Emma in The River came face to face with her worst nightmare when her mother showed up unannounced at the Dikana mansion earlier in May 2021. Zungazi, played by former Yizo Yizo star Charmaine Mtina, made her debut on the popular 1Magic telenovela a few weeks ago, and quickly turned Emma’s life upside down.
While she acted like a kind and caring mother in front of Zolani and the rest of the family, she was mean to Emma when it was just the two of them in the room.
Zungazi’s plan to be a millionaire was birthed after realising that her daughter had married into a wealthy family. To pull off the perfect heist, Zungazi knew she had to win her daughter’s in-laws over so that they wouldn’t suspect a thing. In everyone’s eyes, she was a good mother who wanted to make things right with her estranged daughter.
Ticket out of poverty
She played the part so well that even Zolani couldn’t understand why Emma was not kind to her mother.
One thing about Zungazi is that she knows how to play the game. She got wind of the fact that Zolani was working on a big diamond deal worth millions of rands and knew that this would be her ticket out of poverty.
Zungazi then told Emma to steal those diamonds from Zolani and promised to disappear afterwards.
Emma had no choice but to follow her mother’s instructions: if she didn’t assist, Zungazi threated to tell Zolani that Emma had killed her father many years ago.
They managed to pull off the heist and Zungazi got her diamonds – but her celebrations were short-lived because the cops were on her tail. Tshabalala set up a trap for her and she fell for it. She was caught and taken straight to Zolani.
All is forgiven
Zungazi apologised and all was forgiven. She then found herself out on the streets with nowhere else to go. Because she’s a smart woman, Zungazi decided to worm her way back into Emma’s life.
This time, she apologised to Emma for being a horrible mother and explained that it was all because of her upbringing. She promised to do better and that she’d work on her relationship with Emma. The mother and daughter had an emotional conversation that resulted in forgiveness.
Zungazi back to her old tricks
As we all know, old habits die hard! Although she seemed genuine about wanting to do better, Zungazi was back to her old tricks shortly after being forgiven by Emma. She thought of another money-making scheme: to kidnap Emma and Zolani’s daughter and then to demand ransom from them. The figure she asked for was a tidy R10 million.
Emma knew that to get a step ahead of her mother, she’d need to come clean to Zolani about everything. She told him about helping Zungazi with the heist and explained that she had no other choice. She also came clean about killing her father and gave valid reasons why it had to be done.
This was all too much for Zolani to handle and he questioned whether he married the right person or not. After being angry at Emma for a while, he came to his senses and realised that the only way they’d get their daughter back is by working as a team. They eventually managed to track Zungazi down and Emma had to beg her mother to give her baby back.
It turns out that Zungazi’s trauma is generational. The way she’s been treating Emma is exactly how her own mother treated her.