ISIBAYA – The Characters and Cast
The Zungu Clan
Taxi owners and operators from the East side of the valley.
Mpiyakhe Zungu (46) SIYABONGA TWALA
High profile taxi boss. Savvy political player and leader. He has a ‘road to damascus’ moment when his daughter is nearly killed in a taxi shootout. He realizes violence is not a viable alternative and envisions a new peace. As a young man Mpiyakhe was a consummate stick fighter and very popular with women.
Mkabayi Zungu (50) THEMBI NYANDENI
Mpiyakhe’s sister. Pugnacious, abrasive, tough talking matriarch of the family in KwaZulu-Natal. Is forced into a more high-profile public and political involvement with the taxi business. Still mourns a lost love and struggles to show her softer side. She learns to lead and find time to listen to the people around her.
Iris Zungu (35) MAMPHO BRESCIA
Mercantile, calculating and manipulative ‘city wife’ of Mpiyakhe. Married for money, power and position. She is willing to do almost anything to retain and grow those things. Morally questionable and deeply flawed.
Thandeka Zungu (21) NOMZAMO MBATHA
Mpiyakhe’s daughter. Well educated, modern city girl. She has been protected by her fathers position and money and is an innocent. She must face an unrequited love and fight for what she believes in. She is filled with a passion for science and discovering the universe, but knows nothing about those living in it.
Jabulani (Jabu) Zungu (18 ) PALANCE DLADLA
Mpiyakhe’s son and Zodwa’s brother. Dissolute, angry young-man, wastrel with a chip on his shoulder and wanna be musician. He is popular with girls, his charm and good looks get him out of trouble.
Siphokasi Zungu (45) CELESTE NTULI
The oldest of Mpiyakhe’s wives, is a respected childless matriarch with an irreverent, slightly wicked, sense of humour and a secret smoking habit. Her astute but inexperienced business skills are put to the test when ‘the wives’ get a catering contract on the road construction project.
The Ndlovu Clan
Taxi owners and operators from the West side of the valley.
Samson Ndlovu (43 ) BHEKI MKHWANE
Strong, fierce and calculating taxi owner from the West valley and principle voice in that taxi association. His smooth and seemingly reconciliatory manner, hides a man who is at the very top of a dangerous and corrupt business and there is nothing he will not do to stay there. But he is also a proud father. He believes in principles and family honour. He is a complex villain.
Mandlenkosi (Mandla) Ndlovu (37)
Brutal, jealous and corrupt younger brother of Samson. He lives and dies by the sword and believes that his brother is wrong to imagine that the peace negotiations will change anything.
Sibusiso (S’bu) Ndlovu (23 ) Sdumo Mtshali
Samson’s youngest son, is as determined and stubborn as his father. A natural leader, with integrity. S’bu is charming, articulate and smart. Being groomed to take over the taxi business from his dad, he is willing to make whatever sacrifice is needed. But when he falls in love with Thandeka his world is turned upside down.
Shadrack (47 ) SAMSON KHUMALO
Father of Lerato. Insightful, world-weary, speaker of truth. A warrior who has lost the will to fight. Yard manager at the Zungu’s and close friend and confidante to Mpiyakhe, he too has a vision for peace and reconciliation in the Valley. Undeniably attracted to MKabayi .
Lerato (16) Florence Mokgatsi
Shadrack’s daughter. 16 year old, street smart and sassy. Dreams of a better life, glamour and love. Gives everyone a run for their money including her father who has sacrificed everything for her education. Fearless but wanting more from life.
Miriam Ramatlhodi (30 ) MATSHEPO MALEME
Everyone calls her ‘Mimi’. A young, high flying, fearless female detective with a troubled past, troublesome relationships and something to prove. Inspired by the memory of her dead father, a cop who was murdered when she was still a young girl, she is determined to uncover the mystery of the killings in the Valley.
Ntandane (23) MDU GUMEDE
A driver with big dreams. Wants to own his own taxi, be his own boss and make a life for himself with the girl he loves. But he has to pay lobola and so takes on other jobs to try to earn more money.
Tobias ‘Skhaleni’ (32 ) ZAKHELE MAPONDO
Skhaleni is every inch the abrasive taxi driver. Disrespectful of any authority except that of his immediate employer. Homophobic and sexist he is abusive in his treatment of passengers and other road users, arrogant and unthinking in his day to day dealings with his fellow drivers and the people around him. But he has a wicked sense of humour and fun.
Bhule (25) MBALI MBEBE
Maid working for the Zungu clan. She is the love of Ntandane’s life. She watches everything, sees everything and knows everyone’s business. Betrothed to marry a wealthy man who will help her poor struggling family, Ntandane must come up with a plan to find the lobola before it is too late.