Having just finished her Honours Degree in dramatic arts at Rhodes University, Siphesihle Ndaba landed herself a role in the upcoming telenovela Gomora.
The Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) show will be premiere on 30 March at 19:30.
In the build up to the show - which will also star former Isidingo actress Katlego Danke - Siphesihle spoke to DRUM about her journey in the arts and how she cemented her first major role.
"I’ve always been engulfed in art and music. That is how my love for anything artistic began," she said.
The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls (OWLAG) alumni said her acting career started while she was in high school.
"I would say my acting career started in high school. At OWLAG it was compulsory to have two art subjects and mine were drama and dance. I auditioned for a number of musicals and my love for acting grew when we did I am an emotional creature by Eve Ensler."
"That was the solidifying production/musical that I did. I got the thrill of being on stage and that is when I went, 'This is what I want', she said.
The 22-year-old Siphesihle unpacked the nerve-wrecking process of auditioning her role in Gomora.
"Kutlwano Ditsele, the executive producer, posted on his social media pages and said, "We’re hosting open auditions; anybody who would like to come through must come through."
"I sent in all of the necessary documents, arrived at the venue and auditioned. When I got to the auditions, I was nervous because I saw so many familiar faces. I didn’t think I was going to get the role but luckily, I received an email and they wanted me for a call back."
"I was in London at the time, on a travel bursary, and I had to ask everyone I was with to help record my self-tape. Everyone was assigned a role; from cameraman to the extras and I am so grateful that they were all willing to help me. We taped it, I sent it back to his team and they asked me to come in for a second call back once I arrived back in SA. That’s when I got the part," she said excitedly.
"I had to be discreet about the role for a very long time which was difficult for me because I love sharing with the people I love. My mother, the most supportive woman I know and my best friend, was over the moon when I told her. She made me realise how amazing it is for somebody to graduate and get an opportunity to do what they studied for. In the South Africa that we live in right now, it is very difficult to find employment, even if you’re qualified. It was actually quite the emotional journey; from thinking you won’t get the role, to people wanting to see your self-tape which meant that they saw potential in me," she shared.
MORE ABOUT HER CHARACTER
She described her character and how it has been working with her cast members.
"Working on set is so surreal. I have moments where I pause, and I’m filled with such gratitude and appreciation for my path aligning. I have such talented and dedicated cast members; experienced and new to the industry. People who respect the craft and don’t take this opportunity lightly. Everyone helps with their critique and even the directors give us creative freedom. I play Zanele on the show, also known as Mazet. I can’t exactly say what she does because that would be giving away her plot. Just know that she is an unfiltered character. She does what needs to be done to survive. I think the one thing we have in common is that she’s a go-getter!"
"I am really passionate about telling our stories. Our stories as black people, black women, etc. I can only hope that one day I authentically tell these stories. I want to tell stories that haven’t been told. I really want to get into Edutainment. I want to portray work that is proudly South African and that is what I enjoy about Gomora. It is the reality of many South Africans. Viewers can expect a lot of rawness and authenticity."
WATCH A TEASER HERE:
Gomora will air from Monday 30 March, every weekday at 19:30 on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161).