Star WITH A CON­SCIENCE

Sindi TALKS about her 20 years on Mu­vhango

CityPress - - Front Page - NTOMBIZODWA MAKHOBA ntombizodwa@city­press.co.za

Few peo­ple re­mem­ber Sindi Dlathu’s real name. The 43year-old’s TV char­ac­ter, Than­daza, has taken over her life and iden­tity for two decades be­cause of the pop­u­lar SABC2 TshiVenda drama, Mu­vhango. Many peo­ple also don’t know that Dlathu will have been in the act­ing in­dus­try for a whop­ping 30 years next year. “In 1997, when I started act­ing in Mu­vhango, I never thought I’d be in the show for this long. But my act­ing ca­reer has grad­u­ally grown in the show,” she says. The show has grown from one episode per week to a daily soapie. “Than­daza and I grew with the show. It’s been a dream come true to be in the same soapie for two decades,” she says. The first Mu­vhango se­ries had 13 episodes and pre­miered on April 7 1997. Twenty years later, with at least 6 mil­lion view­ers, it still claims the num­ber one spot on SABC2. “It all started as a con­cept in a quest to bridge the cultural di­vide be­tween black com­mu­ni­ties and also [to elim­i­nate] lan­guage su­pe­ri­or­ity,” says Mu­vhango’s cre­ator and ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer, Duma Ndlovu. But it has not al­ways been smooth sail­ing for the show. It has gone through dif­fi­cult chal­lenges, but man­aged to pull through, Ndlovu says.

“We will con­tinue to come up with au­then­tic sto­ries that talk to com­mu­ni­ties and cre­ate in­ter­ac­tion among our view­ers. They are the life­line of the soapie’s suc­cess,” Ndlovu says.

Dressed in a green blouse with a black blazer paired with black jeans, Dlathu looks drained. “Work has been hec­tic — I haven’t rested since the be­gin­ning of the year,” she says.

Nev­er­the­less, she is look­ing dash­ing and is age­ing grace­fully. She as­cribes this to her “good genes”.

“I never planned to be where I am to­day. God planned my path. The rea­son I’m still with the show is be­cause I re­late with the story line. It’s the first show that ac­com­mo­dates all the African lan­guages. It speaks to us black peo­ple,” she says.

She de­scribes Than­daza as a woman who has been through it all. She lost her first love, a mul­ti­mil­lion­aire hus­band, forc­ing her to pull her­self up by her boot­straps and start her own busi­ness.

“She loses her loved ones all the time. Her [new] hus­band be­trays her by im­preg­nated her niece.”

She says although peo­ple close to Than­daza say she’s a strong woman, she doesn’t look at her­self as a strong per­son and feels vul­ner­a­ble.

“The strong per­son­al­ity is what Sindi and Than­daza have in com­mon.”

Two years ago, Dlathu had health scare while on set. She suf­fered from se­vere fa­tigue and was ad­mit­ted in hos­pi­tal.

“When you have three months of an emo­tional sto­ry­line, your em­ploy­ers need to give you a break to re­cov­ery emo­tion­ally. It re­ally takes a toll on you,” she says.

Asked if she ever felt she needed to leave Mu­vhango, Dlathu gives an em­phatic no. She has re­jected many of­fers be­fore. “I wouldn’t trade act­ing for any­thing. It is my first love and that’s why I’ve been do­ing it for this long.”

Although she has been act­ing all her life, she be­lieves peo­ple can have more than one talent. She en­rolled for an IT course af­ter ma­tric, but gave it up in her first year to pur­sue her act­ing ca­reer.

She has acted in Sara­fina, Khu­l­uleka, Jus­tice for All and the SABC1 drama se­ries Soul City. She has also acted in theatre pro­duc­tions such as The Game and The Suit, which earned her an FNB Vita Award for best ac­tress in 2003.

Will she ever ven­ture into work­ing be­hind the scenes, perhaps as a pro­ducer? Not in­ter­ested, she says. “Act­ing is my call­ing.”

And how has she man­aged to live a life with­out drug abuse like most stars?

“It’s the glory of God. I re­mem­ber my granny used to say a per­son needs to have a con­science. It just res­onated.”

Temp­ta­tions have al­ways been there, but her con­science has guided her and she counts her bless­ings. She is also grate­ful to the sup­port­ive peo­ple who are al­ways around her.

TALK TO US Why should Sindi stay on Mu­vhango?

SMS us on 35697 us­ing the key­word THAN­DAZA. Please in­clude your name and prov­ince. SMSes cost R1.50

Sindi Dlathu plays Than­daza on Mu­vhango

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