Taxi driver Bhekizwe Khumalo (Thulani Mtsweni) turns his house into a warzone when he reveals to his stay-at-home wife Hlengiwe (Thandeka Nodada) that he’s taking another wife, Nthabiseng (Eve Rasemeni), in new local comedy Hhayi Bo Mnakwethu. It would be much easier for Hlengiwe to process the news if she is given more time to wrap her head around the fact that Bheki has been cheating on her with Nthabiseng for simply ages. Alas, Bheki adds fuel to the fire when he also admits that he has a secret son with Nthabiseng. It’s a low blow, considering that Hlengiwe has been struggling to conceive for years.
As the series begins, Hlengiwe decides to stay in her marriage to honour her vows. She’s enraged and resentful towards Bheki for his deceit, and she takes out all her frustrations on Nthabiseng, causing friction in the house. Bheki will have to forge peace between the women before they can both leave him. “The funny part is that Bheki never wanted two wives,” says Thulani. “His meddling mother, MaMkhize (Maria Selepe), proposed the idea after she learnt that he has a son outside of his marriage. For Bheki, being a polygamist is a matter of circumstance, not a choice,” he adds. And to make matters worse, Bheki’s mom is living with them. Three women. One man in the middle, and lots of bickering… with Bheki’s son also in the picture.
Bheki has his work cut out if he is going to keep his wives from pulling each other’s hair out. Meet the not-so-happy family as given a rare moment’s peace to speak, Thulani introduces the members of his TV household...
The man of the house
While the wives are expected to cook three meals a day, clean the house and raise the kids, Bheki is expected to bring in the little money he makes from his worn-out taxi. The wives aren’t allowed to call him by his first name or any endearing nicknames like “honey”. They call him “Baba” as a sign of respect – and his meddling mom makes certain of that. “Polygamy is not for the faint-hearted. It’s double or nothing, including the happy moments and the fights. If one wife is unhappy, best believe the other wife will follow suit. Bheki is forced to learn effective ways to communicate to both women if he wants a successful marriage,” reveals Thulani.
The furious first wife
Hlengiwe was raised to take care of her husband and be a submissive wife. All her dreams, like traveling the world, went out the window the day she got married. She doesn’t have much of a say in the household, so she is shocked when Nthabiseng walks in with her modern approach, and challenges Bheki and MaMkhize at every turn. In hindsight, Nthabiseng’s arrival makes Hlengiwe realise that she too can have a voice in her marriage.
Nthabiseng was tempted into polygamy after watching local businessman-turned-reality-star Musa Mseleku’s lavish lifestyle with his four wives on his reality show Uthando Nes’thembu. She thought that like the Mseleku wives, she’d move into an extravagant mansion, drive a fancy car and dress in designer gowns. But what she gets is the opposite. “She soon finds out that traditional polygamy is nothing like on TV,” says Thulani. “Nthabiseng is a city girl, and she’s way too modern to stay and home and walk barefoot in the kitchen. She misses the vibrant city life,” he adds.
The brains behind Bheki’s polygamous marriage is none other than his mom, MaMkhize. She ensures that there’s order in the house, and that the wives work their fingers to the bone. She keeps them on their feet the entire day and never forgets to give them a task. MaMkhize is on a mission to get Nthabiseng in line, and she also demands that Hlengiwe bears her next grandson before Nthabiseng conceives another child. To an extent, MaMkhize is responsible for increasingly turning the wives against each other. MaMkhize isn’t aware that she’s causing all the commotion as she believes that her meddling is for Bheki’s own good – she just wants the best for her son.
Hhayi Bo Mnakwethu starts Saturday, 6 June on Moja Love (DStv 157) at 20:30
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