Film Review: Actress Jessy Dingase Phiri’s Death Makes Sixth Zuba Exit

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It’s yet another setback back for Zuba to permanently lose a character whose slot has been conspicuously vacant for some time now. The death, in real life, of Jessy Dingase Phiri who acted as Emelia, a maid in the Sosala family, is a big blow, not only to the viewers, but also to the casting department. This is the sixth exit of actors from the production since its inception.

First, in the story, Sosala, Yemba, and Suwi disappeared at the outset of season two. Sosala abandoned the family, Yemba died in prison but Suwi returned. Then Pingiwe and Thando vanished. It turned out that they were kidnapped and later rescued. Viewers can’t be duped; the actors ditched the cast. Okay, let’s go by the script that Pingiwe and Thando were kidnapped and later returned. Hey, I hope you can draw a distinction between characters and actors. The actor of Thando, Luam Elkana, bed farewell to the cast till the cows return home. He was replaced by Sam Sakala, a.k.a. Dope G.

Now, unlike the five who left heart in hand, Phiri has been taken by natural cause. We don’t know what will happen to Emelia. The question is, will she vanish just like that or will there be an explanation or a replacement? Let’s wait and see.

The story is now getting more exciting as the actors also keep refining their roles. For example, Lute (Barbra Maramwidze) is no longer that irritating chatterbox. She now knows when to talk, when to listen, and how to respond to stimulus. She still has room for further improvement, though.

Sakala, has also inherited Luam’s role the best we can expect of a fill-in. But wait a minute! Thando is a twin and during the rescue from the kidnappers he is swapped with Vincent, his double, in a racket that Dr. Jaden (Kangwa Chileshe) is, apparently, the mastermind. But, save for very minor blunders that couldn’t even sell him out, Vincent seems to be very well-informed about every bit of the Sosala house and business; more or less like Thando. Even Zuba can’t tell it’s not her husband! I can’t swallow that! Just that earlier we didn’t know he was an undercover Thando, otherwise we could have found ground to disput his familiarity with the Sosalas’ way of life. Never mind that, it’s for critics.

MPALI

Mpali is back. We were earlier told to brace ourselves for season three. Aren’t we guys?

The season starts with Nguzu admitted in a hospital after being bewitched. Baba Mukulu (Philip Ngoma), driven by compassion from within, and acting on his own accord, breaks the spell that has kept the polygamist crippled. The big man feels much better and, upon discharge, is taken home by an ex side chick. None of his seven wives is present when he is discharged.

During these hard times, Nguzu has opportunities to fathom the depth of his wives’ passion for him. He has the answer and we shall see how he will react when he gets back on his feet, which we are all sure he will in the near future. Had it not been for Cephas, his maimed teenage son, he would have suffered a lot in his own homestead.

Talking about the Nguzu women, my mind goes straight to Junza, the Mai guru (Wanga Zulu). I want to talk about dress and grooming. Since her failed underhand seizure of the farm, she has changed her outlook from top to toe. But… honestly the ‘chief-mourner’ kind of dressing, as Nguzu puts it, shaped her better than her new outfit. Nguzu also; how can he liken his wife to a chief mourner just because she puts on long dresses!? Anyway, that’s how they roll. Okay, I was on Junza and dressing. The thing is: designers of short skirts didn’t have her body type in mind. I would advise her to revert to ankle-length gowns. But she should maintain the hair styling.

Let me conclude by commending Shupiwe (Cindy Monde Daka) for being the only one at the farm to be aware of the COVID-19 pandemic. Probably because she runs a private pub somewhere outside the plantation, she is up to date on current affairs. Before anybody else understands it, she is keeping social distance and educating others about it. We may see face masks at the farm pretty soon. This tells me that Mpali season three was shot somewhere between December 2019 and May 2020.

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