Uzalo remains a name that sticks to millions of South African homes, if you must know why, this is because the fascinating and amazingly dramatic series has left many SA citizens glued to their Television.
Uzalo is a telenovela that is broadcast on the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). The show remains the undisputed most- watched with both a higher AR and a bigger share than other soap opera like the Generations.
Releasing its first episode on February 9, 2015, the telenovela has over 8.27 million viewers across South Africa. The program is filmed in KwaZulu-Natal’s KwaMashu F-section
It is a provocative and bold narrative that tells the story of two family dynasties – the Mdletshes and the Xulus – living in the township of Kwa-Mashu located 32 kilometres north of Durban.
The Mdletshe family presides over the Kwamashu Kingdom Church while the Xulu family runs a car theft syndicate. But the fate of the two families got connected when they discovered that their eldest sons were switched at birth during that period when the country’s legendary anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician, and philanthropist, Nelson Mandela was released from prison.
Immersed in contradictory worlds of church and crime respectively, the eldest sons of the two families battles with the issues of family ties and loyalties against personal ambition. This is evident in the tension that rose when a young son of one of the families chose to pursue his own career goals and reject the family business.
Lead cast includes Naymaps Maphalala (Mxolisi Xulu); Khumbulani Kay Sibiya (Ayanda Mdletshe); Dawn King (Lindiwe Xulu), Leleti Khumalo (Zandile Mdletshe) among others.
Who Is Mxolisi Xulu?
Mxolisi Xulu is the unwilling hero who had to embark on a journey of discovery, but he returned to take over his father’s criminal syndicate.
From the day he was born, Lindiwe and Muzi (his parents) believed that their son was unique and so they did everything possible to ensure that he had the best of life.
Mxolisi was born with a gift of singing. As a child, he could hum a tune that lightens the heart and soothes a broken spirit. In him, Lindiwe and Muzi saw a new continuation of the Xulu dynasty.
Things turned around when Mxolisi was exposed to violence, dodgy dealings, police run-ins and extreme excess. However, as he grew into a man, he determined in his heart to distance himself from the unworthy lifestyle. Although he does not approve of the family business, Mxolisi loves his family fiercely.
Although he does not approve of the family business, Mxolisi loves his family fiercely.
Who is Lindiwe Xulu?
The beautiful, smart and talented daddy’s girl who everyone believes would keep the family’s legacy. As such, she never lacked a thing because her parents never denied her anything.
She, however, dashed the hopes of her parents away when she became pregnant for Muzi who was a dangerous, exciting gangster.
Heartbroken, her father disowned her and sent her out of the house. She was forced to look to Muzi for support, she decided that Muzi was her family now and they have been happily married ever since.
She is deeply devoted to her family and works hard at their relationship; there is nothing she loves more than her kids in this world.
Who is Ayanda Mdletshe?
The child who was accidentally switched at birth while in the hospital by the nurses. But even though his blood is that of the Xulu’s, no one could detect or tell the difference.
He has passion and ear for music which makes him produce genius, unfortunately, he doesn’t possess a singing voice.
Growing up, Ayanda feels stifled by the expectations of the church and his family on him. Thus he plans to break free from being emasculated. He wants to prove to his dad that he is a man worthy of his respect and regard.
One other interesting character SA viewers will always remember in the drama series is Sihle Ndaba who played the role of Smangele Maphumulo.
The actress got a role on SABC1 drama series Uzalo as Smangele in 2015 and has since then appeared in some other interesting TV series like Inkaba (acted as Pru), SABC1 drama series Room 8 (acted as Qiniso)
The well-known actress contested the eighth season of M-Net’s Idols South Africa which was won by Durban-born Khaya Mthethwa. She won a Sabela Award for Best Supporting Actress at the Durban International Film Festival last year.
Bheki Mkhwane as Melusi Mdletshe
Bonga Dlamini as Mkhondo Xulu
Brenda Mhlongo as Buhle
Dawn King as Lindiwe Xulu
Don Mlangeni Nawa as Dlomo
Gugu Gumede as Hlengiwe
Gugulethu Zulu as Zwi
Kay Sibiyaas Ayanda Mdletshe
Khaya Zulu as GC
Leleti Khumalo as Zandile Mdletshe
Londeka Mlaba as Sibahle
Londiwe Mthembu as Maphindi
Lungelo Madondo as Amanda Maphumulo
Lungile Msweli as Nonduduzo
Mfana Jones Hlophe as Zakhele
Mlungisi Ndebele as Nongoloza
Mpumelelo Bhulose as Muzi Zulu
Naymaps Maphalala as Mxolisi Xulu
Ncibijani Madlala as Siyabonga Mabuza
Nhlakanepho Mhlongo as Gundi
Nokuthula Mabika as Thobile
Nompilo Maphumulo as Nosipho Xulu
Ntokozo Dlamini as Mastermind Maphumulo
Sihle Ndaba as Smangele Maphumulo
Simphiwe Majozi as Sbu
Sipho Mhlongo as Nkosithathi Mdletshe
Thandeka Zulu as Nombuso
Thembinkosi Thwala as Mondli
Zimdollar Biyela as Samkelisiwe
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Uzalo’s executive producers are Pepsi Pokane, President Jacob Zuma’s daughter Gugulethu Zuma and producer- Stained Glass Pictures.
South Africa’s most-watched drama series use local talent and infrastructure to create a true-to-life depiction of South African families and community dynamics in a way that hasn’t been portrayed on local television before.
There’s no episode of the loudly applauded telenovela which should be missed. But, should in case you happen to miss any, all you need to do is to watch the video online via this YouTube channel. The TV series air on Mondays to Fridays on SABC1 at 20h30.