The Mthembus: Did you know Uzalo actors Nonka and Nyawo are related in real life?

Did You Know? Uzalo Actors Nonka and Nyawo Are Related in Real Life

By Mzansi Times

Fans of the popular South African telenovela “Uzalo” were surprised to learn that Thuthuka Mthembu, who plays Nonka, and Cebo Mthembu, who portrays Nyawo, are related in real life. Despite sharing the same surname, many were unaware of their family connection until recently.

Family Ties on the Uzalo Set

Over the years, it’s become common to see relatives and even siblings sharing the screen in Mzansi’s soap operas and dramas. One notable example is the Khoza siblings, SK and Abdul, who have both made significant marks in the South African film industry, albeit at different times.

Relatives Featuring on Uzalo

“Uzalo” is no stranger to hiring relatives. Mxolisi Majozi, who played the supporting role of Last Number, is the brother of Simphiwe Majozi, who plays the lead character Sbu. Similarly, Omega Mncube, who portrayed Phelelani, is the younger brother of Wiseman Mncube, who played Sbonelo Mhlongo. Interestingly, both brothers’ characters had romantic ties with Nonka, with Sbonelo marrying and later divorcing her.

Additionally, Nompilo Maphumulo, who plays Nosipho, has her real-life son, Luyanda Maphumulo, playing Nthuthuko, the nagging brother to Hleziphi (Sibongiseni Shezi).

The Roles of Nonka and Nyawo

Nonka on Uzalo

Thuthuka Mthembu’s character, Nonka, is a young woman from the humble Xulu family of KwaMashu. Her storyline is inspirational, showcasing her resilience despite facing numerous challenges such as poverty, early marriage, and divorce. Nonka’s journey back to school and her academic success, culminating in her becoming the first Xulu family member to graduate, serves as a powerful message to young girls in South Africa about overcoming adversity.

Nyawo on Uzalo

Cebo Mthembu’s character, Nyawo, is a crooked police officer deeply involved in criminal activities. Despite his superiors’ suspicions about his corruption, they have yet to gather enough evidence to prosecute him. Nyawo recently gained attention by winning the prize money at the KwaMashu Talent Show and receiving an invitation to the South Africa National Spelling Bee competition.

Real-Life Connection

In real life, Thuthuka (Nonka) and Cebo (Nyawo) Mthembu are indeed family. Cebo is Thuthuka’s uncle, being a cousin to her father. Despite growing up with a single mother and an absent father, Thuthuka maintains a strong respect for her paternal relatives, highlighting the importance of family ties.


The revelation of Thuthuka and Cebo Mthembu’s family connection adds an intriguing layer to their on-screen dynamics in “Uzalo.” This real-life relationship is yet another example of how familial bonds often extend into the professional lives of actors in the South African entertainment industry. Fans can continue to enjoy their compelling performances, now with the added context of their real-life connection.

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