COVER STORY 19 years later and still going strong

With un­matched ex­pe­ri­ence, Ra­pu­lana re­mains a force to be reck­oned with

Move! - - CONTENTS - By Atha­bile Mrasi

SOUTH African tele­vi­sion that is flooded by gifted ac­tors giv­ing ex­cel­lent per­for­mances, Gen­er­a­tions ac­tor Ra­pu­lana Seiphemo (49) is never any­thing less than a joy to watch. His ex­pe­ri­ence is un­match­able as he has graced our screens for al­most 19 years. The di­ver­sity of his roles has been im­pres­sive – from Isidingo and Tsotsi to Gen­er­a­tions and Tjovitjo. His pres­ence gives any show a boost.


Noth­ing much is known about Ra­pu­lana as he is a very pri­vate per­son. Even on so­cial me­dia, he only talks about his work. If you have been won­der­ing about his love life, well, the ac­tor tied the knot with his high school sweet­heart Olga Rubeiro, a for­mer man­ager at a ma­jor bank in Mba­bane, Swazi­land, in 2003. They have three chil­dren.

With ru­mours of in­fi­delity, the two have man­aged to hold their mar­riage to­gether and make it work. Years ago, he was ac­cused of beat­ing up his mis­tress. He ad­mit­ted that the woman was his girl­friend but de­nied that he put his hand on her. “I love women and chil­dren, and I be­lieve they don’t de­serve to be abused and ill-treated. So why would I do some­thing like that? I knew the girl very well. She was my girl­friend then, but we’re no longer to­gether,” he ad­mit­ted.


Even though he was in­volved in a fa­tal ac­ci­dent last year that al­most took his life, Ra­pu­lana bounced back and still does what he is good at. Re­flect­ing on his ca­reer and his time on Mu­vhango, he says play­ing Pheko Mokoena on the soapie was one of the best times in his ca­reer.

“In my act­ing life, I think I had the most fun when I was on that set. I loved play­ing Pheko and Mu­vhango had a for­mi­da­ble team. Mu­vhango re­flects our cul­ture as black peo­ple in South Africa. They are quiet au­then­tic in their ap­proach. I re­mem­ber the lit­tle de­tails that needed to be cov­ered when we were on Mu­vhango and I ap­pre­ci­ate the way they treated their ac­tors. In most pro­duc­tions, when your mother dies, they will just give you a cooldrink and say, 'we still have 10 more scenes to go'. With Mu­vhango, it is dif­fer­ent be­cause when you ex­pe­ri­ence tragedy, they are al­ways there for you.”


Few ac­tors are able to switch from dif­fer­ent roles with ease like Ra­pu­lana. But it is in Gen­er­a­tions – The Legacy that he has made the most im­pact. His threat­en­ing de­meanour mixed with crip­pling self-doubt is at­trac­tive to watch. He tries to be a peace­ful and hon­ourable man but the hunger for power will not let him be.

Apart from be­ing Tau from Gen­er­a­tions, Ra­pu­lana is cur­rently on SABC1’s brand new lo­cal drama se­ries, Tjovitjo. In the show, he of­fers a ster­ling per­for­mance that view­ers have come to know him for. He plays a for­mer crim­i­nal king­pin, Bra Ter­ror, who is now suf­fer­ing from a hand tremor. Al­though he is in this sorry state, noth­ing stops him from be­ing in­volved in a silent con­flict with his se­cret lover, Ausi Tshidi, played by Har­riet Manamela.

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