The trope of the “Unseen” character has been used in theater or comics for a long time as it enhances the plot development and effectively helps advance the plot with an element of surprise. For instance, consider Rosaline, William Shakespeare’s fictional character in ‘Romeo and Juliet.’ In a gathering that is hosted by the Capulet family, Romeo tries to search for his unrequited love, Rosaline, but chances upon her cousin, Juliet, and then we know how the story unfolds between the two. In “Unseen,” the character is seen and visible, but her actions somehow escape the naked eye.
Either the universe supports her, or the director, Ozgur Onurme, wants the feminine character that she is to make a very clear statement that she may be considered insignificant by society, but she is capable of much more than what we can imagine. We consider Zenzile unimportant as a cleaner, but when she is treated like dust, she proves to be a superpower made and emerging from the dust. Looking at the characters in the series, one may notice that Zenzile is the only woman among the toxic men who try to devour her life. She is trying to search for answers and her beloved husband, and if anyone comes her way, she gets back at them victorious, though that too is unseen. Let’s dive deeper into each of these characters.
Zenzile had decided never to marry Maxwell because she wanted to continue her studies, but unfortunately, she discovered she was pregnant. Left with no alternative, they get married and have a baby boy, Esulu. Zenzile is a woman who loves her husband and doesn’t bother about what the world has to say about them and their relationship. She is a fighter and a survivor who, at times, overlooks her husband’s toxic masculine behavior. She does attempt to protect her son but hardly manages to do so until Maxwell is imprisoned. Zenzile becomes a victim of critical and verbal abuse by the men that surround her, but she remains uninfluenced by them. Zenzile wants her husband to be free, but in an unexpected incident, she loses her son.
Zenzile searches for answers for her husband, her only family, who is set free from prison but hasn’t returned home. She works as a cleaner day in and day out at three places, but trouble arises at Raymond’s Wholesale Meats, where she notices a gun and money in an open locker. She takes the gun and some cash as security for her, then proceeds to search for answers. Zenzile adamantly wants to know why her husband was imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit; she wants to know for whom Maxwell took the fall, and she also wants to know who killed her son.
As she tries to find her answers, she deals with repressive and oppressive men, and unable to bear it all, she kills the men in self-defense. She starts with Jackson Thom, whom she feels will have some answers and know the whereabouts of her husband. She then meets one of the associates of Raymond and Joseph, who tries to convince her to kill Blessing Jali and be free of all the trouble that has come her way. He speaks about her son’s death which aggravates her and she kills him by throwing him in front of a running train. Enrico Booysen, her landlord, passes suggestive remarks at her and abuses her a lot of times. But she bears it all because she is at his mercy, staying in a house she rents from him. But when Enrico tries to sexually abuse her, she kills him, too, in self-defense. Joseph wants to know where she has hidden the gun, and later, at the orders of Raymond, he wants to get rid of her, but yet again, in self-defense, she escapes but kills Joseph. All this happens, but no one comes to know who has done it because there is no evidence left of any of the crimes. She then kills Blessing at the orders of Raymond, but this is a premeditated murder where she goes to a club and places drugs on Blessing’s table, which he greedily snorts and later struggles to breathe because of the overdose. Zenzile asphyxiates and kills him when he, too, isn’t willing to give her the answers she is looking for. And towards the end, when she loses everything and is left with just one person to question, i.e., Raymond, she meets him at the club and gets to know that he killed her son. She sets the kitchen on fire and leaves Raymond to struggle and die, surrounded by fire and smoke. Zenzile then goes to the terrace and ends her life.
Maxwell Mwale is the result of a patriarchal society pervaded by toxic masculinity. He doesn’t want his son to be soft but rather to be disciplined to be tough. He corrects him when he plays with a doll and then speaks to him as though only men can take care of their families. He tells him that one day, he should be taking care of their house and his mother. He is unwilling to accept that he has failed miserably to better his family. He makes wrong decisions and thus leads his family to doom. When Raymond and Joseph convince him to take the fall for Blessing and promise him that his life will be settled, he agrees to it. And therefore, he is jailed for the murder of Yazid Noordien. Only when he realizes that this was a game played with him does he regret the decision he took, but by then, he has already lost his son. Maxwell, thus, not wanting to cause any more trouble for Zenzile, goes to Caledon to collect evidence against Blessing and there gets killed by the cops.
Naledi is the selfish and self-obsessed sister of Zenzile. She doesn’t care about Zenzile at all; she abandons her when she needs her the most. Naledi realizes that she has not been a supportive sister when she sees the CCTV footage where Zenzile throws one of the men in front of a train and kills him. Naledi feels guilty for not being of help, so towards the end, she gives her time and money to listen to and support Zenzile. She is the one who tries to convince Zenzile when they are on the terrace not to end her life by saying that they shall deal with this together. Naledi’s life is rich with luxury and sophistication, which is of no use when she loses her only family member.
Blessing Jali, Raymond Hendricks, Ruben Theron, Jackson Thom, And Joseph
Blessing, Raymond, Ruben, Jackson, and Joseph are a gang that just listens to the orders given to them by Andrew Harting. They are also internally craving power, wealth, and more freedom from the orders that come their way. They want to be powerful themselves but fail miserably. All of them get killed by Zenzile, except for Ruben. Ruben is the lawyer who appears all of a sudden and saves the day for Blessing or, at times, for Andrew. Blessing is another underworld don who is involved with a money laundering scheme, and thus, to hide his faults, he kills Yazid, who has all the evidence against Blessing. Raymond works quite systematically to get rid of people above him to get to the top, especially Blessing, but unfortunately, he meets a tragic end.
Ngesi is a journalist and author who finds order in disorder. He is a likable character in the series and is a conscientious employer of Zenzile. He wants to author a book inspired by Zenzile’s invisible life. He is a journalist who considers himself the moral compass of society. Ngesi Lufuno supports Zenzile and knows for sure that there is some trouble going on in her life.
“Unseen” through these characters proves that all of us make choices that we regret, but we need to get past them by forgiving one another and never stopping to be better to succeed in life.