It's been a frustrating time for actor Hungani Ndlovu. Living through a global pandemic is something no one could have foreseen and he's had to deal with challenges he'd never even imagined.
As an entertainer, he lost a lot of income in 2020.
“The way in which it [the pandemic] has affected the entertainment industry has made it more difficult for us to get work and to go out and hustle, so to speak," he tells Drum.
“Not many people are keen to have a meeting over coffee and so now I either have to do a phone call or Zoom meeting, which I feel doesn’t carry the same impact when you are meeting someone for the first time and pitching to them.
"I also studied DJing in 2019 with the goal of entering the market in 2020 but that was postponed as well due to the regulations that came with Covid,” he says.
The former Scandal! actor is the owner of SANS group, which brings opportunities to artists and entertainers to hone their craft via drop-in or open classes in acting, dancing, modelling and photography.
"We have a great selection of well-educated and experienced instructors," Hungani says.
As a result of the pandemic, they have had to close their studio and resort to online classes and consultations.
“There were a couple of discussions as to how we could move forward as a studio doing what we do without putting lives at risk. Because most of our students use public transport, we didn’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable.
"The biggest issue was having to split our classes in two in order to allow social distancing. This meant we had to cut down on the number of classes we offered, which ultimately meant financially the studio wouldn’t be able to run unless we increased our prices dramatically.”
Trying to keep his business alive has taken a financial and emotional toll on his wellbeing, as it meant losing a source of income as well as something that fuelled his passion.
The transition to online classes has not been easy for SANS group.
“Online learning is not feasible for many individuals in SA due to data costs and no access to WiFi," he says.
It’s different to being on Instagram, Twitter and other social media because there are long videos to watch, assignments to upload, and exams to write.
Despite the challenges, Hungani says he hasn't given up and will find ways to make it better for their current and future students. And he's optimistic about 2021.
“The plans for 2021 are to allow God to move in my life," he says.
"There are many things in the pipeline. The big focus will be to grow The Ndlovu’s Uncut, which is my wife's and my YouTube channel. Despite the pandemic, I am excited for the year.”