Cebolenkosi Mthembu is known for playing the role of police officer Nyawo on Uzalo. He was nicknamed Mr Oxford because of his complicated vocabulary, which confuses the Oxford dictionary itself. Nyawo revealed that he chose to distinguish himself from other police officers by using deep, complicated, and false English words instead of everyday simple vocabulary.
His character first appeared on Uzalo in December 2016; during the show’s second season, he joined as a support police officer and was promoted to detective role over the seasons. Detective Nyawo is a true reflection of rascal elements in the modern-day South African police force, from corruption, working with gangs, and chasing away victims at the police station.
Being on the payroll of gangs compromised his police force oath to protect and serve justice. Nyawo has a weakness for women and is not hesitant to be involved even with prisoners. Currently, he sees flames in his relationship with Cocoa – the role played by Nomalanga Shabane.
Off-screen, Cebo Mthembu is a man of many talents. Having graduated with a diploma in Electrical Engineering. Detective Nyawo works for South Africa’s power supply giant Eskom as a Senior Section Electrician. He expressed his gratitude for a flexible work schedule that allows him to manage his Eskom job and shoot on Uzalo.
“I normally shoot early in the morning or late afternoon. Unless it is a pressing matter, then I normally take leave,” he says.
As if the responsibilities are not enough for one person, Celo Mthembu is also a radio presenter for Imbokodo FM, a community radio station based in Durban. Called Mr Oxford onscreen, in real life, Detective Nyawo is a brilliant Mathematician; he teaches mathematics online and in local colleges.
The happily married father of two likes to keep up with fitness goals; he is a long-distance runner and is a Comrades Marathon silver medalist. Uzalo fans frequently question the existence of Nyawo’s complicated English words. The actor himself revealed that some of the words are in existence while some only exist in his mind.