Gomora's Miss Manzi and Teddy on that shocking rape episode

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Actress Sihle Ndaba opens up about playing a predator on Gomora.
Actress Sihle Ndaba opens up about playing a predator on Gomora.
Oupa Bopape

He's one of the nicest kids on TV. Young, loyal and naive.

So when he was targeted by a teacher and sexually assaulted, it had the country talking. 

Teddy has been raped by Miss Manzi. His innocence has been taken away by an older woman who set her sights on him and decided to groom him sexually from the first day she laid eyes on him.

Mzansi Magic’s hit telenovela Gomora had fans on the edge of their seats last night when the unthinkable happened.

He has had a crush on her for a while now but the teacher, who is older and should have been wiser, has taken advantage.

Actress Sihle Ndaba chats to Drum about her latest character, Miss Ncebakazi Manzi who has recently joined Gomora High School as a teacher. 

Because she is an old-time friend of the Dlamini family, she stays with principal Melusi Dlamini (played by Zolisa Xaluva) and his family.

“It’s pedophilia,” she says.

“People like Manzi do not care about the repercussions, in fact they ride on the fact that they probably will not get caught because no one will ever suspect them because they are nice people and have good social standard in the community."

"Manzi is a likeable person and a brilliant teacher, so no one would suspect her of preying on her students. She is hiding in plain sight and that is the thing about predators, they are calculating,” she says.

Read more | MY STORY | A teenager speaks out about being raped to help others

Sihle says the gender-based violence and rape culture in South Africa are appalling and that she sees the reaction on social media as an indication.

“If the gender roles were reversed, people would think the teacher was a monster but because it is a boy child that is being abused, some people do not see anything wrong.  There have been people who say Teddy is experiencing every teenage boy’s dream, which I think is wrong. Manzi has taken advantage of an innocent crush in the most terrible way.  She has been pretentious from the word go and grooming him. She is evil. Really, she is vile," she says.

“Yes, it is an uncomfortable subject to talk about because people like to pretend like boy children are not abused or cannot be raped by women.  But it is an important conversation to have and I really hope that parents are talking to their children without judgment so that their children can talk to them freely about things that go on in their lives,” she says.

Sihle also touches on Miss Manzi’s fashion sense. “I think she dresses too sexy for a schoolteacher at work, hey. You must remember that she is dealing with high school kids who are impressionable. She knows that her milkshake brings all the boys to the yard, so she is deliberate about how she dresses."

Sihle says the gender-based violence and rape culture in South Africa are appalling and that she sees the reaction on social media as an indication.

“If the gender roles were reversed, people would think the teacher was a monster but because it is a boy child that is being abused, some people do not see anything wrong.  There have been people who say Teddy is experiencing every teenage boy’s dream, which I think is wrong. Manzi has taken advantage of an innocent crush in the most terrible way.  She has been pretentious from the word go and grooming him. She is evil. Really, she is vile," she says.

"Yes, it is an uncomfortable subject to talk about because people like to pretend like boy children are not abused or cannot be raped by women. But it is an important conversation to have and I really hope that parents are talking to their children without judgment so that their children can talk to them freely about things that go on in their lives,” she says.

Sihle also touches on Miss Manzi’s fashion sense. “I think she dresses too sexy for a schoolteacher at work, hey. You must remember that she is dealing with high school kids who are impressionable. She knows that her milkshake brings all the boys to the yard, so she is deliberate about how she dresses."

“I have thoroughly enjoyed playing her. She was interesting and challenging.  It was scary to go to the dark places that she took me to.  But as an actor, I believe, it is important to never judge a character so that you have play them authentically. As actors we are constantly reflecting society’s reality.  We are a society that often thinks such things will never happen to us or people we know, so it was important to have a township boy to have this experience,” she adds.

Nomsa Philiso, the director of local entertainment channels at Mnet says: “We are Africa’s most loved storyteller and we pride ourselves is bringing compelling content to our viewers which they are able to relate due to societal dilemmas we face daily and allow them to have conversations that raise awareness.” 

Sicelo Buthelezi who plays Teddy says men don't generally talk about their first sexual encounters.

“I had to do a lot of research because I do not know amajita (guys) who have experienced what Teddy has gone through. It is sad that men do not talk about this, because maybe if the conversations were had, then young men would not suffer like Teddy did.

“Yes, he had a crush on her and had dreamt about her before, but he did not want this. He was uncomfortable with happened and even though she knew that, she still went ahead and took advantage of him. She lured him into a fantasy world, bese qeda lapho, wamkhawata (then after that she hurt him),” he says.

Read more | Local man shares how he was raped by a pastor

Another thing that troubles Sicelo is that Miss Manzi raped him knowing that no one would believe Teddy.

As a young man himself, only 21 years old, Sicelo says he can never imagine the loneliness Teddy is feeling right now because he had no one to talk to about what happened to him.

“I mean, Teddy is a nobody and does not come from a respected family or anything. On the other hand, she is a respected teacher who is well liked and gorgeous, no one would ever suspect that she would want to sleep with Teddy.

“I am an actor and I would like to believe that I am holding a mirror to show society it’s reflection.  I am like a puppet, mimicking what is really happening in real life.  I would like to encourage people to speak up and seek help. Teddy kept it all in and I am scared he will explode,” he says.

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