It's been a while since she presented. She was the host of Our Perfect Wedding in 2014 and then Phumeza Mdabe (33) took a break to focus on her family and acting career.
She played Anele Grootboom; a straight-cut played a police officer who later found out her dad was a corrupt ambassador and she had to choose between saving her father or remaining a cop in Isidingo.
Recently she also played Marcia, sister to Thembisa Nxumalo (Thembisa Mdoda) on season two of Showmax drama series Unmarried.
The singer, actress, and TV presenter Phumeza Mdabe makes her long-awaited return to presenting with the new reality show Abandoned on Mzansi Magic.
“Doing Abandoned was much-needed therapy for me,” she says.
“The crew called me Brooke Logan like the character on The Bold and the Beautiful, almost every episode brought me to tears,” she says.
Growing up, Phumeza did not know her father, and being part of the show reminded her of her own pain and struggles with identity.
“I understood what some of the guests had experienced," she says. “I didn’t know my father who was white, and I could relate to the issues of identity and abandonment.”
Phumeza was raised by her single mom and at age 15, her mom gave her permission to go and find her father to have a relationship with him.
“My mom told me where he lived, and I went to ask him to pay for my high school fees. I went and found him at home, he was in a panic and told me I needed to leave because his wife was at the movies and she would be back anytime. He gave me his number and promised to pay for my fees.”
She later gave him a call which he never answered.
“I gave up on trying to have a relationship with him,” she says.
“When my mom died, I tried to contact him again to tell him about her passing, but he had moved, and I never saw him again after that.”
Phumeza says her experience is not too different to many South Africans who have either not met their parents, were left on park benches, at orphanages, or those raised by relatives.
“Many people are battling to move on without answers,” she says.
“The biggest reward for me is being able to assist families in getting closure. The look in the eyes of the children when they receive answers is priceless. Parents getting the opportunity to explain that at times they felt giving their children up for adoption is the only way out. We often judge parents who abandon their children without hearing their side of the story. Many parents live with guilt and have mothers also suffer a lifetime of damage,” she adds.
Phumeza started shooting Abandoned in 2019 and says it has been a long but fulfilling ride.
“These are real South African stories. We make sure we treat them with respect; everything is planned, we don’t just rock up at someone’s home unexpectedly. We make sure the person looks decent and they are comfortable enough to take the journey.”
Phumeza believes Abandoned will restore the hope many South Africans had lost.
“With everything happening now in the world; the coronavirus outbreak, most job loss, and sadness, the show is going to highlight hope for many people. Not all hope is lost; no matter what you are going through you will get through it,” she says.
Watch Abandoned season 1 every Tuesday on Mzansi Magic DStv Channel 161 from 19 January 2021 at 20:00.