‘I am happy to be back; stronger and wiser’ – Zinhle Mabena on returning to the small screen

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Zinhle Mabena joins the cast of e-tv show House of Zwide as humble mother Ntombi.
Zinhle Mabena joins the cast of e-tv show House of Zwide as humble mother Ntombi.
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She is happy to be back on television acting gain.

In her last role, she played a villain, Sihle who conspired, lied, and schemed on Isibaya. The telenovela was discontinued in 2021 and she took time off-screen to focus on herself and her two children. In the process, she was also going through a highly publicized divorce which took a stain on her.

But actress Zinhle Mabena tells Drum that she is back on television, and nothing can stop her from focusing on her first love. Acting is her number one passion and being away from the screen was therapeutic, but she returns to pursue her true love.

“I am happy to be back. Although I needed the time off to deal with personal issues and to focus on myself, I am happy and ready with a fresh start,” she tells Drum.

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Zinhle joins the cast of the e-tv show House of Zwide and will play the role of Ntombi.

“Ntombi is from Umlazi in KwaZulu Natal. She is working in the corporate world and doing very well for herself. She has a child with Lazarus, a queer fashion designer played by Khaya Dladla. She comes into the show trying to create a relationship with Laz and his son,” she says.

“Laz left his home due to his status and never got a chance to hey have a relationship with his child due to the friction between families and he wants for that to change. Laz feared for his life, and he left to start a life somewhere else, and he came through to Johannesburg and worked at House Of Zwide,” She says.

Her last role on the small screen was evil but this time around she gets to play the opposite.

"Ntombi is nice. She is calm, chilled, and levelheaded,” she says.

“I played Sihle for many years. People know her evolution. She went from being a sweet village girl to being the villain. It is a role I loved playing, a lot of actors love playing villains because it challenges you and brings you to a different space, and demands more from you as an actress. But Ntombi is the opposite of that” she says.

“People are expecting me to come on the show with crazy behaviour but that won’t happen, she is not a villain. Ntombi is very mature, which for me is also refreshing.”

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The last two years have been challenging for Zinhle as her marriage made headlines almost every week.

“The last couple of years have not been easy, but I have been away raising my kids and trying to get into other business ventures off the ground. But most importantly, I have been selfish and taking better care of myself, my mental health, and physical wellbeing,” she says. 

“All the drama in the headlines really made me a stronger person and I don’t like to dwell on it. I am stronger, wiser and I take even better care of myself. My life, my moves, and my needs are more important because I’ve learned to protect myself better.”

Zihle says although it is only March, the year 2022 has been good to her.

“This year started on a very good note. I have many projects that I look forward to me announcing soon. I’m back to acting, something I love dearly. Storytelling is a huge part of who I am. I am grateful for this opportunity and getting another chance to do what I love again,” she says. 

“I am also looking forward to working behind the scenes as a director and producer, but I will announce it all in due time,” she adds.

“But mentally and physically, I’m in a much better place. I am a lot happier, more confident, and very optimistic. I look forward to every day. I’m very excited about life, and what it has to offer. I feel so blessed and grateful to have overcome so many hurdles.”

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