International success for ‘Noni’
Khabonina Qubeka couldn’t believe her eyes when an email popped into her inbox informing her that she had won the Indie Spirit Best Actress gong at the Boston International Film Festival this week. Qubeka, whose starring role as Dora in the film Dora’s Peace, thought: “This can’t be me!” Now she is set to be seen on more international screens this week when the film is shown at the Beijing International Film Festival. Qubeka (36), who plays the role of Noni Zamdela on SABC3’s Isidingo, says she only believed she won after the film’s director and producer, Kosta Kalarytis, sent her a picture of an award bag. So, is there any money in the bag? She laughs: “I don’t know, we’ll see.”
Qubeka’s second movie, called She is King, will be out in June.
In Dora’s Peace, Qubeka plays a Hillbrow sex worker who shields a gifted young boy from violence.
“I’m happy that it was my first movie and it received a great reception. I feel like it’s going to be a movie that will live on,” she says. But she is sad that it’s only abroad where film buffs are giving her recognition.
“Sometimes, I do wish I was receiving the same love from home. But at home there’s too much politics that comes with it,” she says.
Qubeka says she learnt from the film that she should stop judging people for the decisions they’ve made. “A sex worker is not only someone on a street corner, but can be anyone. When I was doing my research, I discovered that even a woman who has a nine-to-five job can be a sex worker after work to make extra money.”