This is how Nomzamo Mbatha and Sdumo Mtshali gave us the best on-screen love story

Sdumo Mtshali and Nomzamo Mbatha. (Photo: Isibaya Mzansi Magic Twitter)
Sdumo Mtshali and Nomzamo Mbatha. (Photo: Isibaya Mzansi Magic Twitter)

Once in a while, a TV show produces a love story so convincing that audiences can’t help but want that exact kind of love too. And when it ends, it leaves us completely torn apart as if it was a real-life story.

Mzansi Magic’s popular telenovela Isibaya did exactly that. For eight years, actress Nomzamo Mbatha played the role of Thandeka Zungu on the show, and when she fell in love with the young Ndlovu man, Sibusiso (played by Sdumo Mtshali), it was the start of something quite spectacular for local television.

From the moment a young Sbu and Thandeka met at the river in their home village of Ebubesini in rural KwaZulu-Natal, it was just pure love. It wasn’t without its challenges; they came from families that hated each other, so naturally their union was immediately frowned upon. But because they loved each other way too much to stay apart, they kept creeping around until they were old enough to conjure up the courage to tell their families that they wanted to get married.

Even that was not received well, as both their fathers are very headstrong men, who were powerful both in their families and the community at large. Eventually though, after much effort and hard work, they go married – and the families, over many years, started getting along.

Sbu and Thandeka’s marriage faced a number of trials – from many near-death experiences, secrets, lies, betrayal and even long-distance issues – but the two lovebirds prevailed and managed to even start a beautiful family.

Now Mzansi’s favourite love story has come to end. In a feud between the Zungu and Ngwenya families, Thandeka was caught in the middle. She was shot and killed in a vendetta against her taxi boss father, Sengwayo.

Before she was killed, she was riding in the car with her hubby and the couple reminisced about old times – when they first met, the challenges, the happy moments – just before declaring undying love to each other once again. When they stopped at the shop, Sbu noticed a car that was following theirs. The car’s windows rolled down and the men inside started shooting. Sbu took out his own gun and ran to protect the love of his life, but it was too late.

In an emotional Instagram post, Nomzamo thanked her on-screen love interest of eight years, Sdumo, for being an amazing man, partner and colleague.

"Sdumo. Kusukela ekqaleni . . . From day 1 . . . to the very last frame. Our love and respect has transcended beyond the screen. I say this without restraint, you are possibly the most incredible human being there is. Unchanging. Giving. So much centre. So rooted. I will never have the words for how you have shaped me not only as a person but also as a performer. Grateful to have told the most beautiful love story South African television has ever seen. Grateful to have gained one of my very best friends," she wrote.

"I have to share this too . . . because I want people to know the kind of heart you carry. How you nearly missed a flight out of Durban just so you could help me do readings for the last Coming 2 America tape submission. Letting me know I got it. ‘Trust your Voice Nomzee... let’s find God in the scene...’ You have always wanted to see me and others soar. Here’s to Sbu and Thandeka! Here’s to you!" she added.


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