Thuthuka Mthembu

What’s go­ing on in your favourite ac­tress’s head?

TV Plus (South Africa) - - Q & A -

Thuthuka Mthembu has been a hit since she ar­rived on screen as Uzalo’s (2015- cur­rent, see p14) Nonka in De­cem­ber 2018. It’s the 20-year- old’s first- ever TV role but you’d never know be­cause she is killing it in SA’s big­gest soapie, whether she is sell­ing veg­gies or launch­ing a lo­cal rev­o­lu­tion. But, of course, this isn’t her first brush with tele­vi­sion – she has been on our side of the screen for­ever! We had ques­tions…

What was the first TV show you acted out with friends?

It must have been the orig­i­nal Gen­er­a­tions (1994-2014). There was al­ways some­one want­ing to be Karabo (Con­nie Ferguson) and some­one want­ing to be Queen (So­phie Nd­aba) or Ntombi (So­nia Sed­ibe). I wanted to be Karabo.

Who was your first TV crush? Oh my gosh! This is so many years ago. My real-real crush was an SABC1 pre­sen­ter on YO.TV – the Bat­tle Sta­tions host Ka­belo “KB” Moreni. He was re­ally cool.

What did you do when an adult mo­ment came on while you were watch­ing TV with fam­ily?

I would just quickly look away or get up off the couch to have a glass of wa­ter. Then when you’re older, the sec­ond you show any kind of in­ter­est like your heart rate changes or your breath­ing, you look guilty. You must sit and act normal.

What prod­uct have you wanted ever since you saw it on TV?

It was prob­a­bly the Baby Born doll (Thuthuka starts singing the ad­ver­tise­ment jin­gle): “Baaaby Born, Ba-by Born!”

Whose TV wardrobe do you want? Bo­nang Matheba on her re­al­ity se­ries Being Bo­nang (2017- cur­rent). She was so cool. She still is, of course. She’s so fly. She is That Girl, so…

Whose TV house would you love to live in?

You’ve seen Trevor Noah’s house, right? The $20 mil­lion (R288 mil­lion) man­sion in Bel Air. That would be nice to live in.

What shows are you fa­nat­i­cal about now?

Of course I watch Uzalo ev­ery sin­gle night. I watch The Queen (2016- cur­rent on Mzansi Magic), I am watch­ing Being Bo­nang. I am watch­ing Big Lit­tle Lies (2017, on Show­max), Pretty Lit­tle Liars (2010-2017, on Net­flix) and In­se­cure (2016- cur­rent) and Grown-ish (2018- cur­rent). With Grown-ish, it’s so nice to see young peo­ple have their say. We’re kind of a lost gen­er­a­tion but shows like Grown-ish prove that we are aware of what’s go­ing on and we’re in­volved. There isn’t enough room for us to say much or to do much.

If you worked be­hind the scenes, what job would you want?

I would def­i­nitely be di­rect­ing. I’m do­ing my third year at var­sity, ma­jor­ing in writ­ing and di­rect­ing. Work­ing on Uzalo, it’s dif­fer­ent. It’s so much a learning ex­pe­ri­ence.

Which char­ac­ter is your favourite hero and why?

Jack in drama show This Is Us (2016- cur­rent). It was sad see­ing how he died. He was alive, then he was just dead.

What is your night­mare sce­nario while film­ing?

Hav­ing some­thing fall on me! Like a huge light. These things do hap­pen.

With all the re­boots hap­pen­ing, what se­ries would you re­boot and be part of?

I would say Gen­er­a­tions, but that’s had enough make-overs. I think Scandal! (2005- cur­rent) be­cause I re­ally en­joy it; it just needs a bit of a kick.

If you could play any char­ac­ter on any show, who would it be?

I would love to be a new char­ac­ter on Grown-ish, a fresh African face. That’s my dream – I’m putting it out there!

What show and episode made you cry most re­cently?

Film­ing Nonka makes me cry ev­ery day. It gets a bit emo­tional. Let’s say The Queen’s sto­ry­line with Good­ness Mabuza (Ze­nande Mfenyana), her being raped by her boyfriend and hav­ing to tell her mom at the end of Jan­uary. This is such a re­al­ity, when consent isn’t given, it’s not okay, re­gard­less of your ca­pac­ity in the re­la­tion­ship – whether it’s your boyfriend, your hus­band, what­ever. It’s a very dif­fi­cult thing to get around. It’s a re­al­ity for a lot of peo­ple in South Africa. It was re­ally emo­tional to watch. What show made you want to be an ac­tor? I don’t know how to an­swer this be­cause I never thought I’d be an ac­tor! I didn’t think I could do that. I used to pre­tend I was a pre­sen­ter when I was a child. And if you could change one thing about Nonka… She is a well-rounded, gen­er­ous per­son. She has for­given her aunt, she shows love in­stead of hate. She is brave. I wouldn’t change any­thing! She can stand up for the things that she does.

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