One-on-one with Gomora’s Siphesihle Ndaba

Siphesihle Ndaba
Siphesihle Ndaba

As one of the new kids on TV right now — through her car-hijacker character Mazet, on Mzansi Magic’s new telenovela Gomora — there’s no hiding from the spotlight for the talented Siphesihle Ndaba. The Soweto-bred actress shares how she’d been making plans to return to Rhodes University for a two-year Masters programme in Arts Management when she decided to audition for a role on Gomora.

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To prove just how aligned the stars were for her to get this big break, she remembers getting a call-back while on an academic travel bursary, in London, late last year and being allowed to submit a recorded performance. “When I came back to South Africa, I re-auditioned and they confirmed that they loved and wanted to work with me,” she recalls. 

Best wardrobe staple right now…”Definitely my pair of balloon jeans that I bought at Primark in London. You can wear them with anything — literally every T-shirt, jersey or jacket looks perfect with these jeans. Also, they are not too tight and allow for movement — and there’s nothing I love more than comfort.”

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Best and eye-opening mistake…”In first year, I thought it was a good idea to befriend and be liked by everyone. I soon realised that that was not a good idea. I learnt that the bigger your friendship circles are, the easier it becomes to lose sight of your true self because you have to adapt to each circle’s way of doing things. I went down to having five friends in second year, and basically had to learn to be okay with not being everyone’s cup of tea.”

Best comfort food…”Dunked wings. I have a thing for wings in any form [chuckles].”

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Best book…”It definitely isn’t your usual motivational type. The book that had an impact on me was Jodie Picoult’s Sing You Home — it’s an body of work that made me angry and had me crying. I was fully emotionally invested in it.” 

Best weekend…”A weekend with my family in Kenton-on-Sea, just outside Grahamstown, before my last graduation in 2019. We booked out a house for the weekend and had picnics on the beach. It was great to see all of us relaxed because we lead such busy lives here in Joburg.”

Best compliment…”It really touches my heart when people acknowledge my work ethic — and just how much I put into everything that I do, be it on stage or behind the scenes.”

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Best surprise…”My mom surprised me with a birthday party when I turned 10. Things were tough financially so I really wasn’t expecting it. I thought we’d buy a cake and sing at home like we usually did. I can’t remember where I’d been, but I arrived home to a yard full of people, food everywhere and a jumping castle. I think I actually cried.”

Best pick-me-up…”Signing into the Rhodes University Drama Department’s The Movement Room — it was always full because everyone wanted to rehearse there. My pick-me-up was having an hour of just moving in that room.”

Best vice…”Definitely food. I really know how to comfort eat [chuckles].”

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Best decision so far…”Not doubting myself and going to the Gomora auditions. I was very reluctant to attend because I kept convincing myself that screen and stage acting were worlds apart — and I mostly resonate with the latter. To keep my doubts at bay, I had so many internal conversations with myself!”