Bonko Khoza, the actor who brought the character that fans of the Hlomu book series loved to hate to life, has taken the time out to hail the man who took the baton from him in order to run the race to bring the final season of The Wife to a close.
Much to the disappointment of fans, producers of The Wife confirmed that a new actor – Wiseman Mncube – would step into the role of Mqhele ahead of the third and final season of the show.
Since the show was first announced, it seemed as though the producers could not do anything right in the eyes of viewers who complained from the second the cast was first announced.
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The main criticism that Khoza’s casting as Mqhele received was that he was not the bug-eyed taxi driver they had imagined. The criticism was short-lived, however, as he quickly won audiences over despite playing out some very dark scenes on The WIfe.
The old Mqhele loves the new Mqhele
Though he has remained relatively silent about fans’ commentary until this point, Khoza finally saw it fit to say something now that audiences have seen Wiseman’s version of the role.
“I pray one day the audience and the creators can be on the same page because there’s a real disconnect between what happens behind the scenes and what the public sees. This character does not belong to me,” began the actor in a thread shared on his Twitter page.
“It belongs to Sis Dudu and Showmax. Meaning it can be played by whoever they see fit. As for me I did my fair share. And now It’s time to give other actors a chance on the same big platform that I got given a chance. Once we as an audience can tap into this idea of creativity and collaboration instead of being entitled to actor’s lives. You’ll enjoy the art of what we’re actually doing so much more I promise you. Much love,” he added.
Fans responded to the thread, with many reminding him that they mean well with what they have to say because they felt connected to him and as a result, it has been hard to let his version of the role go.
Speaking to The Citizen at the launch of the new season last week, Wiseman said he felt “a lot of pressure going into the role” because of what a good job he thought Bonko did in the role.
“I’m a fan of his work and he is a Safta-award-winning actor for Mqhele which says that he did beautiful, beautiful work…”
More than anything though, he said the pressure was more internal than external because he never wants to let fans down in any of the work he does.
“I did my best, I did what Wiseman could do and it’s done now.”
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He also spoke about the reception he received after being announced as the official replacement for the role which he says was overwhelmingly positive.
“I’m the kind of person who never wants to disappoint myself, I never want to rest on the fact that people like me. If I fail myself, I’m failing my people. If I please myself and I know that I knocked it out of the park, I know they’ll love it.”
‘Proud of you bro’
He also used the opportunity to shout out his on-screen brother, Kwenzo Ngcobo who takes over as this season’s leading man.
“Bro said he’s coming for everything,” tweeted Bonko along with a picture of Kwenzo Ngcobo who plays Qhawe.