She is proof that a dream deferred is not a dream denied. She graduated from drama school 15 years ago and just got her big TV break on e.tv’s telenovela, Imbewu: The Seed.
It's been a long road to her success. From falling pregnant as a teenager and recently losing both her parents a few weeks apart, Ayanda Mthiyane (37) knows quite a bit about adversity.
She also knows to never give up after she received her long awaited break into the entertainment industry. She's still grieving but she is going all out for the new role.
She is no stranger to the media industry as she has worked behind the scenes in communications across events, entertainment, corporate and she is a brands and publicity specialist.
She says falling pregnant while in matric was eye-opening for her. It motivated her to work hard towards her dreams.
“It was a wake call, I succeeded so much after having a child, I think if I didn’t have a child so early, I wouldn’t have worked as hard. I took responsibility for my life; I was young, and I had to find a balance between partying and being there for my child. I understood that I had a child, and my friends didn’t.
“I am a very out-going, transparent woman. I grew up around my parents and my four older sisters. I had a great childhood; I was protected, and I was given room to thrive too. I studied drama and media studies at University of Kwa-Zulu Natal. Drama has always been my thing, it has always been my gift. It allows me to be anything and anyone,” she tells DRUM.
Due to the lack of job opportunities at the time of her graduation Ayanda decided to voluntarily teach drama at local schools in Umlazi. She later ventured into communications and public relations where she worked for over a decade with different brands.
Her big break on Imbewu is a full circle moment for her, coming so close after the loss of her parents.
“When its your time to prosper, its your time. My parents passed away in January, following each other and they have always believed in me. I was offered the job by an agent and he asked If I was still keen to tap into my passion for acting again. I have spent so many years behind the scenes that the thought of being in front of the camera scared me because I thought I was not good enough. It’s a full circle moment for me, I know it will kick-start many other opportunities.”
Her character on Imbewu: The Seed is Mzion, a hardcore criminal and leader who takes matters into her own hands when it comes to resolving issues.
The character allows her to tap into what female inmates go through to survive prison but also shows a delicate side to her as a woman.
“Mzion she is very rough; I get to be a skhothane. I can’t be that in real life, I love the fact that she owns her power even if it's through crime. She has a heart-warming story that viewers will get to see but she is very loyal. I have a few similarities with her, like wanting to be in control where I am. I want to own the space of where I am. She has a vey strong presence and I also have a presence that is God ordained.”
Ayanda says that the one thing that has anchored her is prayer.
“I pray every day, it’s the only thing that keeps me going especially with my parents being gone. My life has changed. I feel like I must start all over again because everything I knew has been crushed. It has also helped me believe in myself more because my parents' voice is not here to affirm me daily.”
Ayanda believes that her parents would be proud of her breakthrough and she says she feels their support with her all the time.
“I know for a fact that they are very proud of me right now. They have always wanted this for me for so long. I already know the support they would be showing me right. I always wanted this dream to come though while they were still alive, but I feel their support even now.”