She joins the cast of DiepCity as Zola, a charming and yet hardened gangster.
Zola was raised by her dad, a big-time gangster, Mafioso who started the Mashonisa (loan shark) trend in his area and trained his daughter to walk in his footsteps.
Sonia Mbele (44) has been away from TV screens for two years, waiting for the right role and it seems she has found one to challenge herself with.
The last time she appeared on the small screen was in 2019 in the production, Blessed. But she has been busy behind the scenes focusing on business ventures and her production company.
“I have not really been gone; I’ve just been behind the scenes,” she says.
“Acting will always remain my first love, no matter what I do. I was always going to come back on screen. I just needed a role that made sense for me and be with productions that have been tried and tested, and not be in something new,” Sonia says.
“I’ve missed just the adrenalin of waking up early for morning calls and being on that set and the acting environment, but I just needed the right role for me,” she adds.
Zola is a gorgeous and sensual man-eater who is a cutthroat and hardcore killer.
“Men marvel over her beauty but they also fear her. She was raised and groomed by her kingpin father whose gun smuggling syndicate she inherited,” Sonia says.
Zola grew up in the business and was raised to be tough as nails so that she would not be undermined when she takes over.
The other kingpins want her, but they fear and respect her more because she killed her father's lieutenant when he undermined her in front of other people. She has no female friends, and she is a playful vixen who only reveals her dark side when it is necessary.
She pursues gangster Mgedeza because she sees him as her absolute equal. But things don’t go as planned for her in the love department.
“She grew up with only brothers and her dad roped her into that life of crime even as a teenager because she was fierce and daring. As a teenager, she would go do the dirty work of collecting money. She has come a long way, she is fearless, hardcore, but there unento echazayo (There is a certain charm about her),” Sonia says.
Sonia has never worked with Black Brain Productions before and she can not wait to learn from the crew and cast.
“I have always been a fan of their work. I loved the work they put on Lockdown,” Sonia says.
“Some years ago, I took a course with Sediba Programme through the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) and wrote a short story about a woman who is imprisoned for killing her abusive husband. She loses her cool and, in the story, she ends up in jail. When I wrote the story at the time, I was told that people were not ready for the type of story. So, when I saw Lockdown, I felt a strong connection to Black Brain because great minds think alike, and I connect with their productions. I have always known that one day we would work together,” Sonia says.
She did not audition for the part but received a call from Mandla N to join the cast.
“Mandla called me and told me he created a role that would suit me and after two sentences into the conversation, I was sold,” Sonia says.
Behind the scenes, Sonia is working on creating her original productions.
“Yes there was the Real Housewives of Johannesburg which I worked on, but I am working on creating original productions that will be revealed very soon,” she says.
Sonia made her first appearance on DiepCity on 27 July. Catch DiepCity on weekdays at 8pm on Mzansi Magic, DStv channel 161.