Nestled between the Mfolozi and Mhlatuze Rivers, lay the northern nguni paramountcy amaThethwa ruled over by King Jobe kaKhayi. His father founded the Mthethwa Empire, passing it on to Jobe who became a skilled strategist and accomplished monarch. He was also known to be blunt and direct, not hesitating to speak his mind or act decisively when necessary.
When we start our story in Shaka iLembe, King Jobe is already a little advanced in years and, sadly, barely holding onto his mental faculties. We see this in his introduction, in episode 2, when his sons bring back gifts they’ve obtained through traders. One of these includes a chair, which King Jobe can’t see much use for.
He has several humorous moments and wisely observes that chairs enjoy breaking people’s backs (if you’re sitting reading this right now, you’ll probably find yourself slouching; and upon straightening your back, feel a few cracks and protestations from your aching muscles).
Sadly this is also when we discover that King Jobe’s mind is fading, as we watch him forget what his sons have just told him. A key scene, it not only introduces us to King Jobe, but establishes the dynamics between him and his sons. Later, as the Zulus arrive at Oyengweni, the Mthethwa palace, we see him grandly clad to greet his guests.
When the Zulus implore him for help in the coming war, he is impatient and dismissive, his forgetfulness making him irritable and irrational. It’s a complex web of emotions the actor needs to portray, slipping from fierceness to confusion to vulnerability as he wrestles with his memory and his pride. Said actor is the legendary Hamilton Dhlamini, whom fans will recognise from shows like Isithembiso and DiepCity, as well as movies like Five Fingers for Marseilles and Faith Like Potatoes.
With tensions rising and war looming between the Zulu and Ndwandwe, the extra hurdles King Jobe is setting in place will not make things any easier. Carry on watching Shaka iLembe to find out what impact King Jobe’s decisions may have and continue revelling in Dhlamini’s magnificent portrayal of this character.
Find us on social media: Facebook (Mzansi Magic), Twitter (@Mzansimagic), Instagram (MzansiMagic), and TikTok (@mzansimagictv). Use the hashtag #ShakaiLembeMzansi. Watch it on Sundays on Mzansi Magic DStv channel 161 and the repeat on Fridays at 21:30.
Shaka iLembe’s headline sponsor is Telkom. Associate sponsors are Grant’s Whisky and LottoStar, while tactical sponsors are Santam and Toyota SA.