Mzwandile Ngubeni returns to screens as fearless pilot on The River

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Mzwandile Ngubeni has fans nervous on The River when he threatens the life of Lindiwe Dikana played by Sindi Dlathu.
Mzwandile Ngubeni has fans nervous on The River when he threatens the life of Lindiwe Dikana played by Sindi Dlathu.

The last time he was on television was in 2016 when he played Vuyo Vilakazi on the e-tv drama Umlilo.

Now actor and businessman Mzwandile Ngubeni (39) returns to screens as Elvis, a fearless pilot who chartered the helicopter that was shot down on the show’s third season finale episode leading to the death of Tumi on 1 Magic soapie The River.

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Mzwandile took a break from his acting career to further his business, Mazothe Media. He yearned to start a family of his own and needed to be able to “afford the costs of the family package that comprise of a mom, dad, kids and a house”. 

Married to Umzali Wam actress, Nolwazi Shange (37), Mzwandile has a marketing and communications business that uses different platforms such as radio, audiovisual and industrial theatre to create marketing opportunities for businesses while also offering executive facilitation.

Now that he is back on TV, he is learning the new way of doing things. “Being back on TV made me realise the game has changed; it's digital, fast paced and about more than just acting but also about doing more outside for yourself as an actor. Like marketing has become very important,” he says.

“Back then we didn't focus on that and we just went to parties and work only. There is now a strategy behind the game which is beautiful. It’s definitely different being back on TV but my heart is happy.”

To return on screen, he did what he thinks every actor should be doing. “Go back to the floor, take acting lessons - it’s like driving and if you haven't done it in a while you need a refresher course. I took the necessary steps to prepare and get into characterisation.” 

He carefully crafted Elvis's character from the way he walks, speaks and even laughs.

“Elvis possesses sick traits of toxic masculinity. He is like that guy who was not admired by chicks in school and then grows up to be accomplished yet yearns for what he couldn’t have back in school,” he says.

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Mzwandile started his television career in 1994 as a TV presenter on a youth show Word Power.

Over the years he also worked as a presenter on Youth Expressions, Spirit Sundae and Now Or Never.

He presented a variety of award ceremonies including Crown Gospel, SAFTAs, SAMAs, the METROs, and as an actor appeared on soapies Isidingo, Backstage and Generations, local dramas Justice For All, Taxi Ride, and Intersexions 2 and also starred as a lead in an international feature film, In Dessert And Wilderness (2001).

Mzwandile looks forward to playing more challenging roles in the future.

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