Baxolise Mfidi is a South African actor and radio presenter, born and raised in East London. He moved to Johannesburg after matric to study and pursue a career in media. A few years later, he landed the role of Vukile in Rhythm City.
“I auditioned and got the part over a year ago. My audition was for a barman character with no storyline, but I knew that if I could get the part it would be an opportunity to learn from the experience and that if I did my best, there’d be a chance for growth,” the 26-year-old tells Move!.
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And he was right. A year into being cast as barman Vukile at The Metropol, Vukile is being established as a sometimes charming and other times brash restaurant host.
In an upcoming storyline, Vukile is introduced to the show’s daily drama when Mampho (played by Itumeleng Bokaba) joins the staff as a waitress. Vukile is not impressed by her ambition and makes life difficult for her. Mampho puts up a strong fight against the unfair treatment she experiences at the restaurant.
While his character can sometimes be a little problematic, Baxolise says there’s a lot about Vukile that he respects – qualities he too possesses. “We’re both very driven. Vukile started his hustle as a street vendor and worked his way into an opportunity at The Metropol. I’ve worked my way through the entertainment industry from behind the scenes to now being in front of the camera,” he says.
“I suppose we differ in character because I am gentler and more compassionate and he’s quite direct and can be very rude and dismissive,” Baxolise adds.
It is understandable for every newcomer to be a little intimidated when walking into a set full of legendary actors who have graced our screens for decades, but Baxolise says instead of being intimidated, he is rather inspired by them and learns as much as he can.
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“The actors that I’ve worked with at Rhythm City have always been generous to me, with career advice and performance feedback. There are also some talented crew and staff on set that help me focus on the job and not get distracted by how fun our work environment can be.”
Growing up, Baxolise always knew he wanted to be an actor but because he wasn’t exposed to anyone who had pursued an acting career, he almost gave up the dream.
“I did drama in high school, so I thought it was possible, but I didn’t see any immediate examples of adults who’d made a career for themselves in the arts. So, I moved to Johannesburg to study and pursue my career in media and eventually found my way back into acting,” he says.
Here are 7 interesting facts about Baxolise:
- In 2014, he was one of three young journalists selected by the British Council SA to represent South Africa at the Future News cultural programme in Glasgow, Scotland.
- He was a very charismatic kid in primary school. His teachers encouraged his singing and he often performed at school shows. Everyone knew "Baxo" – his nickname at the time.
- He recently decided to stop using a smartphone and has gone back to using a feature phone.
- The way to this man's heart is with a plate of homemade umvubo.
- He is single.
- He watches himself in Rhythm City. “It takes some getting used to, I won't lie. I live-tweet during the show and engage with our citizens through the hashtag #RhythmCity and I do this because I think it brings new meaning to the term ‘home theatre’, you see the audience’s reactions to the show immediately. It does require a thick skin because some criticism isn’t constructive but the more you do it, the more you learn how to separate the trolls from the true fans.”
- One of his dream roles is Dreamgirls. “I'd love to play the protagonist in a film adaptation of Kgebetli Moele's Room 207. I would also love to portray Santiago in a limited series of The Alchemist. Both of those books have a very special place in my heart. Onstage, I'd love to act the part of CC White from Dreamgirls.”
Watch Baxolise as Vukile in Rhythm City weekdays at 7pm on e.tv. Catch up on the week’s episodes in the omnibus on Sundays at 9am. Join the conversation on social media using #RhythmCity