Famous for 5 minutes – Tony Kgoroge: A master at work

2014-07-13 15:00

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Fresh off the publicity trail for Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, actor Tony Kgoroge now stars in the crime thriller Cold Harbour. Gugulethu Mhlungu called him up

Why did you choose the role in Cold Harbour?

There wasn’t really choosing [the role of] Sizwe. It chose me by virtue of it being written for me.

The writer came to me while I was working on Invictus, which was an honour?...?Preparing to play Sizwe was a bit challenging because I didn’t know the police culture. I spent some time in a police station in Langa.

It was really interesting?...?I learnt that the police don’t patrol certain areas because there aren’t enough cars?...?They deal with a lot of pressure?...?It was really interesting to see how our policemen and women live.

Some producers say you’re demanding and come at a high price.

[Laughs] Really? Who said that?

I can’t reveal my sources, but do you agree? You’ve been very vocal about issues around the exploitation of local actors.

[Laughs some more] Okay. I mean, what is expensive? If you can pay an international actor R20?million for a role, why can’t you pay me that amount for the same amount of work? Often you, as a local actor, aren’t asking for R20?million, maybe 1 or 2 million and still it’s a struggle.

Why do you think that is?

I think the thing that’s missing is support from all angles: the industry, government, the acting community?...?and it must be driven by government, which has been given the mandate to look after us.

If government doesn’t take it seriously, then the industry and community won’t either.

Where is the money government is spending going? Can we see results? And we have the talent?...?we men and women are doing great work. We travel the world and get the recognition because we have proved we are good enough?...?that we are among the best.

Last year you starred as Walter Sisulu, alongside Idris Elba’s Mandela. Are there other icons you’d like to play?–?and why?

My daughter says Mandela?...?I would like to see Biko told again, and this time from his point of view. I would love to see Hani ...?Solomon Mahlangu.

There are just so many of them – and not forgetting the stories of South African women.

Which one of your characters?–?film, theatre or TV?–?would you take on a long road trip, and why?

Definitely Sisulu. Just to soak up all that knowledge and wisdom and teaching. I would want to understand how to do greater things that benefit other people?...?uBab Walter was the most stubborn, smart and strong-willed person who managed to win them all over, including uBab Mandela. I would want to drive from here to Cairo, stopping at hotels on the way and taking notes the whole time ...?Just soaking it in.


Cold Harbour makes its global premiere at the Durban International Film Festival on July?19. It opens nationwide on July 25

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