Widows Unveiled: Mpho and Lerato’s friendship

16 February 2024

Widows Unveiled: Mpho and Lerato’s friendship

Mpho Tshabalala and Lerato Sengadi have formed a beautiful friendship on their journey as stars of the latest Showmax Original reality show, Widows Unveiled. The ladies lost their husbands, award-winning South African musicians Mduduzi “Mandoza” Tshabalala and Jabulani “HHP” Tsambo, a few years apart.

The 10-part reality series follows the lives of five women who were married to public figures and prominent businessmen. The series documents the journey of each woman from pain to triumph as they navigate the drama and scandal that followed the deaths of their husbands.

Watch the trailer for Widows Unveiled

Widowhood is a like a plague

“I decided to do this because I realised that widowhood is treated like a plague,” says Lerato. “No one ever wants to talk about it, but it’s a day-to-day reality for millions of people.” She added that Black widows “generally have it a bit harder.” She explains, “It’s not the first time; it’s generational. It’s unfortunate that Black families make it difficult, especially for women, to get it together. Because you’re at your most broken, they feel like they can attack you.”

She adds that other widows are not alone. “There’s so many of us who understand.”

A big yes and support

While Lerato and HHP didn’t have children together, Mpho and Mandoza started a family. So when he passed away, she had to step up as a single parent.

Referring to them as her “three big supporters”, Mpho explained that she’s journeyed with them since the passing of her husband. “When I lost my husband, when he was still lying there in hospital, I said to everyone, ‘Get me to my kids as soon as you can because I have to break the news to my kids before the media.’ I’ve been open with everything that I do with my kids.”

When she told them about Widows Unveiled, they asked some questions and showed their support. “They’ve given me their yes and support. It wasn’t difficult.”

Mpho feels that this show will give people the chance to see her many other sides. “That’s where I get to show that I’m not just a widow and a mother; I’m also an aunt, I’m the big sister, I’m a daughter.”

Showing the real me

Viewers will also get to see Mpho being a friend to Lerato. “I call her ‘auntie hip hop’ whether she likes it or not,” says Mpho. “Jabba passed on after Mduduzi (Mandoza). When all of that was happening to Lerato, you know when you see someone from afar, I’ve always wanted to give her that hug and just say it’s gonna be okay… Time heals.”

Mpho describes Lerato as “a bubbly person” who “just loves life and happiness.” But she also has a vulnerable side, having openly shared parts of her grieving process with her social media audience. Lerato has some emotional moments in the series, including visiting HHP’s grave. “I’d never been there since the day he was buried; I’d never seen his stone,” she says. “It was the first time in five years that I’d gone.” Does she have concerns about letting the world into her life as a widow through reality TV?

“I’ve already been judged,” says Lerato. “I’ve already been seen at my most vulnerable, rock bottom. So this is nothing to me. It’s just real. That’s what reality TV is about: showing the real me. That’s all I can do. I can’t be anyone but me.”

Widows Unveiled is now streaming on Showmax.

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