The affairs of women
Nelson Dlamini speaks to two actresses in Home Affairs, a drama series on SABC 1
THE SERIES has earned both international and national acclaim, with two Emmy Award nominations (2007 and 2008 for Best Drama) as well as being rated as one of the best local productions yet.
Two of the most interesting characters in Home Affairs (SABC 1 on Thursdays at 8.30pm) are Thandeka (Baby Cele), who plays a successful career woman who runs Young Blood, a youth empowerment agency, and Vuyo (Brenda Ngxoli), a tomboyish rural girl who, through her skill with the discus, won a bursary to attend varsity and develop her sporting prowess. Brenda has done such a sterling job with her character that it earned her an Emmy nomination for Best Actress in 2007.
Thandeka’s character was formerly played by Nthati Moshesh, and Baby, who shot to fame as Katlego in Backstage, an e.tv soapie, has quickly made the part her own.
In the conversation with the two ladies below, we find out more about them and their characters. Describe yourselves? Baby: I’m a very outspoken and proud black South African woman who also loves and fears God.
Brenda: I’m a person who loves being loved. I want to make people happy and I like people to have a positive opinion of me. I’m very truthful, which annoys some people sometimes. Where do you come from? Baby: I was born and grew up in C Section Umlazi and I moved to Jo’burg because of work. I am married and have decided to settle in Jozi. I still drive to Durban every two months because that’s where my roots are.
Brenda: Well, I’m a product of the migrant work system. My mom was a maid and so I grew up emajalidini (at employers’ homes).
How does it feel being part Home Affairs?
Baby: I couldn’t be prouder! And I’ve learnt a lot.
Brenda: Being part of a programme that aims to open a dialogue in our societies is always a pleasure. Describe your characters? Baby: Thandeka is too serious and she bottles things up. She’s a powerful and hard-working career woman, but I think she needs to learn how to relax a bit. She’s too uptight and it affects her happiness.
Brenda: Vuyo represents many young black women in our society. What she goes through is quite common among us. There is a lot of pain and suffering among the woman of Mzansi and there aren’t enough platforms to help them deal with their troubles.
What have you learnt from your characters?
Baby: That it’s very important to open up and talk about your issues. Whatever happens in your life, do not allow yourself to be alienated from your family, because you are going to need them.
Brenda: That people, more often than not, do not deal with their emotions in an ideal way. The way we handle challenges is often not the best way.
What makes Home Affairs so special?
Baby: It can be accredited to the fact that the creators have invested a lot in ensuring that it is the best. They don’t mind spending a month with all of us in the team just to brainstorm ideas without actually shooting, and paying us in the process. It is that kind of dedication that makes Home Affairs special.
Brenda: It deals with what many of us go through and witness on a daily basis. It is this relation that draws people. The cast consists of dedicated artists who are not necessarily famous TV faces, but are brilliant at what they do. Why should we watch it? Baby: It is a brilliant local production dealing with issues affecting women of different races, age groups and who come from different backgrounds. It has been created by a passionate female producer who is dealing with a subject close to her heart.
Brenda: For every one of us there is something to relate to. It addresses issues which we sometimes avoid expressing and dealing with. Through watching the characters making wrong and right decisions in their lives, the viewers are given the opportunity to reflect on themselves and do things better.