These three ac­tresses may just be the next best thing on TV

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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.

TALK TO US Do you think these three ac­tresses have what it takes to be­come huge TV stars?

SMS us on 35697 us­ing the key­word STARS and tell us what you think. Please in­clude your name and prov­ince. SMSes cost R1.50

Zakes Bantwini RIS­ING STARS

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