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    Widows Unveiled – Lerato Maphatsoe on her journey in widowhood

    Wife to former Defence Minister Kebby Maphatsoe, Lerato Maphatsoe, who is also the co-executive producer of Widows Unveiled, opens up about her struggles after the death of her husband.

    Met with legal battles and extra-marital affair allegations since her husband’s passing in 2021, Lerato is forced to pick up the pieces and provide stability for herself and their three children. But picking up the pieces has proven to be more difficult than she thought.

    Asked if she’s concerned about what her in-laws will say about her participation in Widows Unveiled, Lerato confidently shares that she is not concerned as she and her in-laws do not have a relationship at the moment. Although she does mention that she still has a relationship with the wives of her late husband’s older brothers as they have been a strong support structure in her life.

    Continuing with the conversation about family, Lerato’s children are very much a part of the show, especially her son, Thabiso Maphatsoe. As the co-executive producer, her children were the first people she revealed the concept to and she explained to them why she needed to share her story with the world.

    “I’m the one who came up with the concept [for the show]. I actually spoke to my children about everything and I told them that I needed a platform to offload about all that I’ve been through and that we needed to talk about these things – I’m not going to hide … my children are fine,” she says.

    Although confident about wanting to be part of the project, Lerato is honest about the difficulties of the entire experience. ”Sharing the deepest, darkest secrets of my marriage and thinking to myself, some will ask while watching the show ‘why did she stay?’. Just reliving everything. It’s not easy. You don’t even know what you are getting yourself into. But I was like, ‘okay, I’m doing this,’ but I did not know the magnitude of the emotions. And now I’m filming with all these women and it was just draining, but it’s for a good cause.”

    Considering that Widows Unveiled is also based on the life of her late husband, Lerato admits that if he was still alive, he probably would not have approved of her being a part of this project.

    “When he was alive, maybe he was not going to approve. But now we’re talking, he’s no longer here. I’m a very spiritual person. I meet with him in the spirit world and he’s a different person. He has apologised numerous times to me saying ‘you know what, Lerato, I’m sorry’. So, I don’t think it will be a problem for him, for me to speak my truth in this show.”

    Lerato joins four other cast members who are going through similar challenges, and while filming has presented Lerato with many obstacles, she has managed to form a close bond with most of the cast members except for one.

    “I’m very close; very tight with three of the cast members. The problem is with one lady and the funny thing is I brought her to the show, but there’s a lot that’s happening with her. So I’ve decided to distance myself from her because I don’t want to find myself being involved in altercations and saying things that are not kind.”

    Lerato has assures viewers that they can expect a lot of discomfort and honesty from each lady’s storyline. “Viewers can expect things that are not comfortable to speak about, especially as a Black society. Viewers can expect that we are authentic, we are telling our truth, and nothing is scripted, but everything is from our own realities.” But in the same breath, Lerato wants to also make it clear that she can’t control how viewers receive the show. “I’m telling my story. It is your responsibility how you receive it.”

    Widows Unveiled launched on Showmax on 12 February 2024, and new episodes stream every Monday.

    Main Image: Showmax

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