One-on-one with Ikhaya’s Cebile

Nqobile Sipamla

How and when did your acting career begin?

My grade 4 teacher discovered my talent. At the time, I was involved in a lot of creative extra mural activities, and she recommended to my mother that I go to the National School of the Arts. I later got my senior certificate there, but in-between, we’d do shows at school, to improve our performance culture and also understand how the industry works, practically.

I completed my Honours degree in Live Performance in 2012 at AFDA and from there, my first major role was playing Thuli, in a SABC1 comedy show called Abo Mzala.


What drew you to the show and your on-screen role Cebile?

While shooting Abo Mzala in 2017, the opportunity to audition came up. When I saw that Vuyelwa Booi was the creative director, I was immediately drawn to the show, as I am a big fan of her work.

I could immediately identify with Cebile. I’m originally from Pimville, Soweto and she’s also a kasi girl. So I could understand that ghetto fabulous girl who’s been exposed to the good schools but still from the hood.

I was also intrigued by the potential the character had. Cebile is a go-getter. She can easily turn dark when she doesn't get what she wants, She’s also a no-nonsense woman who does what needs to be done to protect her name, family and integrity.


What have been the highs and lows of portraying Cebile?

Physically, I’m not as poised as she is. I’m down-to-earth and although I love my heels, make-up and accessories, I’m not a girly girl, as she is. So embracing her femininity was awesome, as well as not freaking out when outfits were too short. I took care of my body by keeping fit so that things would look the way they’re supposed to look and I wouldn’t need to feel insecure.

Working with every cast member was a pleasure. We’re a small cast but we’re absolutely in love with each other. We’re a family. I love how supportive, close and connected we are and we’re always lifting each other up, which is something you don’t see often because of the competitiveness (in the industry). Even the challenges in the script were resolvable because, as a team, we were able to unpack them and come up with a solution in a unified way.

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What five things do people not know about you?

  • I’m a trained singer.
  • I co-own a media and communications called Refhuge.
  • I live in Durban and Johannesburg.
  • I’m a ma’jaivana. Once I get on the dance floor, you have to beg me nicely (after seven hours) to get off.
  • I’m a geek. I like books, stationary and all things knowledgeable. 

Two things you’d change about the industry?

  • There are still a lot of people who are grossly underpaid, so I’d definitely change the working conditions in terms of rates and payments.
  • I’d love to see our broadcasters taking a more proactive role in the work they commission people to do. To be more hands on and see to it that things are done the way they’re meant to and the money utilised as it should be, not a distant leash that needs to be tugged on when things have gone haywire.


What are you looking forward to in 2019?

Conquering and shining bright. This is my year. I’m moving strong and shooting to kill.