This time last year, she was in a bad place. She was broke and unemployed and unsure about the future. But all that is in the past and it was all thanks to her role as Georgina in Mzansi Magic’s hit telenovela, The Queen.
Actress Sibusisiwe Jili just turned 32 and she couldn’t be in a happier place in her life.She spent her birthday with son Onke (4), brother Minenhle (23), son Wamhle (6), and nephew Sethu (3) who she picked up from KwaZulu-Natal.“On my birthday we went to a farm where the kids enjoyed the farm animals, then we had a young picnic, ended the day back home where they put on a dance show for me,” she says.
She’s come far from where she was just a year ago. “I am so content with the woman I have become,” Sibu says. “You know, I’ve had my fair share of hard times and my role on The Queen came with a clean start and positive energy.”Last year, she shared with DRUM how she had been in a toxic relationship with a man that left heartbroken.“I dated a scammer basically. He pretended to be a pilot and promised me the world. I was in a very dark place. What [local entertainer] Zodwa Wabantu might be going through, I’ve been there,” she says.“Then I lost my job on Isibaya in March 2019, and things just got really worse for me.”
She struggled to find more work and had to return home to Pietermaritzburg.“I couldn’t afford rent anymore, I was broke, mfethu,” she says. “But at home, I tried to keep myself busy. I was doing motivation talks, appearances and I started a project called KwaSuka Sukela to help kids that want into the arts. I did workshops with them and had reality-check talks on how to prepare themselves for the industry,” she says.“It was tough, but I kept a positive mind. But I didn’t choose to see situations as bad.
I had a roof over my head, clothes on my back, food in my tummy and a supportive family.”
While at home, the actress didn’t give up. Sibu had always wanted to be in The Queen and she asked around about how she can find a job with the Fergusons.“I asked friends about getting onto The Queen but no one gave me a straight answer. I decided to stalk Connie Ferguson. I followed her on Instagram, I sent her DMs, but nothing worked,” she says.It was when she met the casting agent for thetelenovela that there was hope.“I sent Lesedi a profile. I begged, sent messages. And she said she had been looking for me. We met and she told me to try and audition for Georgina. And my audition sucked but I got the part,” she says.
In January, Sibu moved back to Johannesburg“They helped me get a place of my own near to work. They supported me and I was completely honest about my situation and what I had gone through with them,” she says.“All I wanted was to forget the past and start afresh. I was longing for stability where my son and my nieces and nephews could come and visit me and find a stable home. Family is particularly important to me. Everything I do is to appease those close to me.
”Sibu looks up to co-stars Zandile Msutwana and Connie Ferguson who have guided her since she joined The Queen.“Sis’ Zan doesn’t know this, but I admire her so much. The more time I spend speaking to her, the more I learn something new every day. I’ve stalked Connie Ferguson and I love her work. But when I meet her on set, I get starstruck and I freeze and end up complimenting her on her dress.
I can’t even hold a conversation with her.”With all she has been through Sibu says “nothing beats a fresh start”.“I’m here for a reason. I have conquered my biggest fears – which are failure, feeling worthless, self-doubt, wondering if I am good enough. Nothing can bring me down at this point,” she says.