In September 2022, BET Africa launched its latest original production – a telenovela titled Redemption. The show is set in a mega church and follows a close-knit and highly respected family, the Zikodes.
After the mysterious disappearance of celebrated Pastor Simon Zikode (played by Themba Ndaba), his daughter Faith (played by Kwanele Mthethwa) – who is on the cusp of an international music career – drops everything to come to her family’s rescue. As Faith immerses herself in the church and the family’s affairs, she uncovers devastating secrets about those closest to her and is soon confronted with her own skeletons.
Featuring a star-studded cast such as Tina Jaxa, Seputla Sebogodi, Yonda Thomas and Pearl Modiadie, among others, the show is already a hit with viewers who are glued to the drama.
TRUELOVE had the pleasure of visiting the set of the production, which is set in the industrial town of Kya Sands in Randburg, Gauteng. We also had the opportunity to speak to five of the stars from the show who told us about their characters.
Leera Mthethwa (Queen)
“Queen Modise is a nurse in her late 30s at a community hospital. She’s a gossipmonger and a narrator of the story alongside her best friend/worst enemy, MaNxumalo. She’s very spicy but young and funky as well,” Leera says before explaining what she thinks viewers will enjoy about her character on the show.
“She’s honestly a representative of what churchgoing can sometimes be like. She’s the kind of woman that will look at you up and down as you’re walking in the church and she’ll judge what you’re wearing while nudging her friend. It’s a real representation so I think we’re going to enjoy the honesty and the spice and the over-exaggeration of Queen,” she says.
Kwanele Mthethwa (Faith)
“Faith Zikode is a very stubborn little girl. She is hard-headed but is a sweetheart at the same time. She also has so much love for her family and at the beginning of the story we’re going to see that she has her own life on the side, so when these things start happening in her family, she’s forced to come back and leave her life behind,” she explains.
While Kwanele enjoys playing Faith, she says preparing for this specific role was different from the preparation she had done for any other character before.
“I had to learn how to do those sexy dances in heels because in the first episode she was performing. So, it was hours and hours of dancing and being in heels and my feet hurting but it was a very interesting preparation. I also had to be in studio to record songs and sing,” she says before revealing that she is a good singer and might pursue music in future.
Yonda Thomas (Sabelo)
On Redemption, Yonda Thomas plays the character of Sabelo – a married police officer who also happens to have an affair with Faith. He describes Sabelo as a three-dimensional man.
“He’s three dimensional in the sense that he’s different when he’s at work and how he is when he’s at home and different again when he’s with Faith. He’s determined, hardworking and very protective and deep down he believes he’s a caring person but a lot gets revealed to himself and he discovers parts of himself that he didn’t know,” Yonda explains.
Yonda says people should watch the show because “it’s an authentic South African story that’s focused on something that we all understand, which is mega-churches. You get to see behind the curtain of what the people you glorify live like and what they do to get where they are. It’s also very well written”.
Marjorie Langa (MaNxumalo)
Majorie plays the role of MaNxumalo, who like Queen is a gossipmonger in the church.
“I think I was picked for this role based on the role I play on Scandal because she’s not really far off from Gloria. I had to make the decision to be slightly different and not too loud like Queen or Gloria so I had to town myself down without losing that comedic relief as well – but in a different way,” she explains about her character MaNxumalo.
Pearl Modiadie (Yvonne)
“I play Yvonne Zikode who is married to the son of Pastor Simon. Her mission in life is to support her husband because she wants to be the first lady of the church and the only way for her to do that is if her husband becomes the pastor. So, she’s doing whatever she can and whatever it takes to make sure that happens. She’s quite manipulative as well,” she explains before saying that although she isn’t as deceitful and destructive as Yvonne, they do share similar traits.
“She’s quite passionate about the things that she wants and she goes out to get what she wants. I get her eagerness for waning the best things in life. I just don’t go about it the way that she does. Another similarity between us is that we both love family,” she concludes.
Here’s a look inside the set: