JB Bogatsu (Shona Ferguson) has a lot to deal with in season 4 of Rockville – from being shot, to getting divorced and winding up flat-broke. “Where JB is, is the extreme,” explains Shona of his character’s season 4 journey. “He has lost it all, including the most important thing in any human being’s life – family. He literally has nothing. I have never been in this kind of situation because I have always had family. I found it emotionally draining when I performed some scenes because I couldn’t imagine being in a place where there’s no love and support from loved ones.
At the start of the season, once the drama with Diliza has been handled, what does JB want? To be left alone. He feels that he is a failure and that anything and anyone close to him gets hurt. What did you think of JB’s Hillbrow flat and what was it based on? I loved shooting there because, as an actor, it took me to that place of loneliness and poverty. The idea was to put JB in a world that our audience has never seen him in. What about JB changes when he’s down and out… and what stays the same? He has always been a man who will do whatever it takes to protect his own. When everyone deserted him, he didn’t feel the need to protect anyone, including himself. But when he had reason to fight again, the same old JB was back in action. This time he has a lot more to prove. He wants to redeem himself. He even tries to fix things with his daughter Mpho (Boity Thulo). He starts feeling the pressure that his past will always come back to haunt him. This makes his journey to redemption even harder. Was it difficult to shoot the scenes where JB is poor? It’s always great when you’re taken out of your comfort zone, so this was interesting. It wasn’t foreign though – I have personally experienced not having much to survive on and it’s the most depressing and lonely place for a human being. What makes it possible for JB to rise again and what does he learn about himself during that time? He is and will always be a fighter. But family will always be something that is most important to him. When he sees the possibility of having his son in his life again and possibly reconnecting with his daughter, he gives it his all. He also loves Lindi and he struggles to move on without her. What are JB’s concerns when Vicky runs the Club Paradise idea by him? Initially it’s a big “no!” It’s very close to the brothel and he doesn’t want any part of it. JB believes that the brothel is the main cause of everything that went wrong in his life, so he resists this from the getgo. What changes his mind is the fact the club gives him the opportunity to make a lot of money fast. Entertaining is something that he’s very good at. He sees the club as a “cleaner” place than the brothel, safer and more above board. Of course, it comes with its own challenges, which he quickly realises. His main agenda is to make money and provide for his family… something he hasn’t been able to do for a long time. It’s a means to an end. Did you know much about the strip club world yourself? I have never been to a strip club in my life, so learning about the world in my research was very interesting. The first time that I set foot in a strip club was when we were shooting Rockville. I made the decision to perform from a businessman point of view and not necessarily from a strip club owner point of view. Even when JB owned the brothel, he was always the caring type of boss who was protective and nurturing, which is the irony. It’s the quality he has that makes the audience forgiving towards the character: the audience can relate to his motives even when they don’t understand the choices he makes. And how would you define JB’s journey this season? It’s a journey to redemption. To be honest, I admire the man’s strength and resilience. The more he tries to do good, bad just keeps knocking at his door. He keeps going but everyone has a breaking point. This season is the true test of how much he can take.