Muvhango’s Kukie opens up

By Drum Digital
23 December 2010

SO HERE we are, expecting her to do a Kukie and pull a trademark faces or typical "don't touch me" gesture. You know, the way she'd hold off lovesick KK and have him literally begging her to grace him with some of her time.

But we're in for a surprise: Simphiwe Mkhize, the 30-year-old actress who plays the deaf attorney in SABC2's Muvhango, is nothing like the no-nonsense lawyer who's being pursued by businessman KK (who's neglected to tell her he's actually married – estranged, yes, but married).She's warm, friendly and clearly very together. "That's the thing with people – when they meet me they expect to see Kukie," she says, via sign language through an interpreter she's brought along to the interview.

"Most people get confused between my on-screen persona and who I really am. Others don't believe I'm really deaf – they think I'm just acting the part."

But the gorgeous star is profoundly deaf and communicates through sign language or writing. "People sometimes expect me to lip-read but it doesn't work for me." She's also not comfortable using her voice, unless she's with people who know her well, such as her family and close friends.

So if she doesn't have her interpreter with her, she'll whip out her notebook and ask her fans to write down their questions. People often ask her about her goings-on with the fearsome KK (played by McDonald Ndou) and give her a hard time for hanging out with someone so ruthless. They also ask her whether she's really a trained attorney. "I'm not, of course," she says, "but it's flattering they should think so."

Simphiwe has no shortage of fans. On the day of our shoot there's a mini scramble in the parking lot as soon as she steps out of her French runabout – a bunch of guys trying to corner her for hugs and handshakes.

"It happens all the time," she says when she's finally free. "Men come up to me and say, 'Come, I'll show you this and that'. Then they say I'm beautiful and they want to marry me. That gets irritating after a while."

Still, you can't really blame them – Simphiwe is gorgeous. She's loads of fun too and is game for anything during our shoot. As she works it for the camera even her interpreter, Delphin Hlungwane, admires some of her poses.

"This is my sort of look," the actress says, eyeing a garment the stylist has picked for her. "I think I'm fat, so I have to be careful how I dress." Fat? Is she mad? Curvy, maybe, but that's about it.

"I'm also big on jewellery," she adds. "I've got lots at home – it makes me feel bright because I'm a bright person naturally." Now that's a statement we can agree with.

SIMPHIWE has come a long way since she first appeared on the DTV (Deaf TV) magazine programme on SABC3 almost 13 years ago. "That's how I got my break," she says. "I was an actor in a few productions there and I presented too. I was also an interpreter for the SABC2's magazine show Zwahashu.

Read the full article in DRUM of 6 January 2011

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