Noks: I’m in a great space!

By Drum Digital
05 January 2011

SHE’S had her fair share of drama – drug abuse, hanging out with the wrong crowd, unwanted pregnancy, abortion... Seems just when she’s about to clean up her act – go to medical school, for instance – something comes along to put her back in her family’s bad books.

Which makes you wonder: what on Earth does the new year hold for Rhythm City’s Tshidi Khuse? There’s never a dull moment when she’s around and Nokuthula Ledwaba, who’s been playing the lead character on e.tv’s flaghip soapie since it began in 2007, has grown very fond of her character.

She makes mistakes but deep down she’s just a little girl who wants to make her family happy – which is why she hid her unwanted pregnancy and subsequent abortion from them.

The 28-year-old actress’ personal feelings on abortion are straightforward: people should be able to make their own decisions without being judged for their choice. “But we must encourage people to condomise,” she says. “The storyline touched on an important issue.”

Now there’s something else the gorgeous young star believes Rhythm City should tackle: HIV/Aids – and she isn’t just saying that because she believes it’s her civic duty to heighten awareness. Aids is an issue close to her heart: she lost her biological mother, Nancy Matanda, to the condition five years ago – and today for the first time she opens up about her painful past.

Noks’ relationship with her mother was a complicated one. She had to overcome abandonment issues, anger and resentment before she could finally find it in her heart to forgive the woman who gave birth to her. But just as she was moving up the career ladder and planning a better life for the two of them, Nancy passed away.

“She was ill for two years, in and out of hospital,” Noks recalls. “She became really ill in 2005, when the health department ran out of ARVs and she was on a waiting list to receive the drug. She died while waiting.”

And Noks’ dream of the two of them living in a comfortable house she would buy for them was not to be.

NANCY left Nokuthula and her brothers when Noks was just two years old. Noks believes her mother simply couldn’t cope anymore. Her husband, Noks’ dad, had passed away, leaving her to care for the three children on her own.

“She woke up one morning, left to look for a job and never returned,” Noks says. “She couldn’t find work and I think she was scared to come home without a job.”

If Nancy had had a supportive family who had given her stability and encouraged her to get an education, she would have been a different woman, the actress believes.

Noks then went to live with Nancy’s aunt, Grace Ledwaba, while her brothers were entrusted to members of their father’s family. “We didn’t see much of our mother for a long time,” Noks says. “But I have a vivid memory of her laughing so hard the first time she heard Selaelo Selota’s popular song Thrr... Phaa! She had a very distinctive cackle. She was a beautiful lady.”

She remembers her mother – with a new child in tow – visiting her at Grace’s house in Soshanguve, near Pretoria, and bringing Noks’ favourite: salt and vinegar chips.

Read the full article in DRUM of 13 January 2011

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