The Leading Ladies Of TV
Bona|October 2019
Fundiswa Nkwanyana sat down with some of the most talented actresses in SA right now and had an honest conversation about their love for acting, memorable encounters with fans and the importance of the Performers’ Protection Amendment Bill.
Fundiswa Nkwanyana

I ’m usually nervous ahead of an interview, but on this day, I am excited. I feel connected to these women even though we have never met. And, this is because I spend a lot of time watching their characters on TV. As a little girl, I used to admire the fashionable clothes worn by Thoko, played by Thembi, in the popular 90s sitcom ’Sgudi ’Snaysi, and I have been watching Reneilwe, played by Amo, since her character was in high school; she is now all grown up and working. I also sympathise with Boniswa, played by Lusanda, because I understand why she will do anything to protect her family while Wandi’s character of Nomzingeli has me questioning what I would do for power. When I finally meet them on set at the cover shoot, they are in high spirits and eager to talk to me. It’s been a long day, but we still share jokes and chuckle like old friends.

A CAREER IN STORYTELLING

I chose to be a writer because I’m intrigued by people’s stories, and enjoy watching actors bring the written word to life. This is why the first order of discussion is getting to know why the actresses chose this career path.

Thembi: My late grandmother challenged me to create my own stories and introduced me to storytelling. As I grew older, I looked for platforms to tell stories, and found myself acting in theatre productions with no training; just passion. This opened doors for me, and I ended up carving out a career as a TV actress. Back then, this was hard because white people told our stories and dictated our storylines. I’m glad that this has since changed. I recently received the prestigious Living Legends Award at the 2019 National Theatre Festival in the US, and this was humbling because I never thought that I would receive it.

Amo: I chose this career because I’ve always loved to entertain and make people laugh. I love that acting gives me a platform to do this while telling a story. I knew that I wanted to be an actress when I watched the film Sarafina! – I was fascinated by the acting, singing and dancing, and wanted to be a part of it. From then on, I worked hard, studied musical theatre and followed my dream until I became the actress I am today.

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