Meet the cast of Mzansi Magic's new telenovela

Cape Town - Mzansi Magic’s new telenovela, Isithembiso explores young love in the concrete jungle.

It follows the lives of two young people who come to the City of Gold in search of not just their fortune, but familial ties, opportunities and education.

It’s a millennial migrant story that digs deep into the lives of Mzansi youth today, their ambitions, choices and the consequences.

We meet Simi, the wide-eyed innocent maiden from Kwa-ZuluNatal. She comes to the dazzling iGoli in search of her mother and job opportunities. Her path collides with the resourceful Zamani, whose street smarts and swag belie that he comes from a small village in Limpopo.

Through a series of incidents – from chance meetings to destructive choices – their lives intertwine with Banzi, whose “sheep’s clothing” easily deceive the gullible Simi. Whether it’s fate or bad luck, this culminates in an explosive climax that has long-lasting and life-changing consequences.

Industry newcomers Nandi Mbatha (Simi) and Zamani Mbatha (Zamani) are the two young actors central to this evocative telenovela.

See a teaser here:

Meet the cast here:

Nandi Mbatha – You would never guess that Mbatha is a novice actress, as she expertly portrays tragic rural heroine Simlindile “Simi” Ngema, the teenage damsel in distress with an impetuous streak. Simi’s move to Joburg goes pear-shaped from day one, and her fairytale looks set to NOT have a happy ending. 

Zamani Mbatha – Rookie actor Mbatha carries his role as Zamani with aplomb. The young good-hearted hero with a hunger and desire to be someone of value, can often be reckless. He is a first-year Mining Engineering student and his heart and good-guy tendencies get him in sticky situations. 

Hamilton Dlamini – The award-winning thespian is menacing in the role of the manipulative and ruthless Banzi “The Wolf of Braamfontein” Kunene. His pursuit for power and respect knows no bounds, but his fragile male ego could be his undoing.

Meshack Mavuso – A 20-year veteran of the industry who has acted on most popular shows on the screen and stage, Mavuso plays the even-tempered Kero “The Lion of Pimville” Kunene. The polar opposite of his cutthroat brother Banzi, he is a humble father figure to most of the township youth.

Tebogo Chichi Letswalo – From presenter to actress, Letswalo has paid her dues over the years. As Claudia Kunene, she takes her most challenging role yet. The wife of Banzi, she is a bird in a gilded cage who yearns to be free. She regrets leaving the unassuming Karo for the flashier Banzi, and wants her daughter to learn independence instead of relying on a man.  

Tshenolo Seabi – Seabi is a film school graduate who made her small screen debut two years ago, as a presenter of a variety show. She plays daddy’s little princess, Palesa Kunene. She is spoilt, a bit arrogant and desperate to never disappoint her doting dad.

Lemogang Tsipa – With his experience as a character actor in local dramas, Tsipa is well placed to play Bambatha. Young, arrogant and opinionated, he is what has come to be termed a “Clever Black”.

Moneoa Moshesh – From musician to actress, Moshesh pushes herself as the fast-talking, street-hustling Jabulile in Isithembiso. Temperamental and easily distracted, she is a graduate of the “university of life”.

Sboniso Nxumalo – Nxumalo plays Oscar, Zamani’s maternal uncle and security guard at Santa Barbara. All he wants is to save enough money to buy a taxi and quit the security job.

Bongani Maseko – No stranger to playing fearsome gangster characters, Maseko plays club bouncer Khaludja, a gentle giant with an expressionless face who just wants to provide for his family.

Ferieda Metsileng – Newcomer Metsileng plays varsity student Kandy. She is good-hearted girl, demure and conservative. She is everyone’s best friend.

Tune in from Monday, 3 April at 19:30 on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161).

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