Five minutes with Gabisile Tshabalala

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Actress Gabisile Tshabalala talks about her new show and doing things her way.
Actress Gabisile Tshabalala talks about her new show and doing things her way.
Lucky Nxumalo/ Gallo Images

She's a familiar face. Having been on different soapies and series in the country and hosting Moja Love's Too Much Information, she doesn't easily blend into the background.

Now Gabisile Tshabalala is focusing all her time on her family and their business. But she hasn't totally disappeared from the spotlight.

She has started a new show, Around Africa, on IGTV and is bringing Africa to our door step. 

Drum catches up with the actress, TV presenter and singer as she picks her children up from school on her way to a meeting, which is what a regular Wednesday afternoon is like for the Tshabalala family. 

Read more| Gabisile Tshabalala on expecting her second child – and speaking up against injustices in the entertainment industry

On Around Africa 

There are a lot of reasons why I started the show, and one of them is that we don’t know African artists that well. I don’t know who is famous in Zimbabwe or countries like Madagascar.

So, I thought why not talk to South Africans about who is famous around Africa, and let me also teach them about the other African countries because I don’t think South Africans have a lot of interest in travelling to other African countries.

That’s why you never find a South African in Nigeria, but you can find a Nigerian in South Africa.

On xenophobia 

One of the other reasons why I started is because of this whole xenophobia thing, and to also show other countries that we are not bad. We still have that love and not everyone in South Africa is xenophobic – we care about them too.

Sometimes when I travel to other African countries, as much as they still have that love, there is still a bit of “you’re killing our brothers and sisters”.

On Covid-19

I was also interested because I was just sitting at home doing nothing and I’ve always wanted to start my own stuff.

I think this whole pandemic really helped me step out of my shell because I’ve been afraid, thinking what if I start something and people don’t like it. I had too many what ifs.

And then there came a time when I was like, whatever! Even with 20 viewers, or if I’ve got 20 000 viewers, I’m going to do it.

On doing her own thing

I feel like I am now in the right state to start my own stuff and create my own content. Now there’s no one who can tell me what to do or how to do it because it’s my own stuff. I’ve always wanted to have this, but I’ve just been very fearful, but now I’m fine.

It's getting a very good response. People love it and I’m being followed by other African people now, which is something very nice. I’m making friends outside of South Africa and I love that. The response is very good. It picks up with every episode.

On teaching people about Africa

I see myself travelling to the other countries and teaching with evidence. Not everyone here is xenophobic. We are a very loving nation and we have a great sense of humour.

If I had to live in another African country for the rest of my life, there is an island that I didn’t know about called Rose and I would live there. It looks like it’s nice.

But I also wouldn’t mind living in Zambia. I’ve been there. It’s peaceful, the crime rate is not as bad as South Africa, and the people there are friendly.

There are too many countries to pick from. I would also live in Ethiopia. It’s very beautiful and it has a nice history of Christianity. I’m a Christian and I would love to know more about Christianity, so to live in a country that has some history of it would be nice.

Read more| 4 local celebs who have had baby showers this year

On getting real on the parenting front

I have five kids. I gave birth to two, but I have three step kids. My eldest son is 11 so he helps me out a lot and I’ve got a helper as well. So, it’s not as crazy as it should be. It’s not bad. I’m surviving.

Of course with the little baby, he wants all my attention and that makes it a bit hard because I am also working with my husband and we have a security company we run. It's me being at the office and coming back home to do homework and then I need to prepare for my show because I do the scripts myself. So, it gets a bit hectic, but it’s doable.

On introducing her son three months after giving birth, and a fake pregnancy

I gave birth in May, but people only found out that I gave birth in August.

Because I was doing the hedges campaign, I would always put clothes on my stomach so that when I show on the pictures on Instagram, they still see the stomach.

Why do people have to know everything that’s happening in my life? This is my business. Social media is not real. We post what we want you guys to see.

On #SoWhatIAmPregnant

The movement is not going to stop. I am going to come together with the ladies that started the movement with me to do a follow-up on where we are now, how our babies are.

I want to look for other young ladies that are pregnant and talk about what challenges they face. Especially teenage pregnancies. I want to know what kind of challenges they face and how we can fix them.

The movement has not stopped. There are women who fall pregnant every day, especially during the lockdown.

On what's happening now

I’m just doing my show and there are more shows that I’m going to produce. They are going to be online. I am just focusing on doing my own stuff now.

There’s a new show that I’m going to produce called The Rylics where people just sing the lyrics wrong, hence the name.

There’s also a kiddie show I want to do. 

On going back to the industry

If someone calls me to go back to the soapie industry I would go, but the money must be good.

My husband and I have a security company, Servi Max Protection, and it’s keeping me extremely busy. I’ve never seen myself as an office person, but my husband is a businessman and I think that’s what inspired me to also start my own things. I’m learning a lot from him business-wise.

So, I would go back to working for someone else, but it must be worth it. 

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