She stole the hearts of many as Listerina when she plotted revenge against her husband’s mistress on the Mzansi Magic telenovela The Queen.
Then in December 2019, she joined the e-tv soapie Imbewu where she plays the powerhouse, Nokuzola Ndamase.
Actress Vuyiseka Cawe (33) opens up to Drum about her journey as an actress and the responsibility of raising her three siblings after her parents passed away.
Her acting career began back home in Port Elizabeth where she was involved in community plays and art projects.
Hungry for more, Vuyiseka moved to Johannesburg and joined the Duma Ndlovu Actors Academy where she studied performance.
“Being at the academy opened me up to the real world of acting,” she says. “I got to interact with industry giants who helped me to shape myself as an actress.”
Vuyiseka then worked with the Themba Interactive Theatre Group and travelled through the country taking industrial theatre to impoverished areas.
She also landed roles on Generations: The Legacy, Muvhango, Rhythm City, Ekasi Stories, Rockville, The Great Mistake, and The Playhouse Production of The Game by Duma Ndlovu to name a few. All this while working as a model on the side.
When her career was on the rise and she was on the cusp of making all her dreams come true as an actress, Vuyiseka’s career was cut short when she lost her mom who died in her sleep five years ago.
While learning to accept her mom’s death, Vuyiseka lost her grandmother. Her granny had been assisting in taking care of her siblings in Port Elizabeth and died from a kidney-related illness four days after her mom’s death.
“I still struggle to talk about losing the two matriarchs in my life, but I know there’s a reason for everything. I spent a lot of time with my late granny and I admired her so much. When we lost her, I knew that I wanted to be just like her in every way," she adds.
When her single mom and granny died, Vuyiseka was forced to move back home to look after her siblings, who were 18, 15 and 12 at the time.
“It was a very difficult time, but I needed to make the sacrifices for my siblings,” she says.
Already she was assisting with finances at home, but when her mom and grandmother died, she took on the full responsibility of the three younger siblings.
She provided for them; took them through school and university to make sure they never felt the absence of their parents.
“I tried my best to make them feel like they have parents. I told myself that despite the burden of looking after my siblings I had to not only provide for them but to be their role model as well. I was their only hope in life. If I did not stand up for them, their lives would have had come to a standstill,” Vuyiseka says.
Despite the hardships she and her siblings faced, Vuyiseka was determined to win and stayed positive and hopeful about balancing her acting career and being a guardian to her siblings.
“Nothing brings me more joy than knowing that my siblings are safe and happy. My dreams come second.”
Vuyiseka has since returned to television on Imbewu and is giving it her all.
“I have been through the worst, but I believe it was all to make me a better person. So many people have gone through what I experienced but my healing comes from determination and commitment to be their mother,” she says.