DINEO HITS THE BIG TIME
One of the small screen’s prominent actresses talks about her life and career
After seven years of patience and perseverance, actress Dineo Moeketsi is finally getting her big break. She has a thick CV and she has done a host of cameos and supporting roles, which she never took for granted. Moeketsi’s wealth of experience and motivation brought her to where she is today.
“What you see now on screen is an actress who’s been very hard on herself to get to this point,” she says.
Moeketsi plays Kea – a drug addict who comes from a wealthy family – in Mzansi Magic’s telenovela, The Queen. She played lovelorn Gugu in the romantic comedy Mrs Right Guy and stresses that it has been a roller coaster ride for the past seven years.
“A lot of people think an overnight sensation literally happens overnight, but it’s not the case. It’s been a labour of love. And I have achieved something that I could never have done in the beginning of my acting career – to be honest about self-doubt, worry and fear,” she says.
Moeketsi says that Ferguson Films – owned by acting couple Connie and Shona Ferguson – singled her out for this role and approached her while she was still working on the soapie Scandal.
“I’ve been for auditions to Ferguson Films for different productions ever since it was established in 2010. I even auditioned for Rockville season 1, 2 and 3. It [her success] has been years in the making,” she says.
However, says the former presenter of the music magazine show O Access, the role of Kea did happen just at the right time.
“It is God’s timing. When you are in it, you feel like you’ve been rejected, but that’s not the case.”
For the past few weeks, Moeketsi’s character has been through an intense time. She got divorced, has become increasingly frustrated and finds that the only solution for her is to feed her drug habit.
“It was a challenging two months, draining but very rewarding. You sit back and after the moment has happened, you go wow! Like, you got there.”
Indeed, Moeketsi’s hard work appears to be paying off. She was recently nominated for an Africa Magic TV Award for best actress in Mrs Right Guy.
“I’m very excited. When I heard the news, I stopped on the side of the road to cry. God willing, we are taking it. Connie [Ferguson] has taught me that the people are the awards,” she says.
Moeketsi’s acting coach and doing research has helped her prepare for her new role.
“In my preparation, I never go for the obvious choice. People must be able to understand the story without you feeding it to them,” she insists.
She explains that everybody can tap into grief or fear, and viewers must be able to identify with a character who is scared, upset or worried, and connect with all those emotions.
“I don’t know a drug addict, and have never been offered drugs, but I have to go through every avenue to understand my character. You have to build it for yourself, create the environment and do research throughout that process,” she says.
Asked for advice for other women going through Kea’s predicament, she says: “The rich girl is misunderstood in South Africa. Sometimes wealthy means you don’t have to work. Daddy has possibly set up a trust fund for you. But it doesn’t make them bad people.”
And if you are on this roller coaster, you need to fight harder to get off.
“Unfortunately, your reason for stopping [with drug addiction], I can’t tell you and nobody else can tell you. Kicking a habit is a day-by-day thing. You can’t just wake up and say I’m clean,” she says.
“Black communities need to start having conversations that are tough. We see how relationships fall apart because in black households we don’t talk much about serious issues that affect us on a daily basis.”
And, no interview with Moeketsi would be complete without a question about her bae, rapper Zothile “Solo” Langa.
She blushes: “We are two happy people who are in love with each other. We enjoy our time together. Even though we’ve been together for over four years, it feels like we just met.”