Getting to know Thembinkosi Brian Mthembu

Thembinkosi Brian Mthembu
Thembinkosi Brian Mthembu

Originally from kwaNdengezi, Durban, Thembinkosi obtained a diploma in Drama and Production Studies from Durban University of Technology in 2017. He arrived in the City of Gold that same year to pursue his acting dream. But, it wasn’t as easy as he had hoped. “Before The Republic and The River, I had odd jobs here and there. I worked at Checkers and then at Cell C as a dancer.”

READ MORE: Five career blunders to avoid in your 20s

My faith kept me going when I was unemployed. I’d ask myself: if you studied for four years, why can’t you wait another year or two? I knew something would eventually come up – I believed that wholeheartedly. 

My first role was on The Republic as Junior.  The producers of the show were the award-winning duo Phathu Makwarela and Gwydion Beynon. They’re also the co-creators of The River. After watching me portray Junior, they created a role for me as Mabutho.

View this post on Instagram

OnceAndAlways..

A post shared by Zidane Mthembu (@thembinkosi_zizou) on

READ MORE: One-on-one with Siya Sepotokele

My first few scenes on The River were nerve-racking. I was terrified to be on set, and having to work with seasoned actors – a part of me was intimidated. But, the team never sneered, and instead welcomed me with open arms. The cast guides and supports me daily, and that makes the set feel like home.

I was dissatisfied with my performance at the beginning. My fear and nerves got the better of me, and it showed on-screen. But as time went by, I became more confident, and affirmed that it wasn’t by luck that I got this job. It was because I’m talented, and deserve it.

READ MORE: 'Being on The River was an absolute dream' - Zenokuhle Maseko

View this post on Instagram

Jobe 1: kusazonyiwa.????

A post shared by Zidane Mthembu (@thembinkosi_zizou) on

Being a present father is the most important role I will ever play. My daughter is 21 months old, and her presence has changed how I view the world. When she was born, I wasn’t working, and this posed a challenge because I couldn’t provide for her. Thankfully, my mother lent a helping hand by assisting with rent, and paying for my daughter’s needs at the time. Now that I’m in a better position financially, I’m fully enjoying fatherhood.

One of the teachings I’ll instill in my daughter is independence. I want her to be educated, and put herself first.

READ MORE: Balancing WFH and parenthood

My advice to aspiring actors is…

1.   Get a qualification. While I was unemployed, that paper kept me hopeful and positive.

2.   Make sure you’re passionate about acting.

3.   Don’t compare yourself to others.