Mnakwethu host Musa Mseleku admits that the debut episode didn’t turn out the way he had expected. Picture: Supplied
Mnakwethu host Musa Mseleku admits that the debut episode didn’t turn out the way he had expected. Picture: Supplied

The Mseleku household returns with a bang on Uthando Nes’thembu

By Amanda Maliba Time of article published Sep 20, 2021

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The Mselekus have made their much anticipated return as Uthando Nes’thembu season five's first episodes aired on Mzansi Magic last Thursday.

This comeback follows a dramatic episode of Mseleku’s spinoff show Mnakwethu, a show that helps men ask their wives for permission to take a second wife, that trended on Twitter for 48 hours after airing.

Mnakwethu host Musa Mseleku admits that the debut episode didn’t turn out the way he had expected. Picture: Supplied

Not only did that episode let down the viewers but Musa Mseleku expressed equal disappointment, saying the suitor (Langa) displayed utter disrespect to the institution of polygamy.

“I was shocked, taken aback myself and I thought I should not have been a part of that episode in the sense that I felt disrespected,” said Mseleku.

“Normally when I am approached to go negotiate/mediate, I always say that we are the beggars, we have no right to impose ourselves or undermine the next person, but respect the position they hold, regardless of their social status. But in this case, I was even instructed to go and ‘tell her’.

“I would have understood if it was said in the context of culture, where we would be asking (due to how far the situation had gone with lobola negotiations already being completed) but would have to inform the first wife. But in this case, it was out of disrespect.

“The other part is that I saw a man who has lost his manhood and that is the sad part. Remember I represent men, as someone who advocates for polygamy, and I would do anything to see men live their dreams. But in this case, my pants were pulled down. I had no energy and if it was not for the interest of South Africans to know what some women and men go through, I would have refused to tell this story,” he said.

South Africans have since rallied behind the first wife, MaShelembe, organising financial contributions, among many other things, and will soon be hosting a ‘provincial baby shower’ next week Sunday at the Botanical Gardens, which Mseleku said he would attend, if invited.

“I am humbled by the people of Mzansi. For the first time, I also got rave reviews, that I was able to do something socially acceptable. Because South Africans have been exposed to this woman’s pain and want to help and uplift her to be independent, that has been the good to come out of that episode.

"A life changing experience for MaShelembe and that also tells us (as men) that we can no longer subject women to humiliation of such nature because they are dependent on us. But women should be in this because it’s their choice and not because they have no choice,” he said.

Speaking about his own polygamous marriage, he said, the show idea was not quickly received by his wives, and in fact, it took 3 years from 2013 to get their buy-in because they did not like the idea of their lives displayed for the world to consume.

“Having people so involved in my life has not been easy at all and it is still not easy and I think it will ever be. The only thing that has saved us is that we have been true to ourselves from the get-go,” saying though the reception has been varying with favourites, but the family has since decided to ignore social media comments.

Mseleku feels that five seasons later he has achieved his initial aim of the show, to correct and reposition the culture of polygamy, “put it where it belongs and take away the taboo around it”.

“We wanted to tell the correct narrative about is’thembu while sparking debate and becoming the source of reference as something that is real and not fiction. As a family, we have successfully achieved that because people are talking about us.

“Beyond that, we have been able to influence television. Since the inception of the show, all our stories told have been able to correct a lot of misconceptions around polygamy and has moved from being this bad ugly thing. Is’thembu is African and it is us, so this interesting story has landed in a lot of viewer’s hearts and therefore resonates with them,” said the husband to four wives.

This season, Mseleku promises more raw realities that this institution dishes out, coupled with more glamour.

“The wives have grown and have gained a lot of independence, with strong opinions. It is not easy at all, they wouldn’t let me get away with anything and most men will realise that this is not an easy thing to fulfil but takes a lot of courage. This season will definitely display a lot of growth for all of us,” he said.

@AmandaMaliba

Sunday Independent

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