As well as being a tense thriller, Housekeepers (on Showmax) digs deeply into what it takes to spend your life working in another family’s private space. The emotional demands mean that it’s never just a job, but it can be sheer hell with the wrong madam – a bad madam like Boniswa Zwide (played by Zikhona Sodlaka).
Overlooking the fact that Boniswa frames Linda Ndlovu’s (Thando Thabethe) mother June (Clementine Mosimane) for murder and gets her sent to prison… and then she sends pantsula to kill Linda and her brother… and she buries their previous housekeeper in a shallow grave – which even as madams go is at the far edge of inconsiderate – Boniswa is a trash madam to be stuck working for. There might not be used condoms in the champagne glasses, but we’d still take a broom to her because…
It’s not a great first impression. Boniswa circles Linda as if she’s checking out a couch at a discount furniture shop and gives her a speech that starts with “Listen here, girl…” The order to stay away from Boniswa’s husband is the cheeky cherry on top.
Boniswa introduces Linda to her husband as Sindi despite being introduced to her as Linda and just having heard her child greet her as Linda seconds before. And then the oversharing starts as Boniswa starts talking at Linda about how unfair her own situation is.
When Linda doesn’t arrive for work, drunk Boniswa rants to Max the gardener (Mike Mvelase) about poor people wanting jobs, then vanishing. And when Max questions Boniswa, well, it turns out that she is too high and mighty to try contact Linda herself. She’d rather have Max play messenger to tell Linda that she’s fired.
Boniswa repeats instructions to clear out the “tea things” while Linda is busy… clearing out the tea things. And it sticks in our teeth when she keeps putting her hands on Linda to move her around as if she is a vacuum cleaner.
Boniswa comes back from shopping while Linda is polishing a table, puts her shopping down on the table that Linda is cleaning and snaps at her, “Goodness, can’t you see I need a hand? You are so useless!”
No wonder so many of her housekeepers rage-quit.