Characters

Vanessa Ntlapo
Vanessa Ntlapo as Bee Sondlo

BEE SONDLO (Vanessa Ntlapo)

BEE SONDLO, 19, stoic and focused young woman obsessed with boxing. With her family abandoned years before by her father and her brother disabled, Bee shares the burden of running their household with her nurse mother, Gladys. A sports science student at a local college and an avid boxing loner at the local gym, Bee has to balance the demands and pressures of life in a working class neighborhood, trying to get ahead while keeping her admirable sense of honour.

 

MANDLA SONDLO (Mzu Ntantiso)

MANDLA SONDLO, 23, is Bee’s athletically-built but disabled brother. At one time a popular, sporty, woman-attracting alpha male who drew the envy of other young men, Mandla is now forever confined to a wheelchair. Mandla is a supportive, loving brother and has the complete loyalty and devotion of his sister, Bee, who worships him. He also, however, harbours deep unspoken anger and resentment over his disability and the mysterious incident that caused it.

SMILEY THE ZULU (Lemogang Tsipa)

SMILEY, THE ZULU, 23, smooth-talking, dangerous Zulu-speaking local gangster and entrepreneur who insinuates himself into Bee’s boxing career. Smiley is a dangerous crime kingpin who runs the part of Langa Bee stays in. Smiley is a successful criminal entrepreneur with many ventures on the go. He sees in Bee an opportunity to make money and is fascinated by her seemingly invincible boxing talent as well as her fearless attitude to him.

Zingi Matuzula
Zingi Matuzula as Conference Johnson

CONFERENCE JOHNSON (Zingi Mtuzula)

CONFERENCE JOHNSON, 55, is the old-school proprietor of a run-down township gym who becomes Bee’s coach and mentor. Conference is a low-key boxing coach, a man of faded glories with a mysterious past, who’s philosophical about where he now is: the owner of a community gym, trying to make a go of it with a handful of township hopefuls.

GLADYS SONDLO (Faniswa Yisa)

GLADYS SONDLO, 48, is Bee’s stubborn, troubled mother. A nurse at the local community clinic, her longstanding career of dedicated service has recently started falling apart, triggering disastrous ripple effects for a family she’s just about single-handedly kept in balance since her husband abandoned them more than a decade before.

SAMKELO SONDLO (Thembani Luzipho)

SAMKELO SONDLO, 48, is Bee’s charismatic, smooth-talking father. Samkelo abandoned his family years before. His sudden return to his family as a contrite, remorseful and supportive father, is a timely boost to Bee’s rising boxing career.

JUNIOR (Lwandile Sompontsha)

JUNIOR, 20, lean and muscular black male boxer and title contender is one of Bee’s gym mates and her occasional sparring partner. As Conference’s main fighter, Junior is tolerant of Bee’s low-key training presence in their gym. When Conference, however, takes Bee on as a women’s boxing contender, Junior initially feels threatened and envious of the attention Bee gets.

KHETSO (Thembekile Komani)

KHETSO, 26, is one of Bee’s gym mates and a friend of Junior’s. Khetso is a friendly, consistent supporter of Bee from the start. Though he dreams of the kind of shot Bee and Junior have at big-time boxing, Khetso is resigned to being a gym-bound boxer – at best, an occasional sparring partner to champions.

SAMSON (Patrick Lavis)

SAMSON, 38, Smiley’s loyal bodyguard, is a physically imposing man always at Smiley’s side, quietly observing, seeing more than he says. Smiley’s strong, silent bodyguard, Samson is scary and loyal. He observes far more than he ever says but when he speaks it’s usually significant: problem-solving, wise and challenging.

LAVINIA JACOBS (Amy Trout)

LAVINIA JACOBS, 39, is the well-connected women’s boxing big-shot who takes an interest in Bee’s progress – before poaching her from Conference to join her stable of fighters. Lavinia comes across as supportive and generous but in reality is only like that as long as it’s in her own self-interest.

ZED (Yanga Jikela, 1988-2015)

ZED, 22, a local thug, is a xenophobic sociopath heading one of Smiley’s street crews – and a constant threat to Bee and her brother. Zed is an angry bundle of entitlement, resentment and danger to anyone he encounters. Loathed and feared in the community, he has a particular beef with Bee and her brother, Mandla.

SERGEANT (Anele Situlweni)

SERGEANT, 30, weedy, small-minded – a thoroughly corrupt Sheriff of the Municipal Court who wields his petty power damagingly against local residents. Sergeant is a public official who abuses his power at will, seemingly accountable to no-one. He has a particular interest in Bee and uses his position to try and intimidate her.

DR KHAN (Mehboob Bawa)

DR KHAN, 44, is the senior supervising doctor at the community clinic where Gladys works as a nurse. Dr Khan is a methodical, competent manager of his community clinic who senses Gladys is an emerging glitch in his well-run machine.

MRS ADAMS (Quanita Adams)

MRS ADAMS, 38, is Bee’s sports-science lecturer. Mrs Adams is a kind teacher who wants her students to succeed, especially Bee, who she sees some of herself in. Despite hardships and obstacles, Bee is hard-working, intelligent and gets good marks – as Mrs Adams herself once did.

RUSHKA MOHAMMED (Rushda Mallick)

RUSHKA MOHAMMED, 24, is the focused, unbeaten women’s light-middleweight provincial title-holder and the leading contender for the national title. She is Bee’s first truly formidable opponent and is as focused, serious and insular as Bee.