Will Gomora producers survive Zolisa Xaluva fight?

Multi award winning Mzansi Magic telenovela, Gomora, is three weeks into its third season and so far fans of the show have not been impressed with the post Zolisa Xaluva era. The Eastern Cape born actor who plays leading man, Melusi “Marvelous” Dlamini, the Gomora Secondary school principal has been excluded from the season three cast. The versatile Zolisa Xaluva, who speaks numerous languages with equal fluency, rose to stardom when he played Jason Malinga, a bisexual advertising industry professional. Zolisa Xaluva’s Generations role pioneered the frank portrayal of same-sex relationships with the ground-breaking smooch he shared with Senzo Dlomo (real mame Thami Mngqolo). What seems like “just a kiss” nowadays caused uproar in the homophobic noughties with some viewers threatening mass boycott.

Zolisa Xaluva filmography

Apart from Generations, Zolisa Xaluva went on the play other film and television roles, each one better than the last. Listed on his growing acting résumé, Xaluva, who recently won a lifetime achievement award at the Special MEC Awards ceremony in East London, played criminal mastermind Diamond Mabuza (The Queen Mzansi), Lwazi Mboweni (Tsha Tsha, SABC), music manager to rapper HHP on Rhythm City, Khutso (uGugu noAndile, SABC), Bra X (Hustle, etv), Uncle Luvo (Igazi, Mzansi Magic), Mogomotsi Masire (Kings of Jo’burg), Prince Sello (The Throne, Mzansi Magic), Sydney Lwana (Zabalaza, Mzansi Magic). Equally adept on television and the silver screen, Zolisa Xaluva also acted in several movies which include Knuckle City, The Puzzle and Sew The Winter To My Skin.

Will Gomora survive without Principal Dlamini?

On Gomora, Zolisa Xaluva plays a no-nonsense school principal whose criminal past has made him both street smart and book educated. Unlike the garden variety suit-and-tie professional, Melusi Dlamini does not flinch from a street brawl as he proved with the hand-to-hand combat against Thathi’s abusive husband, Phumlani Ndaba (real name Buyile Mdladla) in the final episode on season two. Xaluva is linguistically gifted, with a firm command of IsiXhosa (his mother tongue), IsiZulu, SeTwana, SeSotho, Afrikaans, English and Pretoria’s township slang, SePitori. The most amazing attribute of Xaluva’s is how even his body language and overall manner alters with each language switch. Perhaps his greatest acting strength, which no drama school can teach, is his immense stage presence and charisma. With a height of over 6 foot 5, Zolisa Xaluva manages to generate the same level of magnetism as seasoned greats John Kani, Vusi Kunene, Treasure Tshabalala, Siyabonga Thwala and, dare I say, Laurence Fishburne of Matrix trilogy fame.

Standing several inches above the average male actor and blessed with a disarming smile, Xaluva, who turns 41 this June, has earned the right to be among the handful of South African film industry’s alpha males.

Although his role is not yet clear, Fezile Makhanya is set to “replace” Zolisa Xaluva as Gomora‘s leading man. Probably the busiest actor in Mzansi at the moment, Makhanya has recently been on Housekeepers, The River and now Gomora. Even though Makhanya is a gifted actor, he would have to endear himself to Gomora fans who had grown to love Principal Dlamini over the last two seasons. Another Mzansi Magic production, the now cancelled Isibaya, struggled to regain its old appeal without leading actors Nomzamo Mbatha and Siyabonga Thwala. if the death of Thandeka Zungu was merely something for viewers to get over, the departure of male lead, Mpiyakhe Zungu, was the final nail in the coffin.

Already, several fans have lambasted the Gomora story shift in direction; Mam Sonto no longer stealing cars, Thathi becoming her mother’s enemy, Melusi-Thathi’s off again, on again love affair, favourite supporting actor, Teddy’s departure from his original goal of becoming a football commentator. It remains to be seen whether Gomora can recover from losing Zolisa Xaluva who, like the viewers, was reportedly dissatisfied with the direction in which the show was headed.

Until next time, my pen is capped

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