TV’s most powerful female characters

PIC: Martin De Kock
PIC: Martin De Kock

IN the past, powerful characters on television were men in suits. But the tables have turned and women are getting more and more powerful roles on TV. People like Pamela Nomvete, who played the cheeky Ntsiki Lukhele in Generations, and Joyce Skefu, who played spicy Doris in Muvhango, have paved the way for more women to be considered for big roles. Here is a look at a few of our favourites who are making a mark in the industry.


Thembi Nyandeni plays the role of Mkabayi Zungu in Isibaya, a drama series about the taxi industry and the violence that comes with it. In the drama, the awardwinning actress portrays a tough, straight-talking and ready for action woman who is involved in the taxi business with her brother. The actress has been seen numerous times on the show being fearless and giving the men a run for their money. The opinionated Mkabayi has been on the show since its inception in 2014.

The Queen

The show hit the small screens on Mzansi Magic in July 2016 and was an instant hit with viewers. Two extremely powerful women are at war with each other and will not stop until the other is brought down. Actress Connie Ferguson plays Harriet Khoza and when her husband dies she has to toughen up and take care of family.

The Queen

Rami Cheune, who plays Gracious, is the other power woman on The Queen and she challenges Harriet at every chance she gets. She held it together when her daughter was in a serious relationship with a Khoza son, who later moved into her own home. Gracious is quick to shoot him in the chest when she found out he killed her ex-husband. Gracious and Harriet are currently facing problems because of Gracious’ niece who is new in town. The niece is not aware of the feud between the two families and falls in love with Khaya from the Khoza family. The two love-birds are finding it hard to call it quits and continue the relationship despite disapproval from their families.

Ring of Lies

On a TV series about boxing, Slindile Nodangala plays the role of Thando, a mother who is overprotective of her child and wants to control everything that happens in her child’s life. Anyone who seems to be meddling and trying to take her role as a mother gets the heat. This does not exclude Thando’s ex who is the father of her daughter together with his wife, Ruth. Thando thinks Ruth wants to take her daughter away from her. Because of her animosity towards Ruth, she accidentally poured acid on her daughter’s face intending to hurt Ruth. She is now living with the secret and the guilt.

Generations – The Legacy

After 16 prominent Generations actors left the show in 2014 due to money issues, the show collapsed. Mfundi Vundla, the producer of the soapie, introduced Generations – The Legacy with a brand new cast. The show moved away from focusing on a storyline about corporate people. It introduced families that lived in the townships and the challenges they face in those areas. Manaka Ranaka, who plays Lucy, is one of those characters that live in the township with her mom, brother and teenage daughter. She runs her own shebeen. She is a strict, ghetto mom who takes no nonsense from anyone, including her drunken customers. Her perfected pantsula dance moves are to die for.


The show is about two affluent families, the Mdletshes and the Xulus. Dawn Thandeka King plays MaNgcobo. She and her thug husband head the Xulu family. Her husband is involved in a car hijacking business and is constantly being investigated by the cops. MaNgcobo knows how to operate a gun and when the occasion arises, she shoots bullets like a man.

The River

After being on Muvhango for 20 years playing a successful business woman, Sindi Dlathu is now on The River on 1Magic and she is making jaws drop with her brilliant acting, playing Lindiwe. She discovers a land that has diamonds and is determined to acquire it, remove the residents and make the diamonds hers. When people try to get in her way, she does not hesitate to put them six feet under.

Skeem Saam

Harriet Manamela is on Skeem Saam as Meikie Maputla. She is a married woman with two sons. She is strict but raises her children very well. She is never scared to voice her opinions and thinks quite highly of her own views. When her husband had an affair with a younger woman, she did not take it lying down. Meikie contacted the lady and fought for her husband and her marriage. The determined wife ended up with her husband back home.

Skeem Saam

Shoki Mmola plays Celia Kuntu on the show. She is also a married mother of two. Although she is a submissive wife to her husband, she is also a pillar of strength for her family. She fights for her family and wants her children to reach their full potential in life. There was a time when the family did not have enough money to go around and as a strong woman she started a vetkoek business just to make sure the family is taken care of.


Yvonne is the second wife of a successful businessman. She seems to always bring drama to the marriage because she’s not a fan of the first wife. Yvonne, who is also known as YV, played by Kgomotso Christopher, even goes as far as hiring a hit man to get rid of the first wife so she could take the number one spot. Her husband, played by loved actor Hlomla Dandala, has currently kicked her out of their home because of the trouble she has put the family through and endangering their lives.

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