Man Oh Man – Mpho Sebeng

MPHO SEBENG, 25, has been act­ing for 12 years and at­tributes this long-last­ing re­la­tion­ship to his deep-rooted pas­sion for sto­ry­telling. The The Throne ac­tor gets can­did with us


I al­most went into pol­i­tics, but my stud­ies at Wits Univer­sity didn’t work out. This hap­pened dur­ing the height of the #FeesMustFa­ll move­ment, which af­fected my cred­its badly. I re­mem­ber go­ing to my lec­turer to query my mark on a phi­los­o­phy test and while there, a stone came fly­ing through the win­dow. I had an epiphany in that mo­ment — I didn’t need that de­gree be­cause I al­ready had all the knowl­edge I needed.

Ap­par­ently, I’m wise be­yond my years. Peo­ple al­ways de­scribe me as that guy who bumps hip-hop beats, then turns around and quotes great philoso­phers [chuck­les].

I got into act­ing be­cause grow­ing up, I loved re-en­act­ing what­ever played on TV. My grand­dad worked at Uni­ver­sal, so he’d bring me movies ev­ery month. I guess that’s where my love for films stems from. I per­formed in a play in pri­mary school and my mom in­vited her friend to come and watch me. The friend re­ferred me to an agency, and I’ve been act­ing ever since.

My first act­ing gig was on Zero Tol­er­ance, at age 12. It didn’t feel like work at all be­cause I was on a nat­u­ral high. It lit­er­ally felt like I was play­ing around — and oh, I loved the at­ten­tion and cook­ies that I got on set [chuck­les]. Act­ing has been a roller-coaster ride. I’m young, with am­ple op­por­tu­ni­ties that lie ahead of me and I’m try­ing my best not to be type­cast. In fact, I’d rather walk away from a pro­duc­tion if it isn’t chal­leng­ing enough. My favourite act­ing role so far is

a tie be­tween three. I loved play­ing Nkosi on Saint and Sin­ners be­cause I could ref­er­ence a guy I knew in high school, so that made ex­e­cut­ing his story su­per fun. I en­joyed the re­search that went into build­ing my psy­cho­pathic char­ac­ter, Lebo on Z’bondiwe. Neo on Ring of Lies was a dream come true lead role. Ring of Lies was my ‘Rocky’

mo­ment. I loved the Rocky fran­chise and knew ev­ery­thing about it. When Ring of Lies hap­pened, it felt like my prayers were an­swered be­cause I re­mem­bered a con­ver­sa­tion I had with a friend just be­fore au­di­tion­ing for the part. I told him that my big­gest wish that year was to take on an ath­letic role as that would be mo­ti­va­tion to start work­ing on my body. Six months later, the Ring of Lies au­di­tions were an­nounced. My re­la­tion­ship with hip-hop is mad real. I love the cul­ture and fol­low the genre’s key play­ers, both lo­cally and in­ter­na­tion­ally. I love the sto­ries told through the genre, and just think­ing about the im­pact artists like No­to­ri­ous B.I.G. and

Tupac grow­ing I get out had up, of is my in­sane. bed dad ev­ery had But his I morn­ing also own ap­pre­ci­ate mu­sic with store. other ease, gen­res know­ing be­cause that each to my day dreams. presents Also, an­other my mom op­por­tu­nity would lose her for mind me to if get I were closer to de­cide to get up not and to wake write up be­cause early [chuck­les]. I’d like to de­velop If I’m not my on own set, scripts I need some­day. Not reach­ing I want to or do ex­ceed­ing far more than my I full can po­ten­tial fathom. They is my say big­gest when fear. you know that you’re des­tined for great­ness, your po­ten­tial will com­plete con­tinue un­til to you haunt suc­ceed. you. There­fore, you will not rest or feel My friends fam­ily are and my the big­gest tight cir­cle sup­port of struc­ture. All the friends I re­gard as close are peo­ple I grew up with. They keep me grounded by re­mind­ing me who I am be­cause they ob­vi­ously knew me be­fore the fame. If en­ter­tain­ment didn’t work out, I’d go into busi­ness. Or maybe I’d try my hand at be­ing a priest, which is weird be­cause I have a love-hate re­la­tion­ship with Chris­tian­ity and re­li­gion. The ha­tred is largely in­formed by the pas­tors who take ad­van­tage of peo­ple’s faith, naivety and des­per­a­tion for sal­va­tion. Just like any other black child, my grand­mother would drag me to church ev­ery Sun­day. I still go to church for mo­ti­va­tion, not the re­li­gious as­pect. When ev­ery­thing gets a bit much, I ei­ther cry, hit the gym, run or drive out. I let out steam by do­ing one of these ac­tiv­i­ties.

The last time I cried was when I went through a friend­ship breakup.

I just couldn’t deal with how things had turned out be­tween us. I al­ways feel ev­ery­thing deeply, which is both a gift and a curse. I used to shy away from cry­ing be­cause it’s sup­pos­edly an un­manly thing to do. When I’m feel­ing re­ally down, I’ll cry be­cause I live in my head a lot and over­think things. Love, for me, is the truth. It en­com­passes ev­ery­thing be­cause you can get far with money, but fur­ther with love.

Be­ing on The Throne has been re­ally awe­some. I love play­ing a com­moner, and be­ing in love with some­one of royal sta­tus mir­rors many real-life cir­cum­stances that we find our­selves in. Just like with any other thing, in life, where you might not be seen as the per­fect fit, go for what you want and in­fil­trate those spa­ces re­gard­less. The main les­son I learnt from my char­ac­ter is to tri­umph over ad­ver­sity and to never lis­ten to naysay­ers.

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