“Gomora”, a thrilling new telenovela drama on the screens of Mzansi Magic debuted on the small screen shortly after South Africa went into a hard lockdown to control the spread of Covid-19.
At the time, the anticipation of the telenovela was insane as it featured the crème de la crème in the industry with Katlego Danke at the helm.
Since then, despite production grounding to a halt before resuming under strict regulations, viewers have gotten to bond with the cast as well as Danke as Thathi.
I’ve followed the actress for the better part of her career, especially her soapie roles in “Backstage”, “Generations” and “Isidingo”. That’s not forgetting the dramas she bagged, too.
As such, I can’t help but applaud her growth as an actress. She truly owns the screen in “Gomora”, where she slips into the skin of her “hustler” character with finesse.
Bagging such a role is a dream come true.
She said: “My first reaction was excitement at the opportunity to tell the story of a character who was quite different from the women I’ve played before. I was nervous at the prospect of starting a production from scratch and gaining the attention of viewers from their regular and favourite programmes.
I also felt grateful for the opportunity to work with Seriti Films since I had seen them do amazing work with other productions.”
Thathi has in a way fallen from grace. Having enjoyed suburban life with her affluent husband, Mbongeni, a change in circumstances has seen back in the township.
Danke explained: “Thathi has endured a journey that is quite hard and it puts her strength to the test. I admire the way she has had to find her survival instincts especially when we consider that she was a spoiled rich housewife when we met her who really hadn’t tasted hardship in life.
“So when things started getting tougher and then, in the middle of all of that, her friends come back to taunt her, revealing their true selves it’s quite a blow to her.
“Thathi was able to walk away from Sandton and leave that world there but now Sandton has seemingly found her again and she must account for the person she was to others when she was living the high life. I think that this taste of karma is a bit harsh but it’s also sobering for her and she can now see clearly all the relationships she had put on pedestals.”
Being the daughter of Mam’Sonto (Connie Chiume), who was forced to explore the lucrative side of crime to raise Thathi and her younger sister Pretty (Siyasanga Papu), she has become as resourceful.
Gatvol of the taunts, Thati retains her dignity – and vengeance – by joining the high-tech world of hijacking. And Mam’Sonto is onboard with this moral deviation.
“Thathi tends to delude herself in a lot of ways and this is one. She gives herself the false comfort that she’s not actually doing anything wrong or harming anyone by jamming cars.
“So she’s able to have a clean conscience that as long as they are not into hijacking and putting others through what she experienced with Mbongeni then she can take part in it,” Danke explained.
On being at the forefront of the telenovela, which also stars Thembi Seete, Zolisa Xaluva, Ntobeko Sishi, Amamkele Qamata and Siphesihle Ndaba, and more, the actress admitted: “It’s quite a responsibility being in the position I’m in. I feel very honoured to have been given the opportunity. It is also made easy by the amazing cast and crew I have the pleasure and honour to work with who are really like a family.
“Other roles I’ve played I’ve had to join a production half way through, with an existing storyline and world and characters that the audience is familiar with.
“Whereas with this one we were establishing the world of ‘Gomora’ and introducing it to the audience.
“So this means the pressure was a bit more than any other normal production and we all put every effort to make sure that it resonated with the audience from the very first scene.”
There’s much in store for viewers as Thathi plots her way out of Alexandra.
She hinted: “ Thathi is used to having things easy so for once we see her tenacious side coming through.”