Gold Diggers is a South African telenovela created by Portia Gumede which aims to bring key issues affecting the working class to the fore by exploring the dynamics of love, money, family feuds, corruption and economically motivated relationships, against the backdrop of the mining industry.
Mbongeni Ngema stars as Patrick, an ageing and ill miner who has two wives. First wife Ruth (Clementine Mosimane) uses muthi to protect herself from his second wife, May (Tina Jaxa).
Ruth believes May is a spiteful, vicious snake that could strike her anytime. She uses the muthi to protect herself from May's perceived evil intentions.
played by Mbongeni Ngema
From an early age, Patrick knew that he'd be a miner. His father wasn't rich, but had a patch of land and a couple of cows some which helped him to lobola Ruth.
Patrick and Ruth was more like an arranged marriage, although not a forced one. But after marrying Patrick, Ruth couldn't leave or sell the land that belonged to her father in Mashekesheni. Patrick only joined her later.
By then Patrick had a child, Credo, with his mistress May and Ruth only found out about the child after Patrick took May as his second wife and Ruth couldn't stand the betrayal she kicked both May and her child out of her land.
Ronald, who was very young, became Ruth's comfort, the only man who dearly loved her, who didn't keep things from her and who would never leave her - and that's how she would love to see him forever.
Credo passed away from a rock fall incident and the family was forced to sell the cows and let go of their land to cover the hospital bills, hoping that they'll be compensated by the mine.
But after an internal investigation it was revealed that Credo's accident was due to his negligence. That's how Big Boy went to the mines to help with the family's bills.
played by Clementine Mosimane
Ruth grew up in Mpumalanga. Her father had two wives one in Lesotho and Ruth's mother in Mpumalanga and Ruth is their only child.
Marrying Patrick was her dream come true, yet the dream easily turned into a nightmare when Patrick asked to take a second wife. Ruth was reluctant at first, but finally gave in only to find out later that Patrick already had a child with May before she officially became a second wife.
Ruth's son, Ronald, was not Patrick's first born, but the illegitimate Credo was. Out of anger Ruth chased the second wife away with his son. Ruth felt betrayed by Patrick, a wound that never healed properly. As the years passed she would forgive, but not forget and since then has seen May as a spiteful, vicious snake that could strike her anytime.
Ruth constantly acquires muthi to protect herself from May's evil intentions. She can't just fold her arms and relax around this woman from the streets – as she refers to her. However, with Ruth, caring comes naturally and her compassion becomes her weakness sometimes.
played by Tina Jaxa
May grew up in a humble home in the Eastern Cape. She was never content with modesty, hated being poor and couldn't understand why a pretty girl like her could not have all she desired.
In her teens she had an affair with a priest that brought shame to her family. She was sent away to relatives until the stigma wore off, but while away she met the wrong crowd and became a saleslady, trying modelling on the side.
She has done almost everything there is to do, from modelling, waiting tables to modeling on top of the tables as a stripper. May is street-smart, a hustler, will cross the line if it benefits her and has little respect for rules - or for anyone for that matter.
Big Boy Gumede
played by Zuluboy (as Mxolisi Brian Majozi)
Big Boy is the first-born son of Patrick and Ruth. He is a proud, protective, impetuous, determined and hard-working miner. He is loyal to his family and lover and will protect them to the bitter end.
He does not shy away from a physical fight and is confrontational when he needs to protect himself or the ones he loves. Although he is butch, he is also an attentive romantic lover at heart.
He can be a gentle listener when he is with his lover or brute and stubborn when he is with his fellow miners. He is head over heels in love with Nandipha whom he will go to the end of the world to protect.
His goal is to secure Nandipha's freedom from her pimp, Gideon, so that they can be together.
played by Thabo Malema
Ronald is Patrick Gumede's second child to his first wife Ruth. Ronald has problems with his knee, which is why he couldn't go and join his father in the mines, staying behind to work on the farm and look after the family.
Ronald is an optimist, seeking nothing more than to live happily with his wife, foraging off the land. He's left in Big Boy's chair to be the man of the house, but he doesn't have the courage to stand up to anyone let alone his siblings.
From time to time, he finds himself snapping, especially at his younger brother, Lucky, who has formed a special relationship with Ronald's wife, Hlengiwe.
He and Hlengiwe can't have children and they have been trying to use muthi to conceive. His marriage to Hlengiwe was arranged but he has grown to love her a lot.
played by Mpho Sibeko
Lucky is intelligent, charming and he has brains – he could easily be an A-student, yet all he wants is freedom. He refuses to bow to parents' imposition that he goes to college after finishing school.
Lucky is forever challenging authority at the homestead, thereby becoming a headache for everyone, except Hlengiwe – Ronald's wife. Hlengiwe listens to Lucky and is always amused by his free spirit, creating a special bond between them.
Lucky never instigates trouble with intention to hurt; he's actually very kind and caring, which is often revealed when Olwethu is in trouble. He deeply cares for her.
played by Zimkhitha Nyoka
Olwethu is a wise old soul. She speaks the truth and calls the grown-ups on their waywardness in a nice way. She has an ability to see through people and always tries to find a solution to the problem.
Her beautiful heart makes her to be everyone's favourite and hence she is the bearer of secrets, as everyone confides in her. Olwethu also takes a lot of hurt as her caring is often taken for being nosey.
She's creative – she draws and does beadwork.
played by Fikile Mthwalo
Hlengiwe is a traditional, respectful woman with little to say, but so much to give if she could only find her voice. She appears timid but she's an observer with a lot to say - but never given a chance.
She's an incredibly quiet woman who is barely noticeable when she enters a room. Little is known about her past, her aspirations and needs. She is comedic, traditionalist and kind-hearted, which is why Ronald fell in love with her.
She feels pressured by Ronald's mom Ruth, who wants a grandchild. She would also love to give Ronald a son but she wants it to come out of love and not obligation.
played by Keneilwe Matidze
Nandipha is a tough, smart young woman who works as a prostitute. Her upbringing taught her that life is about survival of the fittest. She learnt that she could use her sexuality and her smarts to survive.
Her survival skill is to think fast and outsmart others. Although she is a prostitute she still has her pride and maintains boundaries she will not allow anyone to overstep.
She has survived the hardships of working for her ruthless pimp, Gideon. Gideon was like a father to her, but kept the receipts whenever he spent money on her and now she owes him a large debt. She fears running from Gideon, because he will kill her.
She is in love with Big Boy as she knows he will protect her - but she suspects that he is naïve.
played by Peter Mashigo
Gideon is a feared criminal who uses intimidation to control and instil fear amongst those around him. However, Gideon has not always been this hardened - his childhood informed the person he turned out to be.
He had a rough childhood and was neglected by his mother, which forced him to fend for himself. He developed a hatred for women and sought ways to exploit them.
He is a charming smooth talker but behind that charm lies a dangerous man who wouldn't think twice about killing someone who threatens him or his operations.
He is Nandipha's pimp.
The series also features Chumisa Cosa as Miss Sibuku, Bheki Mahlawe as Post-Man, Christopher Kubheka as Scar, Bonginkosi Twala as Mandla, Gabriel Mini as Stander, David Johnson as Juan, Sibusiso Black Madondo as Williams, Thandy Matlaila as Happiness and Elliot Makhubo as Bab'Buthelezi.
Gold Diggers was created by Portia Gumede and produced by Urban Brew Studios. The head writer is Loyiso Mqoma, with writers Ameera Patel, Martin le Maitre, Gillian Breslin and Amanda Lane. Directors on the series include Johnny Barbuzano, David Golden, Sisanda Henna and Zolani Phakade. Barbuzano is the showrunner and the executive producer for e.tv is Luxury Msiza.
The series was filmed on two locations near Muldersdrift in Johannesburg. The theme music is by Tebogo Motlhabi and Alan Lazar, with music by Lalela Music.
Season 1 Cast
(scroll to bottom for available actor bios)
Clementine Mosimane ... Ruth Gumede
Mbongeni Ngema ... Patrick Gumede
Menzi Ngubane ... Israel
Tina Jaxa ... May Gumede
Zuluboy ... Big Boy Gumede (as Mxolisi Brian Majozi)
Keneilwe Matidze ... Nandipha
Mpho Sibeko ... Lucky Gumede
Thabo Malema ... Ronald Gumede
Zimkhitha Nyoka ... Olwethu Gumede (as Zimkitha Nyoka)
Fikile Mthwalo ... Hlengiwe Gumede
Recurring / Guests
Peter Mashigo ... Gideon
David Johnson ... Juan
Chumisa Cosa ... Miss Sibuku
Bhekisizwe Mahlawe ... Post-Man
Christopher Kubheka ... Scar (as Christopher Khubeka)
Bonginkosi Twala ... Mandla
Gabriel Mini ... Stander (as Simphiwe Gabriel Mini)
Thandy Matlaila ...` Happiness
Elliot Makhubo ... Bab'Buthelezi
Linda Sebezo ... Gogo Singo
Sibusiso Black Madondo ... Williams
Nomzamo Matsetela ... Xolile (as Nomzamo Matsetele)
Hastings Muravha ... Shady Official
Ayanda Daweti ... Jimmy
Felicity Shange ... Sea Water Lady
Bonginkosi Ngwane ... Zama Zamas
Bongani Dlamini ... Zama Zamas
Veli Mavuso ... Zama Zamas
Malibongwe Mjoli ... Zama Zamas
Giya Zuma ... Zama Zamas
Vusi Shilenge ... Zama Zamas
Steven Molaudzi ... Two Knives Gang
Thabo Alexandra ... Two Knives Gang / Numbers
Remember Maluleke ... Miner
Thabo Mathibe ... Miner
Nicholas Zwane ... Miner
Jerry Motwane ... Miner
Fortune Thobejane ... Miner
Simon Mkhanazi ... Miner (later as Simon Letsoela)
Wiseman Mncube ... Themba / Gus
Rael Birns ... Mine World Doctor
Helen Lebepe ... Mine World Nurse
Millicent Makhado ... Gynaecologist
Lennox Mathabathe ... Homestead Priest
Zinzi Nsele ... Homestead Clinic Doc
Vindla Padi ... Homestead Clinic Nurse
Sello Motelele ... Police Officer
Nick Moloi ... Ukhukhobana
Nhlanhla Mazibuko ... Tiny
Thami Mase ... Mamba
Tshego Rathebe ... Prostitute
Lee Vilakazi Shibambo ... Prostitute
Nelly Twala ... Prostitute
Morongwa Magwaza ... Prostitute