Sindi plays the villain

2017-12-17 08:35

Johannesburg - Sindi Dlathu will finally be playing the villain for the first time in her 20-year acting career.

The actress will star opposite Hlomla Dandala in a new flagship telenovela, The River. The show will air on 29 January on the soon-to-launch channel, 1Magic (DStv 103) that is replacing Vuzu AMP.

Dlathu’s new role follows speculation that she would join Mzansi Magic after she left SABC2’s Muvhango two months ago.

In her new show, Dlathu plays Lindiwe, an evil mining guru who steps on toes on her rise up the corporate ladder.

“Lindiwe is challenging me as an actress. It’s such a heavy character that needs my soul and spirit. It feels like we’re shooting a movie, but at the same time it’s fulfilling and fun and pushing me to the limit,” she says.

The show is about two different worlds: on one side of the river, the upper crust lives in exquisite mansions, while the other side is inhabited by the exploited “common folk” who constantly toil with little to show for it.

“I could not put the script down; it felt as if I was reading a good book,” she says. When she read it the first time, she was concerned about whether her acting would match the standard of the writing.

“I hope I am doing justice to this character and I am giving it my all.”

Meanwhile, another of the show’s actresses is switching from playing the bad woman to playing the good woman.

Moshidi Motshegwa, who played superbitch Naomi in Rhythm City, plays the role of Malefu, a widow who is her family’s strength.

Both she and Dlathu agree that South Africa is not like the US, where actors are handsomely paid.

“The truth about this industry is that we are not making millions and my lifestyle reflects that. I do not have an agent, I am my own agent.”

Motshegwa says actors now earn far less than they did 25 years ago.

“They will pay what they think you deserve. You’ll earn what you’ve negotiated and that’s when the production will compromise.”

She says fans must differentiate between actors, TV presenters and celebrities, because they aren’t in the same category.

“I know that these days one needs to have a huge following on social media. But to me, 2 million viewers doesn’t necessarily relate to money.”

She decries the fact that the better looking actresses get the roles, even if they are not as talented.

“We need to get over the pretty era. Can we cast the person who looks the part, acts the part, and deserves the part? Can we stop pushing beauty over talent?”

Motshegwa has been spending time behind the scenes, working on the fourth season of US TV series Black Sails.

Of her new gig, she says: “For me this is a refreshing role. It’s the role I’ve been waiting for, this is everything I could have asked for.”

Her advice to aspiring actors is: “A lot of young people want to be on TV, but we also have look at the reality. The industry isn’t big enough for all of us – unless you love acting and this is what you were meant to do.

“But, believe me, at some point the industry will frustrate you, it won’t give the money you feel you deserve.”

The River was conceptualised by another Muvhango alumnus, Phathutshedzo Makwarela, who became the show’s head writer in 2007.

Since then, he has written other hits such as Mzansi Magic’s drama series Igazi, The Queen and Rockville, as well as SABC1’s Skeem Saam and Uzalo.

This is the first time he is the executive producer of his own show.

Before The River was commissioned, he pitched others, but says they were rejected so many times that he has lost count.

(Photos: Mzansi Magic)

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