Actress Khanya Mkangisa on staying on top of her game

Actress and DJ Khanya Mkangisa is in a good place with her career and wants to focus on staying positive.
Actress and DJ Khanya Mkangisa is in a good place with her career and wants to focus on staying positive.

She is on a winning streak. She didn't get here by chance, she says, but through hard work.

This year has been going great. She bought her second home, her DJ career is blossoming, she is in the new cast of Unmarried and she joins season 10 of the Tropika Island of Treasure All-Stars as a returning celebrity contestant. 

Actress Khanya Mkangisa turned 34 on 13 March and she has so much to be grateful for. 

“Tropika Island Of Treasure is back, and I am so excited to be returning. This time it’s bigger because it’s the 10th season, it includes celebrity contestants from the previous season,” she says.

Hosted by Anga “NaakMusiQ “Makubalo, the winner of Season 7 in Seychelles with his contestant partner Bonginkosi Ndima, this year the show promises more competition and fun.

“I am generally very competitive, and I have my competition game face on. Having been there before, I know the challenges are tough and can be mentally draining.” 

She competed in season 8 in the Maldives and made it to the semifinals even though everyone doubted her.

“I had so much drive. I made it to the semifinals, and I think a lot of people expected me to be one of the first people to be eliminated until I started beating them. So, I am going to be super competitive.”

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Khanya is also on the brand-new cast of 1Magic drama series Unmarried season three with Mapula Mafole who plays Rea and Florence Mokgatsi who plays Confidence and other cast members Kabelo Moalusi (The Throne, The Queen), rapper Jesse Suntele (The Queen, The Hustle) and Lulu Hela (The River, Is’thunzi).

Produced by Ferguson Films, the show makes a return on 8 April with a new storyline and new problems for its characters to tackle.

Khanya plays the lead role of go-getter and social media influencer, Enzokuhle, while the first two seasons dealt with issues faced by women in their mid-to-late 30s, such as navigating motherhood, romance, and careers.

This season follows three friends in their 20s trying to survive the concrete jungle and all its predators.

It explores what it means to be unmarried in your 20s in South Africa, from sexual liberation and the freedom to choose who you want to be with, to relationship statuses that range from ‘just vibing’ to polyamory.

It’s a tough dating landscape, especially when relationships are put under social media scrutiny.

“Enzokuhle is amazing, she is a driven social media queen,” Khanya says.

“She goes after what she wants and believes in changing the stereotype that women should be submissive and wait on men to provide, she is unapologetic and I resonate with her a lot in that aspect,” she says.

“She might be one of my favourite roles thus far. But I love what they have done, changing the cast completely and bringing new dynamics with younger women and including how we as a society have adapted to social media,” she adds.

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While her acting career is on a high, she still makes time for her DJ career.

“I will never stop DJing,” she says.

“It’s still going really great. I get bookings which I only take on weekends when I am not filming. I make time for all the things that I love but I also prioritize rest for my mental health and good I make sure I take care of myself,” she says.

“I don’t feel the need to push myself too hard with the DJing and gigs, but I will never stop because I love it and it's great seeing more female DJs coming out of the woodworks.”

In March, Khanya celebrated her birthday month by buying her second property.

She bought her first home a few years ago.

“It’s dream come true. I have been wanting to move into a bigger place for a long time. I bought my first property a few years ago, which I have now leased out. I persevered and worked hard to get my second home and I feel so blessed. I have already started decorating it, but I’m doing everything slowly, the view and pieces are starting to feel like home. I also want a glamour closet and I’m taking my time, trying to figure it out.,” she says.

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Having started her career as a child star on YoTV, she's gone on to star in some of the country's biggest shows including Isidingo and Shattered. She's all grown up now and has made a few mistakes that have made headlines but she understands no one is perfect. 

In 2019, she got into trouble with the law after being arrested for drunk driving and the video of the incident went viral on social media. In an interview with Thomas Msengana and Pearl Modiadie, Khanya shed light on the effect the video had on her career.

“There was a campaign I was supposed to do. I got the dreaded email that due to the video that is circulating we’re going to have to... you know. To this day, clients have taken a step back, especially the influencing work. It’s taken a knock, which sucks.” 

But she apologized and moved on.

“These days, I don’t pay attention to bad publicity,” she says.

“When my Twitter account was hacked last year, I was going to create a new one for work. But I realized that I was happier without it. It’s such a toxic environment and a lot of people are not happy, and they project that. So, where I can avoid negativity, I protect my peace. When I don’t need to be in certain spaces, I leave,” she says.

“That’s opened me up to not seeing criticism. I feel so much more at peace and happier, which says a lot. I am still on social media, but I don’t experience hate and criticism as much. I have learned to be very accountable to myself. If I am in the wrong, I hold myself accountable and I try to handle things better and not to be super hard on myself or punish myself but learn from my mistake. I always analyze the situation and see where I am wrong and where the bad criticism is coming from. Is it constructive or are people trying to get my attention? But I don’t focus too much on it,” she says.

Once Khanya wraps up shooting Unmarried, she wants to take some time out to focus on her health.

“I will start prepping for Tropika Island Of Treasure and start working out again. I haven't been to the gym because of my tight schedule. I have been on the back foot and I’m giving myself May to DJ and then focus on gym,” she says.

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