In a country such as South Africa, where popularity and frivolous fame are honoured more than raw and real talent, it’s always great to see someone with pure and unadulterated talent get the crown they deserve.
Gaosi Raditholo is one such actor, and she will be returning for the third season of the international HBO show called Warrior.
Raditholo has stayed away from social media buzz and established herself as an actress before anything else. Her passion for the dramatic arts started at a young age. She recalled her late grandmother who played a huge part in her journey and created the writer, director and actress we know today, as Raditholo would perform theatre plays in her village in Botswana.
“We’d go on tour with her plays on a blue train back then and just watch her direct plays which dealt with pertinent social issues,” Raditholo said.
“I was also part of the school choir in primary school and would perform in musical theatre shows then. I just loved to perform. It was more a hobby back then, an opportunity to play pretend in the same way my sister and I would do during our playtime,” she added.
Her hard work finally paid off when she pursued her master's, majoring in directing and playwriting. She produced, directed and wrote her play that brilliantly talked about the pertinent issues around women, xenophobia and representation. She was awarded the Percy Tucker award as the prestigious school’s best directing student.
Finally, a decade later, Raditholo got her big break with her breakthrough role on an SABC2 show called Keeping Score. Her character Jade was a deeply broken girl whose journey of self-discovery led her to find out more about her sexuality.
“The role required me as an actress to find emotional depth to convey her struggles. It pushed me as an actress to interrogate the psychological impact of rejection or being othered in society. I had to make friends with my shadow self to convey an array of emotions in the most authentic way possible with as much truth which resonated with the audience who could identify with her struggles.”
Now, with two seasons of HBO’s Warrior under her belt, Raditholo will be returning for season three. The mixed martial arts crime drama series first came out in 2018 and is loosely based on the iconic film actor Bruce Lee, and takes place during the Tong wars of the 1800s in San Francisco in the US. Raditholo will be taking on a more prominent role in the third season. She talked more about what it was like growing up watching many Chinese films and finally getting the chance to feature in one.
“Some would be dubbed and others wouldn’t but we’d get the essence of the story. The visuals and the martial arts were all so intriguing to my siblings, cousins and me that we’d binge-watch a lot of these films on tape over the weekends. We’d trade films and sometimes watch and rewatch the same movies over and over again. Chinese and western films were a favourite in our family during my childhood.”
Raditholo noted that her favourite part of the process was working with the talented team, including Jonathan Tropper, who was the show creator, showrunner and executive producer, and Shannon Lee who was the executive producer and daughter of the great Bruce Lee.
“Their attention to detail in storytelling and execution has left an impression on me.
Her initial role on Warrior was rather small, but Raditholo’s talent seemed to have carried her far, as her role had gradually grown. Her character was killed off in the first season, but producers felt compelled to reprise her role in season two and now she is back for another season.
“It’s been so exciting playing both Nora and Abigail. It was such a welcome challenge, to be honest. Nora, who’s Lee’s first love, is killed by his cousins who disapproved of their interracial relationship in the first season. In season two, Lee meets Abigail, a bartender who initially swindles him for cash one night when he visits her bar. The two end up developing an attraction to each other despite their initial unpleasant encounter.”
Raditholo says there will be many surprises in the third season of the show, and urges people to tune in.
“It’s going to be thought-provoking. I can't wait for the viewers to meet Abigail again in the third season.”
Warrior is scheduled to air early in 2023.