Thembisa Mdoda Nxumalo on her new show Suxoka, surviving Covid-19 and married life

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Thembisa Mdoda Nxumalo is the host of the reality show Suxoka.
Thembisa Mdoda Nxumalo is the host of the reality show Suxoka.
Oupa Bopape

It’s a confrontational show about extracting the truth, sometimes years after an event. 

And TV presenter Thembisa Mdoda Nxumalo will be showing fans a different side as she tackles human stories as she tries to get to the truth.

Often on her shows she's seen as a sweet person who is a sucker for a good love story, the kind she presented on Our Perfect Wedding, but from July you will see Thembisa presenting Mzansi Wethu’s new show, Suxoka.

Suxoka means don’t lie in IsiXhosa and although she was not involved in the picking of the name, Thembisa says it’s an apt name for the show.

“You know when you know the truth but you cannot prove it? Like you do not have all the evidence you need, but you can feel it in your gut. That is what this show does, it give people the opportunity to get the information they need. For them to know their truth.

“It is not only for couples, but for anyone including neighbours and siblings. It is such a delicate show and has to be handled with such delicate hands and I am so grateful to be part of a show like this,” she says.

Read more | Thembisa Mdoda on losing her mother to cancer: “Cherish your mothers”

Though it is confrontational, it's nothing like we have seen on other similar shows, Thembisa says.

“No, we do not ambush people and pounce on them while they are having lunch out somewhere. Remember that this may be TV, but it is people’s real life stories and we are not just after getting drama. There have been instances where the producers saw that what we were doing was going to bring more harm than good, then we would cancel that recording and there is an option for the participants to get counselling.

“There were moments where they had to make really tough decisions. Going into a show like this, your intentions are very important. We can still do our jobs without portraying black people in a certain light. This show is really different to anything I have done before.”

She says it was difficult to do because it is so different and there would be days she would have to climb into the bath, cry out all her emotions before being with her family after a long day of shooting.

“Sometimes my heart and soul would be tired after shooting. It took me on such an emotional rollercoaster. It is beautifully packaged, and I cannot wait for people to see it because I know they will enjoy it. It has the right mix of everything. There is drama, laughter, tears – mostly from me - and excitement. The audience will also be like detectives with the show, trying to find out if the person is lying or not. Viewers can expect a full meal of ‘emotainment’ from the show because they will go through all the emotions.”

It is a 13 episode show with one story being explored per episode.

“It was really lovely to meet all the people we interacted with and there were times I felt like they helped me whenever I had doubts. With such a title you’d think there would be chairs flying, but it is done with so much class. Mna I am a comforter and a hugger, so there would be moments where I gave people hugs and that authenticity is what audiences appreciate from us as artists whether presenting, singing or acting. You cannot just let a person sit there and cry.”

Thembisa had long Covid last year and spent a long time in hospital fighting for her life and she says she is grateful to be alive and so she is going for everything.

“I am saying ‘yes’ more to the things that scare and I am taking on projects without any inhibitions. I spent about 8 or 9 months in hospital and you do not spend that much time in hospital and not change.  I am pushing myself in front and behind the camera. I am also wearing the producer’s hat in some instances for entertainment and corporate work. I am also even doing voice overs, which are so challenging because it is just your voice and not your whole body to show the audience the emotion.

Read more | Thembisa Mdoda shares the lessons she’s learned from strong women in her life

“I must say though, I am feeling much better than I was last year. Kuyakhanya (there is light) in so many ways, we have had a crazy 2 years.”

Despite the world attempting to find new normal, Thembisa says people should still look after themselves.

“Continue to wear a mask and sanitize. The production and channel were amazing in terms of adhering to Covid regulations, and I appreciated that. We should also be kind to each other and to ourselves because everyone is going through a lot right now.”

Personally, she is enjoying married life and with everything the world is going through, she is grateful to have her husband in her life.

“In every room he enters he always brings with him so much love and grace. Even when I am upset with he does not lose his compassion, empathy and kindness. I really just want to be with him all the time, it is great that we get to built a life together. I am really enjoying married life."

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