She describes herself as the fulfilment of her ancestors’ wildest dreams. After 10 years of working behind the microphone on Ukhozi FM as a DJ, she’s now making a name for herself on TV. Sthandwa Nzuza (35) has always loved television, she tells Move!.
She’s had roles on SABC1’s Uzalo as Innocentia and Mzansi Magic’s eHostela as Friendship. But her career highlight is bagging a lead role in Stained Glass Production’s Ifalakhe, which is big for her, especially how it represents Zulu culture.
For the 35-year-old, television has always been her first love, which is why she had no qualms about leaving radio to pursue the craft.
“Radio was great, and I’ve done it long enough. I studied drama at the Durban University of Technology so I can say that the universe has brought me closer to television.”
Ifalakhe is her second TV drama series in a year, but her first leading role. She plays Nomvula, Queen of the Okuhle tribe, second wife to King Khombindlela and mother to Busani. She and her character are very different, she says.
“Sthandwa is nothing like Nomvula and Nomvula is nothing like Sthandwa. I’m cool and calm in general, always smiling but no one should ever take my kindness for weakness.
“Nomvula is a villainous and bitter woman who will move mountains for her son to be king. I don’t think there’s a person who would love her demeanour. The audience loves to hate me because of this role.”
Her professional training helped her prepare for any role, she says. “My past supporting roles are not even close to the role I’m portraying now. I’m grateful to Stained Glass Productions for believing in me”
It’s more juggling in terms of work and family, being a wife and mother. It’s not easy but she’s thankful for the support she receives from her family as she has to move between KwaZulu-Natal and Johannesburg.
She’s enjoying working on TV and is all about giving her best in every project. That’s how she landed this role, she says, because of her work ethic. She had the most fun with Queen Nomvula when her character was adamant that nothing would stop her son becoming king.
“Ngiyindlovukazi yakwaOkuhle, Indodana yami izoba inkosi, kumyama kubomvu,” the queen told her followers, which translates to: “I am queen of the Okuhle tribe, my son will be king, no matter what.” The more she appears on TV, the bigger her online presence grows, she shares.
She’s been sharing behind-the scenes snaps of life on set, keeping her followers in the loop. Now she’s going to work harder for more opportunities, she shares, and she’s positive they will come her way!