The first rule of the entertainment industry is “give the people what they want”, and the people – Gomora Mzansi viewers – wanted Phumlani gone. The Gomora writers listened.
Why Phumlani had to die
The character Phumlani Ndaba (real name Buyile Mdladla) was introduced to the Seriti Films production, Gomora, in November 2011. To everyone, Phumlani was a rich, charming and generous businessman who donated R150,000 towards the purchase of computers for Gomora Secondary. But Phumlani’s generosity was inspired by an ulterior motive; to improve the school where his niece, Buhle Ndaba (real name Ama Qamata) was doing grade 10. If anyone was suspicious of Phumlani Ndaba, it was Gomora Secondary Principal, Melusi Dlamini (real name Zolisa Xaluva). To him, R150,000 seemed way too generous a donation for a man who was not even a parent to any of the learners.
Phumlani was obsessed with working out and for the entirety of his stay in Gomora, we gained insight into his life through phone conversations he had with his unnamed business associate and friend. Lifting weights is all he ever did in his sleek townhouse, the same place where Melusi and Thathi had lived until uTeacher womkhulu went back to his wife Gladys Dlamini (real name Thembi Seete). Melusi’s former house is not all that Phumlani coveted. In one of his many phone conversations with the mysterious friend, we learnt of Phumlani’s number one mission, his “unfinished business”. It was to make Thathi Ndaba his wife.
Thathi at first was stunned by his intentions when he told her. To her, a Sotho woman, it was ridiculous that Phumlani wanted to marry his late brother’s wife. Phumlani replied with “I am Zulu” which I suppose explains everything. In Zulu culture, marrying your brother’s wife, ukungena, is pretty normal. Phumlani’s determination to make Thathi his wife was so strong that he would stop at nothing to put a ring on it. Even murder.
Just Thathi was warming up to Phumlani, he saw competition in Gomora’s resident hospital doctor even though the healer was merely being sociable. Phumlani didn’t see it that way, he had the good doctor beaten up and shot. Mercifully he survived. While speaking to Bongani Shisanyama (real name Thulani Mtshwene) Phumlani found out about Melusi and Thathi’s romantic past. He became extremely jealous, even though Melusi had put Onthathile behind him. But does anyone ever get over their first love?
Fast forward to February 2022 and Phumlani finally got his wish. He paid lobola for Thathi. In a bag! But he never felt secure about Melusi’s presence. And Melusi didn’t do much to allay his ex-girlfriend’s husband’s fears. He always seemed to be in their lives. When Melusi kissed Thathi that was what pushed Phumlani over the edge. He became violent with his wife. After that one slap, Thathi ran back home to the house where she had grown up. But she did not share this with her mother, the woman who had accepted a bag filled with cash in exchange for her hand in marriage.
Thathi must have thought Phumlani’s violent streak was only triggered by the Melusi threat but she did not know that her husband was behind the harassment of Gomora Secondary school girls on the streets of Alex. Phumlani paid neighbourhood thugs, Sdumo and Brains to harass school girls. It was part of his plan to make himself look like a hero and to “keep Mam Sonto busy” whatever that means. As the cases of street harassment increased, Mam Sonto, the godmother of Gomora, began to look for the person behind the attacks on the girls as she and Mazet (real name Siphesihle Ndaba) suspected that there was a higher power above the street thugs, Sdumo and Brains. It was Stompie, a former carjacking associate of Sdumo and Brains, who was first to find out the identity of their mysterious boss. Stompie tortured Brains into a confession but he never got to tell Mam Sonto that her charming son-in-law Phumlani was behind all the attacks on girls on the streets of Gomora. To keep Stompie quiet, Phumlani had his girlfriend, Sibongile Buthelezi kidnapped. Since it was merely a warning to Stompie, Sbosh was quickly released.
It wasn’t just Stompie who knew the truth about Phumlani. Niece, Buhle overheard her uncle cum stepdad on the phone discussing murder (to silence Brains and Sdumo) with his mysterious business associate. After confronting Phumlani, Buhle ran away, Ama Qamata has been missing from Gomora for a month now, perhaps she is out there filming the third season of the much-loved Showmax drama, Blood & Water.
Trouble in paradise
There was trouble in paradise. You wouldn’t be wrong to assume that paradise was Phumlani and Thathi’s marriage. You also wouldn’t be incorrect to assume that Paradise was the Dlamini double storey house, which stands smugly in the midst of dilapidated Alex Township homes, all with rusted steel roofs, held down by boulders and old car tyres. Trouble was brewing in both marriages. Melusi, walking home, came upon Thathi, seated crying in her car, a Suzuki, because they are co-sponsors of Gomora. When he asked her why she was crying, she drove off. Melusi gatecrashed The Ndaba family dinner, demanding to know what Phumlani had done to upset Onthathile. When news of Melusi’s meddling in Thathi’s marriage reached Gladys’ insecure ears, she served her husband with divorce papers. Melusi moved out of the Dlamini double storey, validating helper, Zodwa’s theory: “people who are rich have double storey houses and even their problems are double-double”.
Released from his marriage, Melusi felt he was “free” to pursue Thathi. But she blocked his calls. Which only made him pursue harder. He went over to her marital home. And kissed her to prove to himself, and to her, that she still had feelings for him. Gugu Ndaba, the hitherto secret love child of Mbongeni, raised by Phumlani as his own, walked in on the kiss. She was going to keep Thathi’s secret from Phumlani. But he overheard Gugu telling her friend Sizwe about the kiss. Phumlani lost it! While Gugu was behind the closed door of her soundproofed bedroom, Phumplani grabbed Thathi by the neck. When the security guard heard Thathi screaming, he rushed to investigate. Thathi spotted a window of opportunity. She shot out the door and drove out of the fancy gated complex where rich people’s problems are double-double. Phumlani pursued her in his Benz and cut her off some kilometres down the road. In the most ridiculous scene on television, Thathi sat there while Phumlani got out of his car and dragged her out of hers, rather than simply driving away. Phumlani knocked her unconscious and bundled her into his car boot. Back at his double storey townhouse, where rich people’s problems are double-double, Phumlani paid the guard hush money. He was not to tell anyone about the fight between Thathi and her husband, he was also to make sure that no visitors would be allowed in.
Phumlani meets his end
Thathi loses husband #2 to abantu bakaDlamini. That time Melusi was helping her… Issa mess fam! 🙈 #Gomora
— Mzansi Magic (@Mzansimagic) April 22, 2022
After holding Thathi hostage, Phumlani reached boiling point. She not only told him that he was never going to be half the man that Mbongeni was but she also told him she did not love him. Phumlani pulled out a steak knife, reminding Thathi of their marriage vow, “till death do us part.” It was time for this to come true. He held her by the neck and was on the brink of killing Thathi when Melusi burst in. At the boomed entrance to the fancy complex, where rich people have double problems, the guard lay unconscious after Melusi had knocked him out with one punch. Melusi delivered another punch, saving Thathi from certain death. The two men began to fight, Melusi with just his bare hands and Phumlani with a knife. They wrestled for the knife until Melusi stabbed his opponent with his own blade.
Thathi wanted to disappear the body, as she had done with Mohato’s corpse. But Melusi, the Nelson Mandela of Gomora, rang the police and turned himself in bringing season two of Gomora to a pulsating conclusion.
My pen is capped
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Gomora airs weekdays at 7:30pm on Mzansi Magic,DSTV