'I was sweating the whole time' - young actress on her character disrespecting Harriet on The Queen

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Rising star Kwanele Mthethwa reflects on being on The Queen.
Rising star Kwanele Mthethwa reflects on being on The Queen.

She’s only 25 years old, so she grew up watching Connie Ferguson on TV. Having to disrespect her on The Queen as she played Phumeza, Brutus’ girlfriend, was not easy.

Kwanele Mthethwa chats to Drum just a week after her character was killed off the telenovela. Brutus (played by Themba Ndaba) has over the years had many women come and go in his life. But never has any of them tried to dethrone Harriet Khoza as the queen of the mansion.

But for days, viewers watched in shock as the latest floozy in his life gave instructions to staff, sat in her chair at the dinner table and even wore Harriet’s clothes saying they do not suit her because she is old.

As the new kid on the block, Kwanele says she could not believe what she was doing.

“Oh my word, it was a lot. Phumeza was so disrespectful. I was so nervous about this character, but I had to put Kwanele aside and get into Phumeza. I had to put my adoration and admiration I have for her (Connie) aside so that I could be true to the character. I was sweating the whole time because I could not believe what I was doing,” she says.

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Connie was very gracious about it off camera, Kwanele says.

“She was very nice. She made me feel comfortable around her and I am sure she is used to people being nervous around her, so she knows how to handle those situations. She was very welcoming, and we had a couple of conversations in between takes and she was very nice. She made me calm down. She was pretty cool, and she made working with her very easy actually,” she says.

She takes the country into her confidence and tells us the truth we all want to know about whether Uncle Brutus has a script or not.

“He does have a script,” she laughs. “But he does not stick to it.”

He says the most absurd things often in vulgar language and he incredibly funny and Kwanele says he uses his script as a guideline.

“He has a script but he improvises a lot. He sticks to the core or the essence of what is happening but he does it in his own words.”

But how did she manage to keep a straight face?

“I was just so into it that when he threw something at me, I was quick on my feet and I would throw something back at him. So I was not really worried about spoiling the takes with me breaking out into laughter because of the things he says.”

She was recently on Abomama season 2 and Showmax’s Umakoti Wethu.

“I had an interest in acting and I started by making TikTok videos. I was emailing production companies and sending them my profile. I moved from Durban to Joburg because I wanted to pursue my dream on being an actress.

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“I was told the best way to get into the industry was to have an agency and so I got one. My first audition was for The Imposter S2 but that did not go very well and so I did not get the role. But the next time I got an audition it was for Isithembiso and I got the gig.”

She has just finished shooting a feature film that will be released next year and she is trying to get as many auditions as she can so that she can land her next big role.

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