Just when you are ready to move on, the people who held you back return to your life — enter Mam Zodwa.
Teddy is the son of an alcoholic woman, his paternity is a mystery, even to his mother Zodwa, on account of her lifestyle. As a result of his mother being constantly drunk, Teddy is teased by other kids and struggles in school. But after months of living with the Dlaminis — school principal Melusi and his social worker wife Gladys — and tutoring by Langa Ndaba, Teddy Bear has finally turned a corner. He got 81% in his test. A few weeks ago, he might have struggled to get 18%.
Zodwa spoils the party
To celebrate Teddy’s good work, the Dlaminis went out for a picnic, which is the only permissible outing, during these covid times. The boys played diski in the park while Melusi and Gladys sprawled on the picnic mat.
As the Dlamini household celebrated Teddy’s achievement, Zodwa returned, demanding to take her son home. A wrangle ensued between Gladys and Zodwa, with the latter hurling accusations of “trying to steal her son.” Gladys, of course, reminded her that a month in rehabilitation does not mean she is now fully in control of her life.
Teddy gave his mother the benefit of the doubt but arrived at her shack to find the dinner table covered in beer bottles and her drinking buddies half unconscious on the sofa. Zodwa was the only one in the room who would have walked a straight line and passed a breathalyser test; she hadn’t drunk a single drop. But Teddy did not wait to hear her explanation.
Deliver us into temptation
After coming clean about her addiction during the interview, Zodwa then went on to get a job waiting tables, serving food and lots of alcohol at Mnandi Shisanyama. Talk about hiring a lion to babysit a zebra! Both Zodwa and her new boss are quite brave to make this decision. There were moments where she badly wanted to take a sip in-between serving customers. But she resisted the urge, not today Satan!
There were some of course who saw Zodwa’s self rebuild as opportunity to mock Teddy. A couple of schoolmates who saw her serving drinks at the shisanyama jumped to the conclusion that she was back to her old ways.
There is a saying in drug and alcohol rehabilitation; there is no such thing as a former addict, you remain a recovering alcoholic for life. Temptation remains with you until you die. Teddy saw firsthand his mother’s recovery when he spied on her at work. But, there is no such thing as a former addict, right?
Alone at home, Zodwa badly needed a drink. She tried to unscrew the bottle top but, again, not today Satan. Even though she bit her lower lip with effort, she still couldn’t open the bottle. She put the bottle aside.
Even though God – alcohol and maybe the booze-hating Commissioner Bheki Cele – had prevented her from taking her first sip in a month, Teddy found Zodwa face to face with the unopened bottle. Her guardian angel – or Cele – might have prevented her from taking that first sip in over a month. Teddy of course is not as forgiving as an angel.
My mother my enemy
It is not just Teddy who is struggling to forgive his mother.
Thathi, having discovered her mother’s criminal behaviour, took it upon herself to investigate Sonto. Once Thathi put two and two together, she rushed to the police station where she told Detective Kolisi about her suspicions. But Kolisi dismissed the hunch as just the ravings of a grieving widow. This did not discourage Thathi. She did however distance herself from her mother. She snubbed all her mother’s attentions, prevented Sonto from bonding with her grandchildren and hid behind her work at the tavern. Mam Sonto and the permanently bitter younger sister Pretty were impressed with Thathi’s sudden love for getting her hands dirty. Neither of them saw what would come next.
Thathi plays detective
After secretly going through Sonto’s cellphone call history, she found two outgoing phone-calls made just before and soon after the carjacking in which Mbongeni was killed. Armed with this information, she went back to the police station. Jomo’s personal effects are still in the police evidence ring. It did not take long for Detective Kolisi to make the connection between Sonto’s phone number to that of Jomo. [Insert Jomo’s evil laugh]
Out of fear of hurting her children, Thathi asked one thing of Detective Kolisi:
“Don’t arrest her in front of my children, it would tear them apart.”
Fast forward to Sonto’s Inn and the Gomora crime queen was escorted out her tavern in hand cuffs. Pretty who, despite working for years for her mother, never saw what Sonto has been up to, was angry with Thathi. Kwaaaapaa! Pretty slapped Thathi in anger, the second slap from Pretty and the third in total which the Sandton girl has received since returning home broke and husbandless. Gomora has been hell for her.
I was disappointed that the scriptwriters have chosen to portray Thathi as defenceless. I mean, she is still an Alex girl, even though she spent the last two decades in Sandton. Surely she could have hit back. After all, she was surrounded by a tavern full of empty beer bottles.
Gomora has rapidly become a fixture on the evening schedule of many viewers. The plot is riveting and proceeds at a quick pace, even though the lock-down disrupted production. The cast is well chosen, with a blend of newcomers and experience. And did I mention the music? I almost want to break the handshake rule and bump fists with film score composer, Zethu Mashika. If there is one oversight I spotted last week it was the bunch of spinach on Zodwa’s table – still green as the day she bought it from the market – even though she had been in rehab for a month. Perhaps the only thing that proves that even Gomora isn’t perfect.
Till next week, my pen is capped
Image from Twitter
Gomora airs weekdays at 7:30 pm on Mzansi Magic