Deborah is losing her grip in Thabazimbi. Maki isn’t selling as much contraband as she believes she will be punished by God. Has Masabata’s influence has extended that far?

Lockdown S4 serves up more prison smackdowns

It’s a constant battle for survival at the Thabazimbi Women’s Correctional Facility and only one law prevails here — do whatever you need to survive. These ladies have taken that mantra to heart and for them, it’s all about self-preservation. They’re tough, they’re ruthless, and they know how to wield their power. But who would you bet on in a fight?

Megan: Tyson the Terrible

With the odds stacked against her from childhood, Tyson (Lorcia Cooper) was bound to end up either in prison or the grave. She’s a classic case of the oppressed becoming the oppressor and takes it upon herself to “initiate” new inmates by raping them.

Tyson’s power lies in numbers. As the leader of the fearsome gang of inmates, her reign of terror was legendary, even among the guards. The wardens let her be because she had the dirt on every one of them and knew all about their corrupt deeds. Hers was a position of advantage that all the inmates yearned for, and she built an empire on a robust trade in illegal cigarettes and contraband. She ruled with fear and an iron fist, commanding a blind loyalty from her followers that made her invincible and untouchable … almost.

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Tyson’s house of cards came tumbling down, however, when she herself was drugged and raped, by a man! Then came a baby in a not so golden carriage, and the last title Tyson wanted was “Mommy”. She gave up the child that would forever remind her of her attacker and, because she’s mastered the art of manipulation, she’s now back as the ringleader of Thabazimbi’s free enterprise and smuggling trade.

Mazet: the shapeshifter

Mazet’s daughter was supposed to break the family curse of ending up in the streets. She had made sure of it. Even from behind bars, Mazet (Dawn Thandeka King) used the profits from her illegal dealings to send money home for Nomsa’s education. All to make sure her daughter wouldn’t follow in her footsteps. But alas, Mazet’s efforts crumbled to dust with Nomsa’s arrest for scamming. With her daughter in Thabazimbi, Mazet’s Achilles heel was open for all to exploit. After she sustained bullet wounds during the riot, it was all but over for Mazet.

But Mazet’s superpower is adapting. Left seemingly brain dead and a quadriplegic, with only a few loyal allies in her corner, she adapted to her environment by convincing everyone that she’s an invalid. No one takes notice of the handicapped, right?

Deborah: the wolf in sheep’s clothing

It just wouldn’t be fitting for the most corrupt state organ to be led by a moral individual, and Thabazimbi’s leaders have not failed in that regard. The latest governor, Deborah Banda (Pamela Nomvete), would be the most powerful force in the prison if she didn’t have a soft spot for younger males … much, much younger males. Battling the demons of her past and unable to keep her lust under control (she did have a midnight rendezvous with a young male inmate in her office after all), her weaknesses have been exploited by Tyson, among others. But that doesn’t change the fact that she’s still the one in charge and on the right side of the bars … for now.

Deborah’s power is the power of the law. As overseer of all the chaos, the final word ultimately rests with her. Long live the governor of Thabazimbi.

Down to the wire

If these three had to battle it out, our money would be on Mazet. Mazet takes deception to the next level with this Safta-winning performance, even to her closest friends and family. Fooling everyone into thinking you’re dead, coming back from the dead as a cripple with no mental faculties and fooling everyone around you? That takes some serious cunning. Which makes us wonder, what else is she capable of?

But before you place your bets … season four has a stealth contender – blind cult-leader and mass murderer Masabatha (Nthati Moshesh) is the most conniving one of all. Could she be the curveball that no-one sees coming?

Watch Lockdown S4 on Mondays on Mzansi Magic (161) at 20:00; episodes are express on Showmax at the same time.

Also available on Catch Up and DStv Now »