Farieda Metsileng plays Betty Sikhakane
If you haven’t caught an episode of uBettina Wethu on SABC 1 (Mondays to Wednesdays, 19:30, also on VIU) as yet – you’re missing out. The show follows the endeavours of main character Betty Sikhakane (Farieda Metsileng) as she navigates her first job in the City of Gold, Johannesburg.
In addition to the humourous and compelling storyline, the show boasts a talented local line up including Zweli Dube (Dingaan Jiyane); Tsholofelo Mashishi (Linda Jiyane) and Lesego “Coconut Kelz” Tlhabi (Zaza Moloi).
uBettina Wethu is based on the successful international format Yo Soy Betty La Fea – most familiar to local viewers as Ugly Betty – and has been adapted to 19 global territories and aired in 180 countries, in 15 languages, holding the Guinness World Record as ‘Most Successful Telenovela’.
The show kicked off on SABC1 in April 2021 and regularly appears in the Top 10 most-watched shows on the channel, drawing in excess of 2.5 million viewers for each of the trio of weekly episodes.
“We’ve been thrilled at South African viewers’ response to the show so far and we have grand plans for this stellar cast and their hugely-popular characters,” says Producer Tshepiso Chikapa Phiri, for Known Associates. “The storyline is at a pivotal point, and we’re going to be building towards our season finale in August this year. Fans may think they know the storyline from the various international versions of the show, but we’ve got some major shocks coming with a truly Mzansi twist”.
The Story So Far
Betty Sikhakane arrives in Jo’burg with a dream in her heart – to find a job and buy an apartment. A naïve, people pleaser who cannot say no, she is in for a rough ride in the City of Gold. And there is no tougher challenge than Dingaan Jiyane. Spoilt, self-centred and entitled, Dingaan has lived under the shadow of his twin brother Dumisani, since he passed away 4 years ago. His mother, Linda Jiyane – major shareholder of Nubia Brand Management – has had her hands full trying to get him ready to take over the role of MD. After threatening to cut off his allowance and inheritance, Dingaan finally but reluctantly steps into the very big shoes left by his brother.
Betty and Dingaan meet under relatively innocuous circumstances when he mistakenly approaches her in a dressing room, thinking she is the beauty that he followed in a clothing store. After an awkward revelation, Dingaan buys her a scarf to remedy his faux pas, leaving a slightly breathless Betty reminiscing about her chance encounter with this handsome stranger. The next time they meet, Dingaan has been appointed MD of Nubia and Betty, unbeknownst to him, has been hired as his PA after Linda was impressed by her brilliance and tenacity after she gate-crashed a Nubia event as an intern.
Betty becomes Dingaan’s main ally and support as they tackle Linda’s objectives for the new MD. Their first joint project is attempting to sign popular band X-It, in the hopes of getting them a sponsorship deal with current clients Clere for Men. After an altercation at a client event, Betty comes to the rescue, finding a way to persuade lead band member AJ (Sizwe Reason Moeketsi) to go solo.
The cast of “uBettina Wethu”
Lakhe (Ayanda Bandla) and her sidekick cousin, Nubia’s Creative Director Tbang (Brighton Ngoma), constantly plot to get Dingaan and Betty in trouble as find their own way to the top of the organisation. AJ’s diva behaviour doesn’t help, but Betty continues to find ways to rescue situations that arise again and again, drawing her closer to Dingaan.
While all of this is going on, Betty’s personal life is thrown into disarray. Having left her unemployed father, Israel (Elliot Makhubo), and younger brother, Reggie (Alex Sono), at home in Hammanskraal and is staying with her aunt Ethel (Motshabi Tyelele) in Cosmo City. Israel has taken out a loan with the local loan shark, Sibu (Thobani Mbhele), to make ends meet while Betty is in Jo’burg – but Sibu is not the type to play around when his clients are not paying him back. After several unsuccessful attempts, Sibu finally takes over Israel’s house, allowing his henchmen to stay there. Israel and Reggie cannot take it and decide to surprise Ethel and Betty, arriving unannounced for an indefinite ‘visit’.
Though Betty relies heavily on her father for emotional support, Reggie’s ‘spoilt brat’ tendencies are a challenge. She harnesses his musical ability to create a remix video for AJ, which goes viral and wins AJ back to Nubia – but trouble brews when neither Dingaan nor Naomi (Manie Malone) are willing to pay Reggie for his work.
As if all of this is not enough, Betty is also trying to deal with a childhood friend, Mpilo (Mbasa Msongeli), who is falling in love with her and wanting to pursue a relationship – even though Betty’s interests remain steadfastly on her work. Her relationship with Dingaan is also growing as they face their many challenges together. Betty finds herself fantasising about him – much to her colleagues’ horror. When Dingaan finds her drawing hearts, Betty lies to him that she is thinking of Mpilo. So, when Dingaan meets Mpilo as he is dropping Betty off at work, he congratulates Mpilo who is excited to find out that Betty thinks he is her boyfriend. Betty tries to play along, afraid to tell Mpilo the truth, and this leads to couple of disastrous dates between them.
Israel gets involved with a pyramid scheme and starts recruiting people in the Cosmo City community – but he falls prey to Reggie’s requests for new sound equipment and lands him in trouble with the community when he uses payments from people he has recruited to do so. As the angry community attack him, Israel punches a police officer so he can get arrested and Betty has to dip into her savings to bail him out.
With the return of AJ and Clere for Men to Nubia, things are looking up for Betty and Dingaan despite the ongoing tensions between them as Betty pulls her weight and Dingaan makes one disastrous decision after another. Wanting to ensure her son’s success, Linda insists that he meet up with an old friend of hers with a massive account, Sta Sof Fro. Dingaan thinks the brand is beneath his pretentious vision for Nubia, until Betty gets him to see the potential. When he meets Sta Sof Fro owner Pinky, he finds himself having to ‘take one for the team’ when it turns out she’s a cougar with her claws sharpened for Dingaan.
Will Dingaan be able to fend off Pinky’s advances and run a successful campaign for Sta Sof Fro?
Tune into uBettina Wethu, Monday to Wednesday at 19:30 on SABC1, to find out what happens next.
You can catch up on missed episodes here.