I’m not that guy!

By Drum Digital
30 December 2010

He's had men come up to him, take off their jackets, roll up their sleeves and yell: “You want to hit someone? Hit me! I’ll sort you out!” This is the kind of thing that happens when you play a man who beats up women on the biggest TV show in the country.

For Dumisani Mbebe, playing Generations’ Dumisane Shabane means shopping malls are no longer as safe as they were. Dumisane’s abuse of Khethiwe Buthelezi (played by Winnie Modise) has made him public enemy number one with some people.

While out doing his weekend shopping, he’s had a few men challenge him to a fight – but it hasn’t all been bad. He’s also had a woman come up to him and, although he expected the worst, the encounter left him pleasantly surprised. The woman actually thanked him.

Watching the drama unfolding on Generations and seeing how Khethiwe had reported her abuse to the police spurred her into taking action of her own.

“She showed me pictures on her phone of how she looked a few weeks ago when her husband had really messed her up,” Dumisani says.

“She said to me, ‘I also phoned the police and he hasn’t touched me since. It really helped me’.”

Of the men who challenge him, he just shrugs and says resignedly, “I just walk away; what else can I do? I can’t be brawling in public with fans over something my character does. It’s wonderful that the viewers are so loyal and dedicated to the show but I’m not that person.”

Looking sexy and well-groomed in jeans, black polo neck and stylish hat, Dumisani (36), tells us 2010 was a great year for his character.

“The storylines have been very challenging and emotional, but I’ve enjoyed every second of it. Winnie is a great actress and we work very well together.”

The storylines have definitely kept viewers glued to their screens. First there were those hectic scenes with Dumisane using Khethiwe as a punching bag, followed by Khethiwe’s determination to have a baby on her own.

But of course that didn’t work after she was accidentally impregnated with Khapela’s sperm – and then there was the dilly-dallying about an abortion. It was all too much for her to cope with and she had a very dramatic breakdown that finally saw her stabbing Dumisane several times.

Filming those scenes took an emotional toll on both of them, Dumisani admits. “But I love that Generations tackles these sorts of storylines. It’s our job to address issues that affect our viewers. My personal take is that abuse, no matter what the circumstances, is never acceptable."

Read more about Dumisane in DRUM, 6 January 2011

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