Meet Ayanda Nzimande, the actress who plays Aya on eTV's Scandal!

Ayanda Nzimande plays Aya on Scandal!

When she first joined the show, she was all about trying to set up her father and their domestic worker on a romantic relationship. Pretty soon she abandoned that and had to deal with a number of emotions after finding out her father orchestrated her stepmother’s death.

Ayanda Nzimande plays the role of Aya on Scandal!. She is Mamba’s daughter, a role played by Simo Magwaza.

Ayanda tells Drum that she feels blessed to be on Scandal! and being on set with so many people she has looked up to for years. She is theatre trained and previously had a smaller tv role on another show.

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“This is my big break. I am so grateful that I am where I am right now. I have always loved watching scandal and wished I could one day join the cast, so this is a dream come true for me. It is a manifestation of what I hoped for. Also, I cannot believe I am acting so close to Lusanda Mbane (who plays Boniswa Langa) I love her,” she says.

“Because I have such a strong theatre background, I would sometimes get nervous when I first started because I felt that I was not doing enough and Lusanda would encourage me by giving me a pep talk, telling me to relax because I’ve got this. I am grateful for that,” she says.

She is 25 years old and the character she plays is 15 and she says her genes are a great help.

“I have a baby face, so at least I do not have to worry about looking too much older than her. But the age gap is quite big and I'm  thankful that even at home I am surrounded by teenagers, so I know what they are into nowadays and how they speak. Also, I have been there before, so all I have to do is tap into my 15-year-old self to help Aya come alive.”

Raised by a single parent between Cape Town and Durban, Ayanda has one older sister. She says she has never thought of doing anything else but act.

“Ok, wait, when I was younger, I wanted to be an astronaut so I can be closer to the stars. I guess now I am closer to another kind of stars,” she laughs.

She tells us how she got the role. When her agent told her about it, she sent in a self-taped audition. She received a call back a month later, but she could not make it because she was on the set, playing Mbali on The Legacy on MNet.  She managed to reschedule, but there was bungle up with the times, so she was late.

“Eventually I did the second audition and two hours after I left Scandal! studios, my agent called me to tell me that I got the gig. I was so excited.”

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She can sing and dance and has done musicals including Sarafina. Ayanda says she cannot wait to for South Africa to see what other tricks she has in her bag of talents.