Amina Jack on playing Thokozani on Isibaya – ‘It’s been a blessing’

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Amina Jack loves playing her confident character on the popular show and says she wishes she could be more like her.
Amina Jack loves playing her confident character on the popular show and says she wishes she could be more like her.
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She comes from a well respected family. Her father is a charming and proud Zulu man who always gets what he wants. They are filthy rich and have everything money can possibly buy.

However, even with all the money in the world, life still happens.

Thokozani Zungu is going through a rough patch. Her older sister died. She is in love with the son of her father’s biggest enemy. Her father turned into a zombie and was shot by her brother-in-law. And her mother is in the hospital fighting for her life after donating an organ to her older brother.

That's a lot to be dealing with, but for Amina Jack (20) it's just another day in the office.

Amina, who plays Thokozani on Mzansi Magic’s Isibaya, assures us her real life is a whole lot less dramatic than her onscreen character.

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“Thokozani is going through a lot on the show,” she agrees with a laugh.

The actress, who joined Isibaya when she was only 14, says her fans are overly protective of her character, as they have literally watched her grow up on the show.

“People still see her as a baby.”

Growing up

Amina is originally from Newcastle and moved to Joburg in 2009, when she was nine years old.

“I came to stay with my mom this side,” she says. “In 2010, I started a new school and that was when everything started.”

She is the last born of four kids.

Ngiwuthumbu (I am the last born) but the grandkids (her older siblings’ children) have taken my place.”

There has been speculation about who her real mom is, as a lot of people think her on-screen mother, Ayanda Borotho, is her mom. 

Amina tells Drum that Ayanda is her adoptive mother.

“UMam Ayanda took me in at the end of 2017 and I have been staying with them ever since.”

Her biological mother, Ethel Jack, is still alive but the young actress prefers to keep the reasons for the move private.

“People really do think she [Ayanda] is my real mother. They even say we look alike, and I'm like, oh well, I guess it was meant to be,” she smiles.

Acting

Her first acting gig was in 2010 on SABC 1’s Zone14 when she played the role of a young kid called Mbali.

“I was in Grade 4 when my mom kept telling me about the auditions on Zone14. I think I declined twice.”

But her mom was very persistent.

Ngang’ libe ngithi cha ma angeke ngikwazi (I kept saying no mom, I won’t be able to go)."

Amina says she didn't want to go because she is a shy person, which is something a lot of people don’t know about her. She gave in the third time her mom told her about the auditions.

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“She was like, just try it out and if you don’t like it, we can then let it go.”

So, they went to the audition and she landed the role of Mbali.

“And that is when it all started.”

Amina stayed on Zone14 until the show came to an end and in 2013, at the age of 13, she auditioned for Thokozani on Isibiya.

“I only got to be on the show the following year and I’ve been on Isibaya ever since 2014," she tells Drum.

Isibaya

The actress says juggling school and work is not easy.

“I will be doing my second year this year. I am studying psychology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and honestly, it has been a lot. But at the end of the day, I have to do what I need to do.”

Amina says as hectic as it gets, she loves both things so it's worth all the effort.

Umusa KaNkulunkulu (the grace of God) has helped me through. And being on Isibaya has been fulfilling. It's been a blessing to be a part of something that is this big.”

The star remembers how original the show was when it began, showcasing a different life that South Africans had not yet seen on the small screen.

“It kind of filled a gap in the industry. It was a breath of fresh air,” she says. “Everyone was talking about Isibaya and for me to be part of it is honestly, mind-blowing.”

The actress loves playing Thokozani but she says she's the total opposite of her character.

“I think for me, being that on-screen and getting to see myself like that is amazing. Thokozani is confident, outspoken, and everything I wish I could be. I always say Amina, maybe one day you'll get there,” she laughs.

“Being Thokozani has taught me to stand up for myself and go for whatever it is I want.”

Read more| Muzi Mthabela on his Isibaya exit: 'I left on a good note'

So, how does she channel the Thokozani in her?

“When I get to work, Amina has to step aside because it is not about her at all. When I get in character, I forget about myself for a while and do what I have to do."

She's so grateful to her fans for their love and support. 

Ngiyabonga (thank you so much) from the deepest part of my heart.”

If it wasn’t for her fans, Amina says she doesn’t think she would be where she is now.   

“My fans and also a little motivation. 'Work hard so you can afford to live the life you want to live'  Sis’ Nomzamo (fellow actress Nomzamo Mbatha) is the one who told me those words and they have stuck.

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