This week, social media was abuzz after the announcement that actress Jo-Anne Reyneke would be joining Generations: The Legacy in the role of Refilwe Zungu, the stepdaughter of Walter Nkaba, who is played by Nimrod Nkosi.
Speaking to City Press on Thursday, the 32-year-old described how excited she was to be working on one of the most loved shows in the country.
According to Reyneke, Refilwe will reveal her true intent as time goes by.
“She’s a young, spunky, rich woman who wants to take over Joburg and take charge in the world of business. The Jack Mabasos of the corporate world don’t intimidate her at all. It’s still early days. I’m still building her character up and exploring her light-hearted side,” said the award-winning actress.
Reyneke was enjoying her new surroundings at the iconic Mfundi Vundla production and is having fun with the character, but said there was also something a little more sinister than boardroom shenanigans going on with Refilwe.
“Nobody knows how deep and dark she can get. Jack and Refilwe will have an arranged relationship that is also like a business transaction.”
Those who channel-hop from one local show to another on the various broadcasters that host the most viewed local content will have noticed Reyneke’s face on quite a few shows, sometimes simultaneously or following time slots on different networks.
Commenting on working on set in the “new normal”, she said: “It’s pointless complaining. I take it in my stride. We have to put on our masks even after we put on our make-up, which might mess it up, but, personally, I’d rather be safe.
“The company’s being very tentative – they never let up. It sometimes feels a bit too much like my mum, but it’s appreciated!” she laughed.
Generations has definitely been on her bucket list since her days as the bubbly receptionist Pearl in SABC2’s flagship soap opera Muvhango.
“Isidingo was one milestone and, obviously, Muvhango was another, and now I’ve finally made my way to Generations. It’s disappointing not shooting with Karabo [Connie Ferguson] and Archie [Sello Maake Ka-Ncube], but we still have Jack Mabaso [Vusi Kunene] and those amazing sets.”
In the past year alone, Reyneke worked on the BET sitcom Black Tax, as well as the new drama Isono.
“I’ve been blessed to have well-written scripts. I’m in Isono as uMamfundisi, which was different for me. I usually have a glamorous face, but she was more understated, softly spoken and she wore doeks.
“Refilwe, by contrast, is all about jewellery and fashion and the opportunity to take over.”
She likened her profession to a chameleon changing colours on a branch – an apt metaphor, since her talents appear to come as naturally as a chameleon’s ability to alter its shade.
Reyneke added that she was able to showcase her comedic side in Black Tax, which sparked much debate about the modern obligation of financial familial repayment.
“It was a humbling experience on the whole and also a bit revealing. We black people tend to sell ourselves short, which is unfortunate.”
Reyneke shared some of her personal experiences regarding black tax in February while talking on air to Dr Sindi van Zyl on Kaya FM.
People would ask her mother why their house still hadn’t been fenced or renovated. The assumption was that Reyneke was the one responsible for these upgrades. Her mother, however, came to her defence by dismissing any suggestions that her daughter wasn’t taking care of her.
Production on Isono has been halted amid Covid-19 concerns, but shooting on the second season of Black Tax should begin towards the end of the year.
Reyneke also appeared on a new celebrity cooking show, Celebrity Mystery Box, on Mzansi Magic, where she took on Enhle Mbali and lost.
“Oh, Lord, they made me cook duck!” she laughed. “I tried my best. I was going up against a beast in the kitchen. Enhle is my girl and I know how she is in the kitchen cooking for her boys.
“How can I say this without sounding as if I’m talking smack? She’s been exposed to a higher level of life and she knows about duck, yabona. Nna [I] know chicken feet and hearts. It was so much fun working with the creators; a group of young black people who were so authentic. The show was shot within three hours.”
Reyneke ended the interview by commenting on a video rant in which she’d stated that dating was tough, as she found men uninteresting.
“I think I was just frustrated with being single for two or three years. I really shouldn’t have posted that video, but now it’s out there. As soon as I stopped looking, a slew of suitors came knocking on my door!”