‘She was powerful, black, unapologetic’ – Siv Ngesi dedicates his role on The Woman King to late mom

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Siv Ngesi says it would have meant a lot for his mom to see him alongside an international cast.
Siv Ngesi says it would have meant a lot for his mom to see him alongside an international cast.
Oupa Bopape/Galloimages

This is his season, and he is winning.

He stars on Showmax's Original African fantasy series Blood Psalms which premiered 28 September.

He also has a role in the 1800’s movie The Woman King about a group of all-female warriors called the Agojie whose mission is to protect the African kingdom of Dahomey and fight against a foreign enemy that will be at Ster Kinekor cinemas in South Africa from 30 September 2022.

Actor, athlete, and pole dancer Sivuyile ‘Siv’ Ngesi plays the role of the Migan - the voice of reason, and King Ghezo’s advisor on The Woman King.

He acts alongside a star-studded cast consisting of Viola Davis, Thuso Mbedu and John Boyega, and many others.

While others are celebrating his success and wins, his one wish is that his mom was around to watch him shine on international stages.  But he believes she is watching over him. 

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Siv lost his mother on 11 August after a battle with a severe case of bronchitis.

“My mom was sickly for a little while,” Siv tells Drum. 

“She died at home in Cape Town. That was her wish.”

At the press conference of The Woman King, Siv seems happy but he also says he is battling with grief and talking has been somehow therapeutic. 

“I am the youngest with two big sisters. But if anyone had told me I would be feeling this way, maybe I would have said they are exaggerating,” he says. 

“I am supposed to be celebrating but all of this means nothing right now. I am in between congratulations and condolences,” he adds. 

“I can’t describe the pain of losing a mom, it is unbearable. I feel the heartbreak, physically.” 

Siv’s mom was happy for him when he got the role.

“But you know what it’s like with our parents, if you’re not on a big soapie, you haven’t quite made it. To her, I hadn’t arrived yet,” he jokes. 

He describes the day she died as the worst day of his life. 

“I am still walking around half human, half dead and I’m really just on autopilot,” he says. 

“My mother was the quintessential woman king, powerful, strong, black, and unapologetic. Unfortunately born at the wrong time and you will only understand that when you’ve had a black mother. What she needed was just a little bit more resources and opportunities and the kind of things she would have done would be amazing.” 

He dedicates this role to his very own woman king. 

“She was able to raise a king and I am struggling to live in a world where I am not trying to make her happy. It’s all beautiful to be part of The Woman King but it would have meant a lot more to me if she was around to say that she is proud of me. At the moment I am just taking it one day at a time and trying to breathe. I know she would have loved it, stood up in the theatre and screamed to people not to kill her son,” he says. 

“This has been a weird time. I don’t know what it means for all of you but for me, this is dedicated to my mother, the quintessential woman king who was honoured to hear my heartbeat from the inside.”  

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Siv put in a lot of work towards his role in The Woman King. He had just started bodybuilding when he got the job, so he was photoshoot ready. 

“I arrived already ripped and was ready to show my abs. But working on this production was intense. We had meal preps and a strict workout regime. We shot at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, and we needed to adjust to that while making sure we give a great performance I am so honoured to have been part of this production and made new friends who I learn from daily,” he says.

He knows he has a bright future ahead of him and he looks forward to no longer being the underdog.

“I am unapologetically one of the most talented people in this country,” he says.

But he also feels that he is underrated. 

“People can’t place me because I do a lot of things. I don’t think I fit in a box, but it’s a pro and a con. Often South Africans want you to be an actor or presenter. I act, box, pole dance. I am multi-faceted.” 

Siv says the cast of The Woman King was intrigued by his pole dancing skill. 

“Viola Davis, John Boyega, and I spoke about my pole and drag. The character I play in The Woman King is aggressive and different from the character. Viola was impressed by how I can be a boxer yet still be gentle, and flexible on the pole,” he says.

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