Who’s getting all the love on Isibaya?

Isibaya fans can’t stop talking about all the drama in the Tugela Valley, but is it the brilliant actors or their larger-than-life characters that we’re really crazy about? 

We pit some of the Isibaya cast against their characters to find who’s getting all the love, and why.

S’dumo Mtshali vs S’bu


Did S’dumo not win a SAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor in a TV Drama this year? Oh yes, he did, and last year, S’dumo was nominated for his roles on both Mzansi Magic’s Is’thunzi and Saints and Sinners. Which is not surprising, because although S’dumo is known for playing tough guys, he’s brilliant at capturing their vulnerable side too.


That’s probably why we just love to hate the guy who got his girlfriend pregnant while his wife was struggling to conceive.

And the love goes to: Oh yes, we do love to hate S’bu!

Nomzamo Mbatha vs Thandeka


After completing her degree in Accounting at UCT (long after she became famous for her role as Thandeka), this talented young woman just keeps making all the right moves. She’s a United Nations Goodwill ambassador and makes sure that her star shines brightly in the entertainment sphere. The girl just shimmers wherever she goes. No wonder The Sunday Times recently named her the Best Dressed attendee at the BET awards.


Thandeka was the Juliet of the hood, the girl everyone loved. She just seemed to do everything right. We used to envy her near-perfection, but these days we feel more pity than envy for her, thanks to her marital woes.

And the love goes to: Vivacious Nomzamo knows her worth and would never let herself be treated as anything less than gold.

Celeste Ntuli vs Mamthembu


Who doesn’t love a lovely comedienne with the guts to tell it like it is? Celeste Ntuli brings all her brassy chutzpah to her comedy show Celeste Ntuli – Home Affairs on Showmax, and she’s got acting chops too.


A certain amount of respect is due here, people. Mamthembu is the only wife we know who doesn’t mind her husband having side chicks. Clearly, she has better things to stress about. As Celeste says in her live show, “I ask practical questions – does he walk?”

And the love goes to: There is only one Celeste, and we love her for it.

Siyabonga Thwala vs Mpiyakhe


With two Golden Horns to his name, Siyabonga is one of the biggest stars in Isibaya’s exceptionally talented cast. The stage actor-turned-soap-star got to show off yet another of his talents on Yobe when he stepped up as the presenter of Mzansi’s prison reality show.


When the show cut Mpiyakhe in 2013, fans threw such a strop that the writers were forced to bring him back. That’s some love! While our feelings for Mpiyakhe may have, shall we say … evolved since then, you have to admit he makes polygamy seem almost classy.

And the love goes to: It’s a tie. Both the character and the actor have a gift for making it look easy.

Bongani Gumede vs Mandla


Sometimes an actor just owns a role, and you can’t imagine anyone else playing the character. That’s been the case with Bongani Gumede’s portrayal of Mandla. Mzanzi’s Oupa Dube and Ntuli from The Lab were iconic roles too, and it’s not hard to see a pattern of excellent performance here.


Every family needs a black sheep and Mandla is just that for the Ndlovu clan. They might sneer at his bad behaviour but Mandla is that family member who’s a degenerate drunk but also says what you were thinking and were just too polite to say out loud.

And the love goes to: Love him or hate him, Isibaya wouldn’t be Isibaya without Mandla.

Watch Isibaya on weekdays on Mzansi Magic (161) at 20:30 or binge-watch from the beginning on Showmax.