Johannesburg - Internationally renowned actress Terry Pheto did not emulate US President Donald Trump, who keenly told contestants in his show, The Apprentice “You’re fired!”, because she found it hard to send a candidate home every week.
Viewers will see her in action this week, when The Search: E! Host South Africa premiers on E! Entertainment (Dstv 124), as a judge and a mentor helping to search for a South African presenter to be the next face of E!.
“It was a huge responsibility to be sitting on that chair and telling people to go home. I grew very close to the candidates ... feels like being a mama bear,” she quipped.
“It is a great opportunity and platform for young people to work with one of the biggest brands in the world [E! Entertainment]. It is going to give one person a huge platform and opportunity to change their lives and be part of the global family of E,” Pheto said.
Another big show, that premiers on 1 February and has Pheto in a starring role, is the miniseries called Madiba. Its introduction coincides with the launch of Black Consciousness Month in the US.
This series takes a look at the lives of the people who led South Africa’s liberation struggle and the villains involved.
“The villains will also have a face; you get to see their fears and what their mind-set was like. It is a holistic story. You get to see what Winnie [Madikizela-Mandela] went through as a woman in her early twenties with two children and being left alone, harassed, abused and incarcerated.
“It is looking at the reality of what everyone went through including the other characters like Walter Sisulu, Joe Slovo and their families,” she said.
Pheto said playing the role of the icon, Winnie Mandela, was not easy. “She is an icon and she’s lived an eventful life which wasn’t the easiest ... I’ve always wanted an opportunity to tell this story. I think the essence of the character will be more authentic,” she explained.
She said although the South African film industry was still relatively young, the frustration of actors shouldn’t be directed at those who get the roles but rather the local producers and local directors who should cast local talent and tell our story.
Asked what’s next in the pipeline, she said she will be starring in a film called The Tribe, which will be released on 17 March in South Africa.
When the topic of her relationship rumours as well as marriage came up, the 35-year-old said that she was content and happy at the moment. “I want to have a wholesome life. Not daydreaming about marriage. I won’t mind it with the right person and when the time is right, and for the right reasons,” she said.