25 July 2019
Palesa’s coming on strong in Isithembiso
Mzansi Magic telenovela Isithembiso (2018-current, you can binge it from episode 1 on Showmax here) is already in its third season but what a season it has been so far for teenager Palesa (Nolo Seabi). She’s only just discovered that her crimelord father Banzi (Hamilton Dlamini) hid her biological mother from her since birth and has been lying to her for her entire life. “Palesa thought that her mom passed away in a car crash when she was a baby,” explains Nolo. But that was just another of Banzi’s fibs to keep his daughter from asking too many questions and discovering the truth. “It was the easy way out for him,” adds the actress.
Banzi didn’t want to admit that things weren’t working out between him and his first love Lihle (Winnie Ntshaba) after they had Palesa, so he took their baby and fled. Just like that, he vanished into thin air and never contacted Lihle again, hoping that she would move on and never be heard from.
But guess what? Like all ghosts from the past, they have a way of returning when you least expect it. For Banzi, that was March this year when Lihle arrived on his doorstep demanding to see her daughter. Initially, Lihle watches Palesa from the shadows, then she befriends the youngster posing as a worker in the apartment block that Palesa lives in.
But when Lihle reveals her true identity, it’s a shock to the system for Palesa. “She is upset. She is furious. A part of her thinks that Lihle is another liar like Banzi and they are trying to mess with her head,” says Nolo. The youngster isn’t new to being treated like a baby and being lied to and being walked all over.
Palesa was devastated and disgusted with her father when she discovered that Banzi raped her best friend Simi (Nandi Mbatha) in March last year. And she was dumbstruck when she discovered that not only did Simi not report the assault, she actually started dating Banzi as his sidepiece behind his wife Claudia’s (Chichi Letswalo) back. “Palesa was beyond betrayed,” says Nolo.
With no parents or bestie to turn to, you’d think that Palesa could at least cry on her boyfriend’s shoulder. But no chance of that – she’s still avoiding Bhambatha (Lemogang Tsipa) after walking in on him in July last year kissing her stepmom Claudia. It’s like an episode of Jerry Springer: my dad is date-raping my friend, my dead mom is my housekeeper and my boyfriend is sleeping with my stepmom.
Playing with fire
Instead of staying at home, Palesa has turned her back and left to find herself. But that hasn’t gone according to plan either. While working as a hostess at a nightclub, she met businessman and social media influencer Lucky (Anga Makubalo) who charmed her. We all know the old saying about how if something’s too good to be true, it’s probably a lie . In March this year, “good guy” Lucky invited Palesa to his apartment with plans to spike her drink and rape her. Thankfully her instincts kicked in and something in Palesa’s head told her to leave.
“After their fling, she found out that Lucky isn’t one of the good guys and that he has sexually assaulted countless women but the police weren’t doing anything about it,” says Nolo, whose strong-willed character takes on Lucky in the most public way – she exposes his dirty tricks on live radio. “Palesa has a lot on her plate. She is trying to distract herself from her family issues by advocating women’s rights. She discovered herself from all the hardships that life keeps throwing in her path,” adds Nolo.