THEY say good acting is believable acting. Actress Gugu Gumede (24), who plays MaMlambo in SABC 1’s drama series, Uzalo is so natural, believable, convincing and an excellent actress that you could never imagine her being someone or anything else but MaMlambo. Most people know her as an old woman who is all about prophecy. However, Gugu is a young stylish woman who describes herself as a godly, hard-working and affable person.
She grew up in KwaZulu-Natal in a small town called Ulundi with her brother; both were raised by a single mother who is a well-known politician, named Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi. Gugu points out that everything that she has achieved it is because of her hard-work and not because of her mother’s status. She says due to her mother’s busy schedule she went to boarding school. “I was in boarding school for most of my life. By the time I reached high school, we were living in Durban. I had a very loving childhood as it was just the three of us,” says Gugu.
PASSION FOR HER CRAFT
Gugu says she loves acting and it is something that she always wanted to do. She studied drama at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles. “I’ve been acting throughout school, and when I was in the US, I was doing community theatre as well as some industrial work. I then came back to South Africa to join Generations in 2013,” she says. She played Mandisa Bulawayo who was working as an investigator. She came to revenge Sibusiso Dlomo on getting her father killed. She says she was born for acting and her love for acting grows every day. “I love bringing mere words on a script to life. I love transforming a character and breathing life into it. Most of the time we’re given an outline of the character, and as actors, we put our all into it and come out with an actual human being, which can be even more than the writers ever imagined,” she says. “MaMlambo was initially quite different to what she is now, and I love that. It’s stepping into another person’s life, and stepping out of it at the end of the day. It can be dangerous emotionally, but it’s magical.”
Gugu says having to play the character of an older woman has been a great experience. “I wouldn’t have asked for a better character to portray. Currently where I am as a spiritual person, this is a great character for me. Things of the spirit are things of the spirit, whatever way you look at them,” she explains. “My journey as a child of God has opened my eyes immensely; and because art imitates life, this allows me to bring it to my character. I also love that MaMlambo is so different from me in terms of style; I’m a weave and make-up girl. People are always so surprised when they meet me in person.” She shares that she relates to the character of the prophetic woman as she is also a woman of God. “I am a born-again person and live as per the teachings of the Word of God. Prophecy is a big part of the Bible and God often used His prophets to fulfill His word. My father is also a prophet,” she says. “I have been under my father’s guidance for a while and can attest to prophecy being very real; my concern with certain individuals is where the gift of prophecy stems from, because it can come from the wrong source of power.”