‘Miseducation’ Recap & Ending Explained: What Happens To Mbali Hadebe?

Miseducation, Netflix’s latest rom-com drama, is a story of transformation and self-discovery. Created by Katleho Ramaphakela and Rethabile Ramaphakela, the six-part romantic dramedy takes us deep into the heart of South Africa and introduces us to Mbali Hadebe, the daughter of a corrupt politician who decides to leave her family behind to start a new life in Makhanda. Leaving her old self behind, she embraces the unknown and steps into a different environment as she enrolls at Grahamstown University and finds herself among the strangers. However, Sivu Levin, the senior Olympian at the university, catches her attention at first sight. Not only does she make an effort to win Sivu’s heart, but the unfamiliar environment at the new university helps her evolve and understand herself better. Let’s take a deep dive into the story of miseducation to learn about Mbali Hadebe’s journey.

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Spoilers Ahead


Recap Summary: What Happens In Season 1?

Miseducation revolves around Mbali Hadebe, the daughter of controversial politician Brenda Hadebe, who found herself in a tough spot after her mother’s involvement in a grant money scandal. As both her mother and she were heavily trolled and criticized, Mbali, fresh out of high school, decided to escape her hometown. The humiliation and mockery Mbali endured, not only for her mother’s actions but also from her friends, led her to make this life-changing decision. She decided to move to Makhanda and enroll at Grahamstown University to study marketing. She crossed paths with Sivu Levin, a senior Olympian, rowing team captain, and candidate for the Student Representative Council (SRC) presidency. Mbali also met Jay, an Indian student with a unique fashion sense that resonated with her. Additionally, she crossed paths with Raeesha, a popular student known for hosting a gossip show called “The Spill.” Mbali also discovered that Ashley Levin, the liberal-minded teacher of the Labia Lab, was Sivu’s adoptive mother.

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Mbali was concerned about her image and attempted to keep her family background a secret in Makhanda, but Ashley Levin’s biological daughter, Natalie, who was fond of Mbali, accidentally revealed her true identity in public. The entire university learned Mbali was Brenda Hadebe’s daughter, which led her to become a subject of ridicule in Makhanda.

In the midst of this turmoil, it was Sivu who remained by Mbali’s side. Mbali developed strong feelings for Sivu and began to devise a plan to win his heart. However, she found several obstacles on her way, as Sivu was already in a relationship with Pearl, a fellow student with a commitment to making a positive impact through her own political beliefs rather than seeking attention and fame.

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What did Mbali do to make Sivu win the election?

The election fever was gaining momentum at Grahamstown University, with the seasoned presidential candidate Caesar at the forefront. Despite his radical ideology, Caesar’s actions didn’t align with his words. A secret he guarded closely was his closeted homosexuality, which was revealed when he went on a date with Jay and threatened him into silence. Jay confided in Mbali, who encouraged him to report Caesar’s behavior, but fear held Jay back.

Caesar and Sivu were archenemies in the race. Sivu advocated for Nelson Mandela’s ideals, but his adoptive parents, who were white, made many students skeptical of him as an ideal candidate for the presidency. Even Mbali’s roommate, Aphiwe, who struggled to pay her fees for the university, hoped Caesar could bring real change to the university, though she was unaware of his true nature.

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Sivu, on the other hand, genuinely aspired to be a positive leader but faced a moral dilemma. He wanted to challenge the initiation, a harmful practice mainly conducted by privileged white students against freshmen. However, he couldn’t intervene when a freshman named Junior faced severe bullying from Sivu’s classmates. The next day, during “The Spill” gossip show, Junior publicly criticized Sivu for not standing up for him and expressed his opinion that Sivu Levin should be canceled.

Mbali devised a plan to get closer to Sivu. She secured Raeesha’s permission to host the show for a day to bring Junior and Sivu together for an on-air apology. Junior agreed, but only if Mbali dated him. Later, he changed his mind, and wanted to go on a date with Natalie instead, as they both shared an interest in “Rick and Morty.” However, Natalie was not into Junior; rather, she fell for her teacher, Van Heerden, and started a fling with him. However, just like Natalie went for a one-time fling with Junior only to get him on the show with Sivu, Van Heerden did the same thing with her. After being intimate with Natalie, Van Heerden dumped her, saying that it was a passing fling. Meanwhile, Sivu’s public apology to Junior helped restore his image, thanks to Mbali’s efforts. As Sivu was grateful to Mbali, his growing connection with her eventually led to his breakup with Pearl.

On election day, Mbali came up with another tricky plan. She went into the voting room and tried to change the numbers on the system to make Sivu win instead of Caesar. But she forgot her pen drive there, which actually belonged to Jay. This caused the voting system to crash, and under the Vice Chancellor’s command, they had to switch to manual voting. Mbali had another plan for this situation. She teamed up with Jay, and even though she didn’t want to involve Natalie at first, she got her help too. They messed with some of the ballot papers. Jay and Mbali had printed extra ballot sheets for Sivu, and they secretly went into the voting room to swap some of the sheets. However, they made a mistake. When they tried to burn the ballot sheets that were against Sivu, they didn’t burn easily. A sweeper who worked at the school and happened to be Aphiwe’s father saw this and realized something fishy was going on.

Nonetheless, Sivu ended up winning the election, even though he hadn’t expected it at all, and didn’t even prepare a speech for his victory. However, Mbali, who stood by his side, didn’t mind her own damaged reputation. She gave the speech on Sivu’s behalf. In her speech, she promised that they would work to remove all signs of colonization from the university. They would also address and solve the issue of rising college fees. Mbali even pledged to change the university’s name from Grahamstown to Makhanda. These promises earned them a lot of support and applause from the students.

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Who saved Mbali?

In the end, Sivu and Mbali became a couple. However, their secret about messing with the ballot papers got exposed because of that pen drive left in the operation room and those half-burnt ballot sheets. When the pen drive was found, Caesar started suspecting Jay had something to do with the tampered votes. Jay, upon realizing that Mbali had used his pen drive without discussing it with him, felt uneasy about her actions. Natalie, in the meantime, couldn’t keep this secret from her brother and confided in Sivu, saying that Mbali had tampered with the ballot papers just to make him win the election. Sivu was heartbroken, as he didn’t want to win this way, so he began to distance himself from Mbali.

Meanwhile, right after Natalie had sex with Van, she developed a rash. The series didn’t clarify if she managed to recover from it or if she had contracted an STI from Van Heerden. She confronted Mbali and had to confess that she had told her brother everything. This confession led to a heated argument between Natalie and Mbali, during which Natalie also discovered that Mbali had used their friendship to get closer to her brother, which strained their relationship further. Feeling alone and with nobody to turn to, Mbali finally decided to call her mother for help. But she couldn’t bring herself to ask for her assistance.

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During Miseducation‘s ending, Mbali finally realized that her actions had put Sivu’s reputation in jeopardy and therefore went to the vice chancellor’s office to confess everything. However, before Mbali could make her confession entirely, things took an unexpected turn. Her mother had already bribed the university principal with a large sum of money to ensure her daughter would avoid any punishment. This twist of events left Mbali in a difficult situation where her actions had consequences she couldn’t have expected.


Final Words

In Miseducation Season 2, we can expect more exciting surprises and the growth of characters. Sivu and Mbali’s relationship might face new challenges because of Mbali’s past actions. Natalie’s rash could cause health worries and affect relationships. Caesar, after the fraud scandal, might try to make amends or seek revenge. Jay’s feelings about what Mbali did might become a big issue, and his relationship could become a crucial subject to explore. We saw Jay have an on-and-off relationship with a transgender student named Thato, and in Season 2, we might see him getting more involved with Thato, seeking clarity about his feelings and their relationship. Changing the university’s name to Makhanda could bring up discussions about identity and history. Overall, Season 2 of Miseducation is going to bring more drama, excitement, and personal changes for the characters.

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Poulami Nanda
Poulami Nanda
Poulami Nanda hails from a medical background, yet her journey is to cross the boundaries of medicine and survive in the cinematic world. The surrealistic beauty of cinema and art has attracted her from a very young age. She loves to write poems, songs, and stories, but her dream is to write films someday. She has also worked as a painter, but nothing attracts her more than cinema. Through her writings, she wants to explore the world of cinema more and more and take her readers on the same ride.

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