Scandal! actress Dakalo shares how she juggles high school, acting and becoming a sangoma

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Scandal! actress and high school pupil Dakalo Gift Mopole.
Scandal! actress and high school pupil Dakalo Gift Mopole.

It wasn't the typical 16th birthday bash, but the talented teen wouldn't have it any other way.

Her life took a turn eight months ago when she had to go to initiation school to undergo ukuthwasa and become a sangoma. Recently, it was her homecoming and graduation as a sangoma and she also celebrated her 16th birthday. 

Eight months ago she answered her calling and went to ephehlweni, an initiation school to learn and understand her gift and calling. She was juggling school, work, and initiation school. It was not easy for her but she had to reflect and make peace with the fact that she is not like other teenagers. 

In a chat with Drum, choreographer, percussionist, and actress Dakalo Gift Mopole tells us about the life-changing journey that she intends to embrace as the chosen one. Growing up, she knew she was different and expressed herself through art. She used to perform a lot, mostly dancing or stage performances. She now has a new name Mkhulu Phahla Metsing, which comes with responsibilities.

She says she feels great to honour her great grandfather and has accepted the calling because of the things he has already done for her.

“Everything that I’ve gotten in life is all because of him, so honouring him for me is something that I can do every day and I don’t mind going through this journey honouring him and I feel so happy serving him.”

She plays Mo on’s Scandal, a troubled varsity student who keeps her life a secret even from her roommates Lindiwe and Nhamulo. She grew up with a mother who didn’t like her only to find out that she is not her real mother and she is the child Dinlte gave up for adoption. She is obsessed with wanting to have a conversation with Dintle and that obsession made her come across as Dintle’s stalker. 

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Dakalo says art and her calling work hand in hand and that is how she knew there was something special about her.

“Art is something that has always been there, I can’t really say where I got the inspiration from. Growing up I would perform, and dance whether on stage or whenever I was given a platform, I use to perform a lot. Even in class performances I wouldn’t be shy to participate in anything that has to do with art.”

She joined the National School of the Art when she was 13, and at 15, she realized that she wanted to pursue art as a career.

While pursuing her dreams and her career started to bloom when she joined the cast of Pearls of Wisdom on Showmax, she started to have dreams and visions. This was not the first time but they became constant and she would always share them with her mother.

“I realised last year that I have a calling, and I went to the place my ancestors showed me to answer my calling. I spent nine months at my Gobela’s place and I took it as a life-changing experience, and young as I am, I didn’t think of it as abuse but it was something that felt like I wanted and it was normal,” she says.

She says it was normal because before she accepted the calling, she took time to reflect on what exactly was happening to her and what this calling is. “I was fifteen reflecting on how answering the calling would work for me, how is it going to work for other people and what am I going to do that is different because now truth be told, the name [calling] has been tarnished, so I thought how am I going to stand out and how am I going to change. And because of that and the positive side of it, I realised that this is a chance to take to also change my life and that is how I accepted my calling,” Dakalo says.

She says juggling school and everything was hard and it sometimes got out of her control. "I had to accept that I don’t have a social life so that I can prioritise my things," she tells Drum.

“Now that I am done I feel very proud, happy, and more motivated to work after all the advice I have got at my homecoming ceremony and I feel like the world is ready for me. And I feel so proud to get all the support. It is all the people I never thought would accept or stand seeing this journey and all those I didn’t have hope for as well as the ones I thought weren’t my friends who came and supported me at the ceremony and I am happy and grateful,” Dakalo says.

She is still on a strict diet and she says she can’t wait to put her hands on a seafood boil after two weeks. Her mother, Ouma Molope says at first it was very difficult to accept because they don’t have sangomas in their family right now, it was a thing of the elders in the family. However, she feels so happy and proud that Dakalo took on this journey.

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“My grandfather was a sangoma back then, so it was so difficult to accept that. She was having these visions and dreams. I could see that she will end up on this path and I just didn’t want to accept it. It is not easy to accept especially when the child is sixteen. It took me three months to accept that my child has to answer her calling because when this thing happens the child has visions, dreams and her results at school are now dropping, she has headaches, is always sleepy, and her nose bleeds, that is when I took it seriously,” Ouma says.

She says her daughter started to lose concentration and isolated herself, that is when she took Dakalo’s calling seriously and still it was not easy for her.

“This is my only child, and having to accept that she is going to stay with someone else for six months is not a child’s play. I had to accept and understand what is it that she needs to do. You find yourself doing research, wanting to know more about this thing and know what it is that your child is doing. And now that she went through it and she is back home, it feels good because she went through her journey. It wasn’t easy for my child but she was strong and we were supporting each other,” she says.

She says she is mostly happy that Dakalo started something and finished it.

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