Uzalo's Nkanyiso Makhanya on the lessons he has learned from Njeza
Nkanyiso Makhanya. (Photo: Move!)
On screen, he’s a walking cautionary tale.
Nkanyiso Makhanya (26) plays popular Njeza on SABC 1’s biggest daily soap, Uzalo.
Njeza made his first appearance on the show in February, at the start of season
five, straight out of prison.
Nkanyiso tells Move! that he hopes his character
is teaching young people that there are consequences for bad decisions.
ROLE ON UZALO
Nkululeko, known by many as Njeza, is a
20-year-old young man who is very troubled. He has just been released from
prison for the murder of his father.
His dad had abused his mom and killed her.
Angry and grieving, Njeza decided to take matters into his own hands and killed
him. He spent years in jail and is now out and wants to take care of his two younger
siblings and make sure they better life than him.
But because he’s got a criminal record,
he’s finding it hard to get a job. The youngster now feels cornered to resort
to a life of crime for survival.
Nkanyiso says there are elements he admires
about his character. “He loves his family and will not allow them to go hungry
on his watch. He is also very confident, courageous and never gives up,” says
the TV presenter.
He’s received a lot of love for his portrayal
of the troubled young man, Nkanyiso says. But he hopes people aren’t just watching
it for entertainment but are learning a thing or two from him.
“Njeza took his father’s life and he is
paying the consequences of that decision every day. He is now living a life of
crime and cannot get a job or go back to school because of his criminal record
and lack of money. If he isn’t careful he will end up exactly where he came
from – jail.”
This is Nkanyiso’s first TV acting job, but
he isn’t exactly new to our screens. He had been involved in plays from the
time he was in primary school until he was in Grade 9.
“I have always wanted to be a performer.” In
2011, while he was studying towards a degree in Communication Sciences at the
University of Zululand, the star got an internship at 1 KZN TV and not long
after that he was hired to present a youth programme.
He presented the programme for three years
and in 2015, the media personality got a gig on E. TV’s Craz-e. “The years of
presenting have taught me how to handle being famous and recognisable to the
public. I was interviewing really big names and many of them were very humble.”
In return, he learned to be humble. He’s
always wanted to be on Uzalo and, in fact, auditioned for season one in 2015,
but he didn’t make it. He didn’t give up and auditioned again when this role
“I think God was preparing me for this
role. The time was not right then. When I got the job last year, I honestly thought
my casting agent was kidding. I was excited and nervous at the same time. A lot
of the big stars on Uzalo really carry the youngsters on the show. They give
good advice and are helpful. I feel blessed.”