Chit Chat: Jafta Mamabolo

2011-06-10 14:52

He plays the troubled Matthew on Generations, who is learning to live with his HIV-positive status. But in real life, LESLEY MOFOKENG meets a reserved, polite and unassuming young man Jafta Mamabolo

Who is Jafta?

Jafta is a 23-year-old Sagittarius from Ga-Masemola in Limpopo. He is an artist first and anything else comes after.

Your character in Generations, Matthew, kissed Queen. How does it feel to kiss an older woman?
It was complex because it wasn’t about the kiss per se.

There are so many technicalities that go into it, such as camera angle, direction and dialogue.

And it was my first day at work. It was daunting. There was no time to enjoy it.

Do you get indecent proposals from older women now?
A couple of weeks ago, I was at the Wits Theatre and the ladies in the kitchen asked me for a picture. One of the older women pushed me against the wall and demanded a kiss because she saw me kiss Queen.

You once harboured dreams of becoming a fashion designer. Have you given up on that dream?
No, there’s currently something in the pipeline. I should have it up and running in the next few months.

I am just sorting out a few logistics.

You were in Jerusalema. How has the transition been from film to a soapie?

Soapies are more of a factory line.

Things are done in a certain way and you know what’s gonna happen next.

With movies, it’s different because things are a lot more spontaneous. You have time to get to know your character more in a soapie, while in a film you have to know your story from the get-go.

How are you dealing with your overnight success since joining Generations?
There’s been a lot of preparation. It hasn’t come as too much of a shock.

It’s different now because Generations has a cult-like following and the audiences get fully involved.

What’s the biggest challenge playing a carefree, HIV-positive young man on Generations?
It’s not really a challenge because there aren’t more mysteries and surprises when it comes to HIV.

It’s a bit of a blessing because people don’t wanna be preached to. People feel like they are part of the story and the character.

What do you wish the public knew about you?
I am not Matthew and I haven’t forgotten to take my ARVs.

I am not Lucky Kunene (the character Jafta played in the film Jerusalema) so I am not gonna go hijack a car with you.

Name three things you can’t live without.

My BlackBerry, my sketch pad and my flatmate.

I don’t know where my head would be if it wasn’t for The Gabi.

When last were you star-struck?
Last July. I saw actor Will Ferrell at the robots in Beverly Hills when I was in LA for the Jerusalema screening. He drove off fast – he knew he’d been spotted.

What is it about acting that fascinated/attracted you?
It just comes so easily. Even as a child, I would daydream and make believe.

Doing it on a daily basis and getting paid for it is fantastic. It’s like you work in the dream realm all the time. It’s quite cool.

If you won R100 million, what would you do?

I was thinking about that actually. I would buy nice things, invest where I can and probably blow the rest. It’s not mine, so . . .

What awaits you after Generations?
There’s always more to do. I have a film coming out later in the year, Otello Burning, about the first black surfers in South Africa.

It was a challenging film to shoot. We may have Oscar glory again. It honestly has the potential.


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