Ever since Gomora debuted, it’s been warmly received. And one of the reasons is the incredibly talented 22-year-old Siphesihle Ndaba, who plays Mazet.
Stream Gomora on Showmax and binge every episode so far.
We caught up with her for a cosy chat with Mzansi’s newest It girl.
Did you expect such a positive reaction to Mazet?
At first glance, I honestly thought that people wouldn't like Mazet as she is a villain and tempts a young man into a life of crime. However, once you look deeper you realise there’s more to her than her actions at the beginning of the season.
I’d like to think people like her because she represents a lot of South Africans. She is driven and she wants a better life for herself. We may not all agree with her methods of trying to achieve her goal but we understand the financial plight of the people around us.
I think people also love her because she is a strong female character. She’s confident, she’s calculated and always finds a way to do damage control, she thinks on her feet to fix problems. Mazet always tries to protect the people she loves - she’s someone we’d all want in our lives.
Why did you want to play Mazet?
I knew I wanted to play Mazet the moment I read the character bio. I love having my abilities pushed and challenged. I knew that this character would do just that. We are very different people but I think that’s the beauty of acting. You get to step out of yourself for a moment and step into someone else’s shoes.
It helps you empathise and see things from a new perspective. Mazet and I might differ in our approach to life but we grew up in similar circumstances: we were both raised in townships and we both experienced social-economic difficulties growing up. I love how stripped down and raw she is. She’s not afraid to be herself. That’s what attracted me to her.
There are some amazing actors in the cast. Who has taken you under their wing?
All of our cast members are amazing and willing to share knowledge, but I think I’ve learned a lot from Mam' Connie Chiume. This is probably because we have lots of scenes together and spend a lot of time together on set.
I was very nervous for the first few scenes we had together. But she has such a warm and comforting aura that automatically made me feel welcome and part of the team. She always shares ideas and suggestions and encourages me to do the same.
As the "young cast", we also spend a lot of time together as we go on group dinner dates and movie dates every now and then, although we haven’t been able to do this since the Covid-19 crisis. This has definitely brought us closer and we call and check up on each other regularly.
When do you do in your downtime?
In my spare time, I read a lot of books, plays and journal articles on performance studies. I’m also a child of the theatre so I try to see as many theatre productions as possible whenever I can.
I also regularly re-watch previous episodes of Gomora to make notes and see what I can learn from other characters. Oh, and I watch a lot of movies and series too.
What are you streaming?
Yes, I am. I watch different genres for different moods. I really love medical dramas so I watch Grey’s Anatomy, The Resident and The Good Doctor. For some comic relief, I watch old episodes of My Wife And Kids, and The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air. I've recently started watching and loving Money Heist and Ozark. A South African show that I enjoy streaming a lot isLockdown.
Five things to know about Siphesihle
1. She's a Soweto girl
Siphesihle was raised in Soweto by her single mother and grandmother. On her mother's side, Siphesihle is the last born and the only girl in her family. She has two older brothers. In total, Siphesihle has 18 siblings with whom she shares a father.
2. She's a musician at heart
The actress grew up playing the trumpet at church and later on upgraded to playing the trombone as a member of her high school orchestra.
3. She went to Oprah's school
Siphesihle matriculated from the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy. While studying at the academy, Siphesihle immersed herself in music and became a member of the school's jazz band.
4. Cricket, SRC and everything in between
Not only did Siphesihle do music but she also played a variety of sports, including touch rugby, tennis and cricket. "I was the cricket captain in my time at the academy. I was also a part of the SRC executive council," says Siphesihle.
5. She's got an Honours degree
She studied at Rhodes University where she earned a Bachelor of Social Sciences, as well as an honours degree.
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