TV Guide: The accidental star

2012-11-16 08:14

Lesley Mofokeng is cast himself in iNkaba, he reflects on the experience

I’ve been put in many unusual situations in my career as a journalist – the fish-out-of-water kind of thing.

I recently made secret clandestine trips to the set of iNkaba, South Africa’s first telenovela, to play the role of myself.

I’ve always respected acting. I think it’s holy ground that should never be trampled on by chancers.

It’s a craft that takes passion, melodrama and feeling to develop over years.

One that has given South Africa living screen legends such as John Kani, Joe Mafela, Sello Maake kaNcube, Lilian Dube, Mary Twala and Sophie Ndaba, who’ve given us light moments of entertainment.

It’s no mean feat to walk in those shoes. So it was with trepidation that I reported for duty on the set of iNkaba.

It can be an intimidating experience, surrounded by thespians wearing gowns and sleepers, buried in their scripts over coffee.

You tend to stick out with your “non-industry practice” of looking blankly at the TV set and every bit the outsider.

A mandatory stop at the make-up room is always a stress reliever, since I find make-up artists to be calming beings.

They are friendly and manage to get one to relax and open up.

And then, off I went to the wardrobe department, where my instant transformation would take place.

Much like those quickie made-for-TV pop stars, I went in and emerged a different person.

I spent the weekend reading all of my three lines of conversation, and my heart pumped with excitement as I finally walked on set and saw all the cameras and the energy of the real actors.

I couldn’t wait to say “I was hoping you’d make me something” to the upstart fashion designer Nothando Khumalo.

We did a few rehearsals with my co-stars, Samukelo Ndlovu and Nompilo Gwala, who play sisters Lira and Nothando Khumalo.

After two takes, we were ready for the final take and, just like that, in 15 minutes, my 30-second scene was wrapped up.

I may not have channelled Denzel Washington as my lofty plan had it, but at least I didn’t mess up my lines.

Still, don’t expect to see a tour de force performance.

It was a modest attempt.

And after starring in three episodes, did it spark any interest of being a thespian?

Do I dream of the bright lights of Hollywood and the Oscar? To answer that, remember the famous old saying for wannabies: “Don’t quit your day job.”

I know what I am good at and I will stick with it for now.

» iNkaba is on Mzansi Magic (DStv Channel 116) Mondays to Thursdays at 8.30pm

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