Musa Mseleku is the viewers’ worst enemy on Mnakwethu, which has come under a lot of criticism from those who watch it.
In the show, Mseleku (45) helps hapless men who are interested in isithembu, or polygamy. This has led many to question the integrity of the show. But despite the backlash, he said he would do it again if given another chance.
Mseleku became known when he first introduced viewers to his four wives in the show, Uthando Nesthembu. The popular reality show also featured polygamy. He told City Press he enjoyed Mnakwethu and he felt it was an extension of his life.
“It has been good to listen to the number of reasons people would love to lead a polygamous lifestyle and the challenges they cited. Most men had a great fear of losing their wives and there’s a stigma that even though some people have no money they still have the courage to want to marry more than one woman. It’s not all about money,” Mseleku said, describing the show as revolutionary.
“When our people were displaced, they were not only physically affected; they were also emotionally and spiritually displaced because their cultural beliefs were taken away from them.”
The father of 10 said that isithembu had been a good traditional institution of marriage that had prevented a number of social ills, “therefore we need to correct this through these platforms”.
“I must say I would be more comfortable helping men who have already discussed taking a second wife with their wives. To me, those are real men who have shown courage.”
He emphasised that permission from the first wife was critical.
He said he went on the show knowing the risks involved and expected the backlash.
“I am dealing with 300 years of oppression during which our culture has been belittled and misinterpreted as inhuman and given all sorts of names.
“So I went in expecting people to have different and strong views on the matter,” Mseleku said.
But he said he would miss the show.
“I will miss the ordinary men who had an ambition to have isithembu. I will also miss listening to the reasons they wanted to lead this lifestyle and the faces of the wives when they saw me coming because they knew it could mean only one thing – that their husbands wanted to take a second wife.”
He said his highlights included “seeing the side chicks”, who wanted to enter into polygamy without clearly understanding what they were getting themselves into – thinking they were better than the first wives.
“My lows included witnessing the level of disrespect shown by the side chicks to the wives,” said Mseleku. It is unclear whether there will be a second season. Mseleku said that, whether there was criticism or not, he would definitely come back to host another season.
The show’s producer, Nthabi Thomas, said polygamy had always been practised and the only thing they did differently as producers was to take the cameras, tell a story and provide a platform on screen.
“The show just highlights what is already happening out there. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, so we can’t really dictate how they should respond to the show. We knew it would ruffle a few feathers,” she said, adding that many men were already cheating or wanted polygamous relationships but were too scared to do anything about it. “This show was established to help them to get the permission they want,” she said.
The channel denied staging episodes and paying contestants.