Meshack Mavuso on starring in Durban Gen and lessons he’s learnt in his career

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Mavuso Magabane (formerly Meshack Mavuso) is starring in's new medical drama airing this October.
Mavuso Magabane (formerly Meshack Mavuso) is starring in's new medical drama airing this October.
Instagram/Durban Gen ETV

He can't wait to return to the small screen.

After a short stint on The River, veteran actor Meshack Mavuso is shooting’s new medical drama, Durban Gen as we catch up with him.

He plays Dr Thabo Dlamini, head of surgery and a man he says is very selfish and craves “absolute authority”.

“Durban General Hospital is one of those hospitals where every doctor wants to work. With us telling the stories of the emergency room, we also try to tell the story behind the scenes of the lifestyle of doctors.

“Dr Thabo Dlamini is arrogant, has the biggest ego and he loves power. I love that this role is different from my most recent roles – he’s a man that viewers will love to hate,” Meshack says.

Read more | 4 scenes of The River’s Ntsizwa we’ll never forget – and Meshack Mavuso on his departure from the show

Life-long learning

Meshack tells Drum learning is a two-way street, as he reflects on his transition from being a theatre performer to his first starring role in the legendary TV show, Yizo Yizo.

“With this industry, there’s a lot of learning that happens in acting,” he says.

“There’s nothing like, ‘I’ve been doing this for so and so years and I know everything’. Veteran actors should be open to learning from the new and upcoming talent as much as they are eager to learn from us.”

Mavuso says he will never forget Javas on Yizo Yizo.

“I was thrown into the deep end with Yizo Yizo. We were young and we had people like Patrick Shai who were there and guiding us throughout the whole journey.

“So now, I’m doing the same thing. I’m guiding these young ones who just came through and again learning from them because that’s just the nature of work – we learn every day.”

Read more | Actor Seputla Sebogodi on his role as husband, actor and father: “I cook for my wife everyday”

Three guiding principles

As a man deeply grounded in giving back, not only to his community of Gomora but also to the industry, he has principles that guide each move that he makes.

This is what he believes aspiring actors should be mindful of:

Learn art for art sake, he says. Aspiring actors should learn and engage in art not only because it’s their passion but also because of how powerful it is. He says each character an actor portrays has a purpose and a meaningful story to tell.

“Don’t get into the industry for fame,” he says. “This will be your greatest downfall. For me, the most important aspect is using art as a vehicle to address social ills. As a form of activism. Whenever you take on a role or their story ends, the viewers must learn something from you.”

As examples, he points to his last role as Ntsizwa on 1Magic’s The River, which told the story of the country’s health system, and the musical production, Marikana, which told the sordid tale of the Marikana mine massacre in 2012.

“Lastly, be humble,” he says. “Yes, we hear this a lot, but it is important. It’s important that when your star is rising and you are moving up, you respect all the people that you meet ‘down there’ and along the way because when you come down, those are the people who will carry you.”

Durban Gen premieres on 5 October at 6.30pm on

See a trailer for the show below:

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