He's been a drug dealer, a homophobic man and he's now a bisexual man in a polyamorous relationship.
South African actor Phila Madlingozi loves stretching himself. The award winning actor was once a king on Isikizi and not so long ago played a homophobic man on Mzansi Magic's The Queen.
Now he's joined popular e.tv soapie Rhythm City as Nathi, a bisexual musician, a character that is the total opposite of his previous role.
Phila (31), tells Drum he was blown away when he first saw the brief for his character.
“I just played a character that was fighting this on The Queen. And it's literally my first homosexual role.”
The actor, who is also a musician, says when he started playing his new role, it was as if this was his first time acting.
“Because I now had to learn how to perform with a man. It's been really interesting,” he smiles.
See his post here:
How have fans reacted to his new role? “They love having me back on tv because they have been hounding me.”
He tells Drum that he has also gained himself a new fan base with the LGBTQ community and they are in love with his character Nathi.
“They have always wanted to see me kiss another man. So, they love it and are really enjoying it,” says the actor.
Phila says he has a lot in common with his character.
“Besides the fact that he is bi, we are very similar. He is a performer, girls love him, and he thinks he is a bad boy,” he says.
And having a lot in common with his character has made it easy for him to play it.
“I am still waiting to see how his story develops, how similar and different we are. But for now, I don’t think Nathi has been a difficult role to get into.
“I have played tougher roles before.”
The actor says his award-winning role on Isikizi was the most challenging role he has ever played. And that was because he was playing a king.
“I had to play royalty,” he says. “So I had a lot that I needed to research because there are certain ways that they do things and I needed to be respectful to the royal people that were watching the show.”
He says that even though playing Sizwe was a challenge, he was happy because people loved him.
The actor says he is very grateful to be a part of Rhythm City before it comes to an end next year.
“I have always wanted to be a part of it from the first day,” says Phila.
“But God works in mysteries ways, and now I am here.”
He's sad about the recent announcement that the show will be coming to an end soon.
“I think it’s a very painful loss.” He says Rhythm City is more than a drama series, but it also played a big role for artists.
“They are always playing South African music and always invite artists to play live on set.
“So it played a huge role in the music industry and it’s a big part of the music industry. So for them to take that away from us, it's going to be really painful.”
He tells Drum that his fear was about his new character on Rhythm City was that he wouldn’t represent the LGBTQ community in the right way.
“Because I am not part of the LGBTQ community, I have been speaking to a lot of my friends who are gay.
“Some of them have been vocal that they don’t like a straight man playing gay roles because we don’t understand how they are and how they feel. So, that for me was just a challenge.”
He shares his thoughts on the relationship his character is in and polygamy and polyamory.
“I think I am old school. I feel like isithembu [polygamy] is something that is older than us and it worked.”
Phila says there was a time polygamy worked and it brought a lot of calm to the world. However, things have changed, and a lot of women are being liberated and want what they want.
See his post here:
“But I just think isithembu [polygamy] worked and I don’t see why it still shouldn’t when done the right way.”
He further says the one reason that might make him have more than one wife is that he wants a lot of kids.
“And I don’t want to stress umntu oy’one [one person].”