Olwethu Mackay on playing Senzo on House of Zwide and becoming a star at 18

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Olwethu McKay is the breakout star of House of Zwide.
Olwethu McKay is the breakout star of House of Zwide.

He is fresh out of high school and has already made a name for himself as a breakout star on e.TV drama House of Zwide.

Olwethu MacKay (18) is a young actor who grew up in Mpumalanga, where he was raised by his grandmother. He later moved to Joburg to live with his mom.

“In Grade 9 I realised that I have a passion for acting and I liked the attention that came with it. I auditioned for a school show, but I didn’t get the role, the teacher said I could participate backstage. The following year I auditioned again, and I got the lead role where I won the best actor award at a school ceremony.”

He went on to join the National School of the Arts where he studied Drama and was part of the matric class of 2021.

He hopes to pursue motion picture studies with the goal of being a director, he says, as he draws inspiration from Mandla N. He also wants to be one of the most recognised directors in South Africa one day.

On House Zwide he plays Senzo Zwide, a teenage boy born into wealth who spoilt and living in luxury. 

“Playing Senzo has been amazing, he is your typical teenager, and he does things that a normal teenager would do which I relate to because I am a teenager myself. He’s rebellious and he takes everything as a joke. People have received the character very well and I had a seven-year-old kid ask me if I was rich when he bumped into me at a mall. It is things like that, that make the job very rewarding.”

He says that working alongside industry legends such as Winnie Ntshaba, who plays his mother, Vusi Kunene who plays his father, Matshepo Maleme and Matlatsi Mafatshe has been a dream come true and that he enjoys every minute he gets to be with them on set.

“I always tell them it’s unbelievable that I get to casually chill with them on set, but I grew up watching them on TV. They are giants in the industry, and it makes me want work harder so I can prove myself worthy of acting with them.”

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His elder sister, Lungelo is one of his inspirations as she has helped shape his love for the arts and has taught him the skill of photography.

“My sister has been doing photography since 2017, she’s been training me and that’s what got me to want to pursue directing.”

Olwethu is also a vocalist, and he goes by the name MacKHANIC and he has released a song Amakhosi (Myekeleni). He hopes that people will support the multifaceted artist that he is. He is also a painter and sketching and he does these things as a form to express himself.

“I will make more music and I don’t want to limit myself as an artist, there’s too many things that I have been gifted to do. My sister and I will be putting out short films soon and I would like to be more on the screen because I really enjoy doing too.”

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