SOLDIERING ON Actress thrives in spite of
WHILE growing up, TV actress, Nomzamo Mbatha lost her grandmother and her father, people she loved dearly.
But at the time of their deaths, the 28-year-old media personality did not receive counselling because she was not exposed to it.
But if losing her father, Skuta Nxumalo, and grandmother, MaMjoli Nxumalo, was not tragic enough, Mbatha then lost her older sister Matu Dlamini and her cousin Carla Pereira, who committed suicide just as Nomzamo’s acting career was starting to blossom with a lead role in on DSTV’s Mzansi Magic.
This week the KwaMashu-born actress graduated with a bachelor of commerce degree in accounting.
Mbatha motivated and left many people inspired when during her graduation at the University of Cape Town she wore a dress with the faces of those closest to her on it and the toll free number for the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag).
She said she too had suffered depression before seeking professional help.
That was why she had Johannesburg-based designer Vanessa Gounden make the dress.
It also carries the words: resilience, courage and overcome, a message to those suffering with mental illness, that they could overcome with resilience, courage and by seeking professional help.
Mbatha said the experiences could have broken her, but they made her stronger.
“I think black communities do not tackle post traumatic disorder and anxiety,” she said.
“After losing a family member we just move on but the truth is, we suffer silently.
At the universities there are many students who suffer from depression but do not seek help because they don’t know where they can get help,” she said.
Mbatha survived the pain of losing grandmother, sister and cousin.
“I am saying there are avenues like Sadag, so let us use them and not suffer in silence.
“I have suffered from depression as well, I have a sister who took her life.
“It is time that we deal with depression and anxiety, I am asking everyone who suffers to seek help,” said Mbatha.
Sadag director Cassey Chambers said they were surprised by the gesture and had received an increase in the number of calls from people seeking help since Wednesday.
“We found out through social media, we were surprised and appreciated her contribution in raising awareness.
“It was a cool gesture, you could see how much it meant to her.
“We are experiencing an increase in callsto our call centre from people seeking help and also their loved ones.
“It really showed how powerful Nomzamo is as an influencer,” said Chambers.
Mbatha said despite her busy schedule, which includes acting, presenting and being an ambassador for a German automotive company, she had made time to attend classes and had to take time to study while on flights and in hotels around the world.
Designer Gounden took three weeks to complete the dress, said Mbatha. Meanwhile, Mbatha also honoured the late “mother of the nation”, Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. “She passed away just before my graduation. I was forever honouring that woman because of her contribution to the country. My grandmother named me Nomzamo after her. “When I was born in 1990, she was literally holding the country on her shoulders, she was an iconic figure in South Africa,” said Mbatha. She was shocked by the loss of Mama Winnie and revealed that she had made plans to spend time with Madikizela-Mandela’s granddaughter Zoleka in the past weekend, but this did not materialise.“I was sad to hear of Mama Winnie’s passing because I had sent a message to Zoleka that I was going to see them on Sunday, but unfortunately it didn’t happen. When I walked onto that stage (at UCT), I remembered that the reason a black girl is able to walk that stage is because of her,” said Mbatha, who raised her fists in the air in front of thousands of students and academics.
SURVIVOR: Nomzamo Mbatha’s pain of losing dear ones one after the other triggered her activist character. Actress celebrates her achievement in a campaign