Gomora not gomorrah for television actress

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Katlego Danke plays Thathi, a trophy wife, in Gomora
Katlego Danke plays Thathi, a trophy wife, in Gomora

Television actress Katlego Danke is one of those fortunate enough to have found a new home when soapie Isidingo was cancelled after 21 years on the screen.

In November last year, the SABC issued a statement giving reasons for its decision to can the long-running soap opera, including “poor audience ratings, a decline in revenue and poor return on investment”.

Danke (41) played Kgothalo in Isidingo, which aired its final episode on Thursday.

This week Danke was excited to talk about her role as a trophy wife in the new Mzansi Magic telenovela, Gomora, which is the nickname of the famous kasi, Alexandra.

Her new role as Thathi is a reminder of her popular role as Dineo Mashaba in Generations six years ago.

Gomora is replacing the drama series, Isithembiso, which has not been renewed for a fourth season.

Danke told City Press this week that she had agreed to play Thathi because she believed “her story has not been told on our screens”.

The show is about two families from different economic social standings and explores the disparities between lower and upper class members of our country.

Danke agreed that Dineo and Thathi had similarities. “We are both facing life challenges but what makes the characters different is the way they approach the challenges. We do not deal with life challenges the same way,” she said.

When asked about her take on being a “trophy wife”, she said she did not judge them because “in life we are all attracted in different things”.

“Personally, I might not understand it, but I do respect people’s decisions. To my understanding, a trophy wife is a woman who has made a different choice from others. It is sad that we have labelled [them] names such gold diggers or opportunists. But we tend to forget that sometimes women don’t have a choice. It’s their partners who insist they must not be independent. It might be their only way to survive.”

She said Gomora was a story that had been missing on television.

“Our acting industry is in crisis. We’ve shifted from focusing on quality content and authentic stories. Most channels now look at content that is not relevant and audience ratings, even if it’s for a short time. We are not telling the stories of ourselves; we are not being true to ourselves.”

Danke said she was tired of watching the same storyline over and over.

“We’ve seen the poor black person story on our screens yet we have so many stories that haven’t be told. We are not giving a true perception of what black South Africans are all about in normal life.”

But she gave the thumbs-up to The Republic, a drama series in which Florence Masebe plays as Madam President.

“The Republic was groundbreaking but was the audience ready for this kind of content and did it hit audience ratings?” she asked.

Danke said the industry needed to push the boundaries and be brave enough to tell the stories of strong women.

“We are raised by powerful and strong women, but we are scared to tell their stories. What is sad is that these channels and big corporates are run by men who occupy top positions and take the decisions.”

Although she had landed a new gig, she said she would not forget the great times she spent in Isidingo.

“Isidingo was my second home and I am going to miss my other family. The love we showed one another was genuine. I am going to miss the cool actors. We had fun on and off screen. Some of the storylines were created off-screen.

“It is the end of an era but it is not a nice place to be for many actors right now. Unfortunately, companies are downsizing everywhere as they aren’t doing well economically.

“Unfortunately, some of us happened to become part of that,” Danke said.

Other industry heavyweights in Gomora include Connie Chiume, Themba Ndaba, Thembi Seete and Zolisa Xaluva.

  • Catch Gomora from March 30 at 7.30pm on Mzansi Magic (DStv Channel 161)
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