Khabonina Qubeka takes a break from breaking a sweat for some twists and turns in SABC1’s new political drama.
Ihawu Le Sizwe Season 1 Thursdays SABC1 20:30
High-powered political thriller Ihawu Le sizwe is going to get sA talking says leading lady Khabonina Qubeka. “The script drove me insane,” adds the actress who burst onto screens as Muvhango’s Doobsie in 2007 (Khanyi Mbau first played Doobsie from 2005). “It’s what sA needs. This is the debate that I’ve been having with family and friends… political freedom versus economic freedom. some may not like it, but it makes you think about what really happened after 1994.”
THE IRON FIXER
A fan of the shows that Ihawu Le sizwe is modelled on – prison break (2005-2009) and 24 (2001-2010) – Khabonina says that her character research took her into the minds of women in power, both fictional and in real life. “After reading the script I modelled my character Refiloe Mkhize after The Fixer’s (2008-current) Olivia pope for her ability to connect the dots, as well as sA public protector Thuli Madonsela for her calm approach to a resolution once the truth has been uncovered and a problem is identified,” she says. “I like Thuli because she finds no need to be loud and make a noise because it is what it is – the truth.”
Although Khabonina finds it refreshing playing a character who isn’t devious and conniving like Doobsie or her character Maxine on The wild (2011-2013), she has a hard time connecting with Refiloe, mainly because she finds her character emotionless. “There’s a scene where I want to comfort someone who’s crying, but I can’t. Refiloe is the kind of woman who will watch you cry and just walk away, unmoved. That was difficult for me because I’m the complete opposite.” but something Khabonina does love about Refiloe is that she needs less time in wardrobe and make-up. “powerdressing and minimal make-up means that Refiloe gets to be real and not fuss about the way she looks and she can focus on her job,” Khabonina adds.
THE TRUTH SHALL DESTROY
“sometimes the truth needs to be forced out,” says the actress. “And when it comes out, it destroys.” Much like the inspiration behind Refiloe, Khabonina’s character must uncover the truth, no matter how ugly it may be. “A lot of politicians are going to be glued to their screens.”
but while Refiloe emerges victorious in the professional battlefield, her home life leaves much to be desired. Although the show focuses more on her professional life, a peek into Refiloe’s marriage paints a picture of toxicity on the homefront. Refiloe gets married at the beginning of the show (on 17 July) and while she’s on honeymoon, the bad guys at her work – pAsA (prosecuting Authority of south Africa, a fictional version of the National prosecution Authority) – get involved in some bad stuff relating to phD student sihle Dlamini (Tumi Ngumla). “You won’t see a lot of Refiloe’s personal life. she’s like me, I like it when people ask about my job and don’t entertain questions about my private life. I like it because my work is at the forefront of everything I do.”
Khabonina’s all business with her new role.