Nonhle Thema’s Cleopatra brings pyramid schemes to Gomora

Invest now and you’ll pay later when you’re caught in Cleopatra’s clutches – as Nonhle Thema brings a naughty new character to Gomora

Gomora fans, roll out the red carpet for a queen on Monday, 14 September. Nonhle Thema is swanning into Alexandra as scheme queen Cleopatra Mofokeng. Like our heroine, Thathi (Katlego Danke), Cleopatra grew up poor. She might have an honest, hard-working gardener for a father and an enduring, patient domestic worker for a mother. She might have grown up in an RDP house. And her parents might even have left her that house, putting her siblings at her mercy… but all that experience taught Cleopatra is that being poor and honest is for the birds. Cleopatra would rather be filthy rich, thank you.

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Cleo and her pyramid

Like Thathi, Cleopatra grew up smart and beautiful, and she noticed that she could use her good looks to entice men into doing her bidding and buy her pretty things. Unlike Thathi, though, she didn’t latch onto one provider for life (or at least until death took everything from her). For Cleo to be #Blessed takes a lot of Blessers. In fact, she has made quite the business out of it. It’s Cleopatra at the top of her pyramid, and everyone who’s being suckered in by her below her, level after level. Township after township, Cleopatra arrives, manipulates people into cashing into her business, Phusha Investments, with her charm and skilled lies. And once she’s sucked them dry as the desert, she moves on to the next township.

Seducing Sbonga

For Cleopatra’s scheme to work, she needs to find just the right person to lure in first. Preferably a man, a chancer who needs to make a fast buck and doesn’t mind tricking other people to make that happen. As she enters the world of Gomora, Cleopatra has just the right man in mind – her old childhood friend, Sbonga (Khaya Mthembu).

Township crime queenpin Mam'Sonto’s (Connie Chiume) layabout son-in-law has been looking for a way to make money so he can escape the Sonto house. The situation between his wife, Pretty (Siyasanga Papu), and sister-in-law, Thathi, has gone from simmering resentment to outright violence lately. And when Cleopatra starts looking his way, Sbonga just sees a sexy, rich woman who’s taking an interest in him, and is filled with fuzzy memories of being childhood chommies. Nice!

To Sbonga’s chagrin, though, he is quickly reminded of the saying that it takes money to make money. Cleopatra won’t let him just invest a promise. And when he goes running to Teddy’s (Sicelo Buthelezi) recovering alcoholic mom, Zodwa (Sannah Mcunu), for help, Sbonga unwittingly recruits a second victim for Cleopatra’s scheme. As happens with pyramid schemes, Cleopatra soon pays them back their “investment” – with a little extra. At the sight of free money for no work, Zodwa and Sbonga leap at the chance of reinvestment. But if they could only lay their hands on more cash, they’d be able to invest even more and get bigger payouts. And so it begins.

By the end of September, greedy Cleopatra will have her victims’ finances in a mess, and she’ll be ready to shake the dust off her feet. But is stealing from this close to Mam’Sonto’s table really the best idea? For every Cleopatra who thinks she’s a queen, there’s a serpent lurking with her fangs out.

PS: since she’s joining the story on a Monday, Nonhle has given Khaya a #mcm shout out on her Insta. Aww.

Watch Gomora on weekdays on Mzansi Magic (161) at 19:30 or on Catch Up. Binge Gomora on Showmax, with episodes straight after they air on DStv.

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