CONNIE’S LOVE FOR SHONA AND HER BRIEF RETURN TO generations
Generations fans will be excited to know that Connie Ferguson is returning to the soapie – for the third time – but it won’t be for long. “The character is back to tie up a few loose ends. It is a short story arc,” she told City Press this week. She will be seen reprising the role on the small screen next year. Asked whether she would let her character, Karabo, die, she said that decision was not hers to make. “It is up to the writers. But Ferguson Films [the production house she and her husband, Shona, founded] keeps me very busy, and I am currently playing a leading role – that of Harriet Khoza in The Queen on Mzansi Magic – so a full-time contract is not an option right now,” she said.
It has been a fantastic year for the Fergusons, who are celebrating their 15th wedding anniversary this week. “It feels like yesterday that we were celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary,” said Connie.
“Unfortunately, I have strict instructions from my husband to leave the planning for this date to him. So our anniversary celebration will come as a surprise to me!”
What is her secret to maintaining a happy, long-term relationship? “Being best friends and respecting, loving and adoring each other. And, most importantly, you need to know that it’s okay to disagree – it’s just how you disagree.”
The Fergusons have done well as the co-owners and executive producers of Ferguson Films. The company is behind such hits as the 2014 film Step Up to a Start-up, which was aimed at introducing South African pupils to the fundamentals of entrepreneurship and was flighted nationwide at 14 different cinema complexes that year; as well as the drama series Rockville and Igazi – both aired on Mzansi Magic; and the telenovela, The Queen.
While Connie plays Harriet in The Queen, Shona also acts in the telenovela, portraying the character Jerry Maake, a detective at Tembisa Police Station. How do they prevent their work stresses from intruding on their private lives? “Because we are such great friends, it’s actually fun working together,” said Connie. “We don’t always agree, but we are happy to compromise from time to time. Most of the time, though, we are on the same page. My husband inspires me a lot and I know I do the same for him.”
But she admits that watching her spouse doing a love scene with another actress is no joy ride. “Those scenes are uncomfortable. But because we understand how technical the whole thing is, we are able to suck it up and watch together. One of our rules in our marriage is never to judge, and to always be open minded.”
How do the couple ensure they are always on top of the entertainment game? “We tell stories that people can relate to, with characters that represent us, or someone we know, in one way or another. Real people, with real feelings, in real situations. Whether it’s hate, love, sympathy or envy, the viewer has to feel something for every one of our characters.” Being so busy, how does Connie balance work with her personal life? At 46, the mother and grandmother admits that it is a challenge. “It’s all about time management and prioritising. Having dedicated, uninterrupted family time is crucial, and getting help is a necessity, not a luxury.”
Her message to aspiring actors? “Recognise the industry for what it is – a workplace, like any other. The difference is this one might come with a bit of fame, which is fleeting, because popularity can only take you a short distance. But professionalism, dedication and hard work will take you the full distance.”
She also advises young actors to be money wise, a skill that has to be learnt early on. “Unlike other professions, they have to plan for their future independently. That said, it is a fulfilling profession as work can feel like play.” TALK TO US Do you think that Karabo, the character Connie plays on Generations, should be killed off? SMS us on 35697 using the keyword CONNIE and tell us what you think. Please include your name and province. SMSes cost R1.50
Connie and Shona Ferguson