The production company behind The Wife, Stained Glass, has confirmed that Bonko Khoza, who played Mqhele in the first two seasons, isn’t returning in Season 3 of the record-breaking, Twitter-topping Showmax Original telenovela. They’re currently casting for his replacement. 

Inspired by Dudu Busani-Dube’s bestselling book Naledi His Love, Season 3 of The Wife will return to South African screens in November 2022 with Gaisang K Noge in the lead role as doctor Naledi Montsho, who is in love with Qhawe Zulu (2022 DStv Mzansi Magic Viewers’ Choice Rising Star winner Kwenzo Ngcobo), dubbed “the Woolworths of amadoda” by Twitter. Each season has focused on a different couple: Hlomu and Mqhele in S1, Zandile and Nkosana in S2, and now Naledi and Qhawe. 

“We know fans are going to find it hard to let go of their picture of Mqhele as Bonko, just as they found it hard, when he was first cast, to let go of the bug-eyed Mqhele they had pictured from the book,” says series producer Kamogelo Aphane. “But The Wife has shown that when you go looking for new talent in South Africa, you find it. So we encourage the 5am club to open up their hearts to the next Mqhele, and help us continue to open up the industry.” 

Bonko has become a household name during The Wife’s run, hailed as “the national husband” by fans and nominated for DStv Mzansi Viewers’ Choice and SAFTA Awards for the role.

“Having had the privilege to play Mqhele Zulu for two seasons, I realise I’ve taken the character as far as I can,” says Bonko. “I’m part of finding the perfect replacement and will be watching from the sidelines to support and offer advice where needed. I know that the actor who takes over will build from where I left off, so I’m looking forward to joining the 5am club to see how the incredible love stories between the brothers and their wives play out this season. It’s not often that a show this powerful comes into the world, so we should continue to champion and encourage the talented people who will take us forward in S3.”

Season 3 of The Wife starts production later this month and is set to launch on Showmax in November 2022.