TAKING MZANSI BY STORM
These three actresses may just be the next best thing on TV
Social media has been abuzz with three young actresses who have stolen Mzansi Magic viewers’ hearts. City Press talked to Thuso Mbedu (25), Makgotso M (22) and Michelle Mosalakae (22), who have taken Mzansi by storm and who have increased their tremendous support from fans and built up a large following on social media. We asked them about their trials and tribulations in their acting careers and what gave them strength.
IsiThunzi star Mbedu has scored her first nomination in the introductory DStv Mzansi Viewers’ Choice Awards. This is a brand-new awards show by M-Net’s Mzansi Magic, in partnership with DStv, to kick-start next month.
Mbedu has been nominated for Best Actress alongside Lorcia Cooper, Dawn King Thandeka, Msasa Mbangeni and Vatiswa Ndara.
Asked how she felt about the nomination, Mbedu said: “I am truly humbled to be recognised and nominated alongside amazing, legendary actresses that are not even my peers and who have been doing this for such a long period.”
She said that the news would probably only sink in on the day of the awards. She said she was hopeful she’d win because of the enormous support she had been receiving from her hometown – Port Elizabeth.
“The other day, a friend from back home told me that, despite being broke, she managed to vote over 20 times for me by phone.”
But it has not been an easy journey for the actress. She recalled going without a job for three months.
Fortunately, she had saved up enough money to pay her rent.
“This was a trying time for me that almost broke me, but I came out stronger.”
During this time, she decided that she would no longer sit around and wait to be called for a job. She started her own company and created her own work.
“I registered my own company called Just Zulu Productions where I work with a number of people who are working with me “free of charge” to create captivating stories. I am writing my own scripts and teaching myself how to edit,” she said.
She is being mentored by experienced writers and actors, including Amanda Lane and Sdumo Mtshali, who are also involved in her upcoming film and series that are still in their early production stages.
Makgotso M – her real surname is Monyemokathoe – described her break into the industry as fraught with challenges.
“I was living in a land of nos and now I am in my season of yeses,” she says.
The young actress, who only landed her first big role in 2016, in Muvhango, said she was glad that she didn’t decide to go back to the UK when her mother asked her to do so.
“I left South Africa in the early 2000s when my mum got a job in England.”
Makgotso was only 11 years old at the time. She said that she felt like a foreigner in the UK.
“There is this romanticised idea about being abroad and it is total bliss. But the reality is, if you go abroad now, you are a foreigner. There are struggles that come with being a foreigner.”
After completing her degree in film and television, she decided to come back to South Africa to pursue her dream of being an actress.
“I have always wanted to go back home because this is where I belong. You put on television in England and 90% of the people are white. You watch a soapie and you can literally count how many black people there are.”
Upon her arrival in South Africa she went from working temporary jobs in promotions to being a production assistant working behind the scenes, because she got rejected a number of times, she said.
She started off with small roles in sitcoms such as The Perfect Family and Ayanda, before snagging her first big role in Muvhango in 2016. From there, everything came together for her.
“The industry is really opening up for young, fresh talent. There is so much new talent and it’s exciting to watch.
“And no, I don’t feel that I am closing the door on other people at all. I’ve learnt to rise above my challenges. Michelle Mosalakae, who recently graduated with honours in drama from Rhodes University, is the latest addition to the Zulu-dominated telenovela Isibaya.
She told City Press she did not expect to get her role as Zakithi on Isibaya “so soon after completing school”.
“I started going for auditions at the end of January this year and I got a callback at the end of March and we started shooting immediately. I really feel that it was God’s grace. I was nervous and I never imagined that it would happen so quickly for me.”
Asked how she was dealing with her new stardom, Mosalakae said she was not going to allow it to change who she is.
“I am trying my best to learn about the industry and all that comes with it. I definitely don’t want to get lost in it.
“I see it as a way to intensify my craft ... and to build my character as a human being.”
She said she still maintained a good relationship with her friends and family who have kept her grounded.
The Mabopane-bred star also insisted that her being an albino did not mean that she was given preferential treatment.
“I do not see myself as a victim and I do not behave like one. The way I carry myself has allowed people to not focus on it and look at it as a disadvantage, but rather embraced me.”
She said the opportunity has opened doors to many great projects she is currently involved with, which she cannot disclose yet.
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