The secret’s out!
Atandwa Kani is enjoying the adventure of seeing the world while pursuing his acting career
ATANDWA Kani plays Nelson Mandela at 16 in the movie Long Walk to Freedom which stars Idris Elba, to be released later this year. He will be seen soon in the play Hayani, at the Baxter Golden Arrow Studio from August 8 to 31.
How widely have you travelled?
I have been to the UK, touring with Janice Honeyman’s production of The Tempest with John Kani and Sir Antony Sher.
Locally, I have visited The Drakensberg Mountain while shooting Long Walk To Freedom, Knysna, St Francis, Jeffreys Bay, Port St John’s, “Hole in the Wall” in the Transkei, Durban, East London, Hartbeespoort Dam, Badplaas (on the set of The Ghost and the Darkness), and Howick Falls in KwaZulu-Natal.
Where was your favourite holiday or time spent abroad?
In the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. The long scenic drives (yes, we got lost and made the best of it), the resorts on the rolling hills and the culture was just amazing. I could retire there. I also really enjoyed staying in Stratford-Upon-Avon. We were performing at The Courtyard Theatre. It was my first time performing in a 1 800-seat theatre.
Your worst holiday experience?
Getting lost in the London Underground. I didn’t get off where I was supposed to. The train had reached the furthest it could go, every remaining passenger got off and so did I. I panicked and had to call a friend to come rescue me.
Another horrible experience was in the Transkei where we climbed the mountain that the Hole in the Wall is in. It was wet and slippery. When we finally got to the top, there was nothing but a 80m drop on the other side. One of my friends screamed “I’m on top of the world ma!” then she lost her footing and took a tumble. We all thought we’d lost her for sure. It was so scary. Going down that mountain was even scarier that going up. I will never do that again. Your funniest experience? Walking down the streets of Stratford with a few cast members, it had just started snowing as we arrived and none of us could stay on our feet. The road was so slippery that we all kept sliding and falling. So there we were, five South Africans in hysterics, cautiously walking as if we were on thin ice.
What do you avoid during a holiday?
I absolutely detest early wake-up calls to go sightseeing. I don’t even enjoy sightseeing. I would rather bump into these great monuments and structures, than preparing for hours to go and see them. Best meal abroad? We were invited to the South African High Commission in Trafalgar Square. They had prepared authentic South African cuisine. Being abroad for so long made that food taste like African heaven. I also enjoyed the shish kebabs from the Turkish diners. The most amazing thing you’ve ever eaten. I still crave them.
Your favourite place to have sundowners on your travels?
In Hartbeespoort Dam there is this lodge called La Montagne, it sits on the top of a mountain and overlooks the whole of Hartbees. It is an absolutely amazing experience to just sit back in their heated pool, have a glass of wine or beer, watch the sunset and be serenaded by the sound of lions roaring as they prepare for the night time.
What have you learnt from your travels?
I’ve learned how crucially important it is to love your own home and country first before embarking on a journey to a foreign land. That way you will never lose a sense of self. I’ve discovered that South Africa is the ultimate holiday destination. Go out and have fun, spend money on yourself and make it all worthwhile. Greatest travel luxury? My phone. I cannot be out of touch with the world, family and friends, especially in a foreign place. Favourite drive? This most definitely has to be the Garden Route. Dream trip? To Rio de Janeiro, for the Carnival. Now there I would do a lot of sightseeing, if you know what I mean. I would also love to go to Greece. On the beach or on a boat, eating olives, feta cheese and drinking superb wine. Where next? France, then Washington DC, LA, Philadelphia and New York … but shhhh!
TREAD CAREFULLY: Kani climbed to the top of the Hole in the Wall in Transkei.
HAVING FUN: Atandwa Kani