She's known for playing "modest" characters, but Zenani requires Moliehi "Didie" Makobane to dig deeper than ever before.
Didie's last lead role was in 2016 on Keeping Score. The talented actress is now back as a lead character on the new 1Magic series, Entangled. And being Zenani is one of her favourite roles yet, she tells Drum.
“The first thing that stands out for me when it comes to playing Zenani is she speaks to the life that I aspire towards. I feel like for the longest time I have been given very modest characters, a character from the hood, broke or loud," she tells Drum.
Zenani is BFFs with Sharon, who doesn’t filter her words, and after drinking she gets everything off her chest – even shocking guests when she reveals the bride's secrets at a wedding.
"Both Zenani and her husband are doing well in life, so in terms of the life that I aspire towards, Zenani represents that in so many ways. Maybe not all her circumstances and the challenges are things I would like to experience in my life, but her social standing and the fact that she is always keeping it real is something I love.”
The new series, which aired on 7 January, is a comedy that tackles relatable relationship issues. The show is created by Burnt Onion, the same production company behind the Netflix sensation How to Ruin Christmas.
“I am always grateful to be allowed to play as a performer because I love acting. That is what I have studied for, that’s what I do, and it is my essence," Didie says. "And playing different roles on different TV shows always excites the child-me because I live to tell a story while allowing the child in me to play.”
Getting into character for this role required Didie to do comprehensive character research.
“Training plays a pivotal role in ensuring that a performer does justice to the character they are playing. That is why I can do two different shoots in one day and still show up and be authentic to both those characters because I have done my part to research what is needed from me and also be able to be directed because that is also important,” she says.
When asked if she felt typecast before since she feels most of her previous characters were similar, she says, “I feel like for some time I was typecast. However, I didn’t see it as being typecast because I’ve been fortunate enough [to not be] stuck in a soapie, which for me is the worst form of typecasting. This is because if I was playing a certain character on a soapie for several years, tomorrow when you see me on the new show you will always call me by the name of that previous character.
"So in the 10 years of my career, I have played different roles, from soapies to comedy, and my body of work speaks for me. And that for me defines a true artist.”
Didie has a few projects lined up but is reluctant to speak about them, saying she's still basking in her current roles as Zenani on Entangled and Tsholofelo on The Estate.
“I have a few things lined up but where is the fun in telling you all that? You need to come back and talk to me about different stuff.
"Otherwise, I love the two characters who are so far apart from each other and challenge me on a daily. I'm also grateful to be able to do what I love in these trying times."