest of the family, more emphasis on styling and art direction," he told Channel24.

"I think unpacking this world and finding more relatable stories from that era to the modern world. Season one gave so many foundations for so many more avenues that we can explore in season two," he added.

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