Two of the country’s popular e.tv shows, soapie Rhythm City and the drama series Gold Diggers, are preparing to hit viewers with story lines bound to set tongues wagging in Mzansi.

The thorny issue of teachers abusing schoolgirls comes up on Rhythm City and Gold Diggers tackles h0mos3xuality in the form of women living as lesbians.

Well-known actress Andrea Dondolo of the Stokvel sitcom fame, whose role is that of divorced teacher Mpho, discovers in the later stages of her life that she is actually attracted to women.

Dondolo describes Mpho as a woman “grappling with her se3 ual feelings”, but eventually confides in May, played by the sharp-tongued Tina Jaxa.

“Mpho is obviously at a loss, not knowing how to embrace how she feels. She is uncomfortable, uncertain and judges herself harshly.

“She also has a reputation to protect as an educator. Mpho finds herself having to see her lesbian predicament through the eyes of her immediate acquaintances.”

Besides being on Gold Diggers, Home Affairs actress Dondolo, who hails from Khayelitsha in Cape Town, has three social responsibility programmes she is busy with that are geared at keeping local youth off the streets.

One of them is the Madosini Music Project, whereby traditional music living legend Madosini incubates 30 youngsters, teaching them to play traditional instruments like uhadi, umhube and isitololo.

The second is the Maskandi Music and Storytelling Festival in Khayelitsha on November 19.

And the third is the Rise – Identity and Leadership Project, aimed at inculcating patriotism and leadership qualities among the youth.

All three projects are supported by the Department of Arts and Culture.

In Rhythm City, young actress Mbalenhle Zakwe, who portrays schoolgirl Sindiswa in the soapie, finds herself having to deal with the aftermath of s3xual abuse perpetrated by her teacher. Making her predicament more dire is the fact that her family and the community do not believe her when she discloses what the pervert teacher does to her.

Zakwe, 23, first auditioned for the role of Zinzi but was unsuccessful. She was instead cast to play Sindiswa in March last year.

She concedes that the current story line is the most difficult she has ever had to play.

“It requires mixed emotions. One moment I am happy and laughing, the next I am crying, sobbing nonstop because society and my family are in denial that my teacher is abusing me s3xually.”

Sindiswa falls pregnant by her teacher, played by Andile Nebulane, but contemplates aborting the unborn child.

The saga does not end there. The teacher tries his luck with another learner, Mapula, portrayed by Mapula Mafole.

No one believes the girls when they lay bare what the deviant teacher is doing to them, coupled with the hellish life they have to go through every day at school.

Sunday World