Rising star Mbalenhle Mavimbela on playing Hlomu on Showmax’s The Wife

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Mbalenhle Mavimbela plays Hlomu Dladla on The Wife.
Mbalenhle Mavimbela plays Hlomu Dladla on The Wife.
Supplied to TRUELOVE

Her first credited television role was as Thandazile in the e.tv telenovela, Isipho. But since then, actress Mbalenhle Mavimbela has come a long way, and has starred in a number of productions including Durban Gen, Judas Kiss and Skeem Saam.

Now, the actress is the talk of the town after bagging the lead role of MaHlomu Dladla – a journalist who falls in love with a taxi driver – in Showmax’s popular telenovela The Wife, which is an adaption of Dudu Busani-Dube’s bestseller Hlomu book series.

During the screening of the first episode, Mbali, as she’s affectionately called, tells TRUELOVE that she was confident that the role would be hers immediately after walking out of the audition room.

“After sending in my audition tape, I got the first callback and that gave me the confidence that I was a step closer to becoming uHlomu,” she began explaining.

“I then went back for the chemistry test that was held and clicked well with Bonko Khoza (who plays Mqhele) and I really felt like I had killed it. I walked out of that audition room feeling like I was Hlomu and was really confident because I had prepared so well for that audition,” she continues.

Read More| PICS | A look at the cast of Showmax's upcoming telenovela, Hlomu The Wife

The actress tells us more about playing Hlomu and her acting career.

@mbalenhle_m Instagram.

How did you feel when it was confirmed that you’d be playing the role of Hlomu?

When my agent called me, he already knew and because we were both so confident we’d get the role, it was a calm moment. I wanted him to hype me up and scream, “Mbali you got the role!”, but he just basically started telling me about the contract and all the other technicalities. So, the excitement was a bit off-balance, but it was still there because of how confident I was and in that moment, it felt like God was saying I should calm down and take it all in.

Once you started shooting, how did you go about preparing for the role?

I started reading the book again. I had read it briefly when the books came out years ago, so this time around, the author (Dudu Busani-Dube) gave me a hard copy just so that I could really get what Hlomu was like, so I read it. But I also didn’t want to confuse myself with the script and the book, so I found a way to balance the two, which is beautiful because now I’m able to give the production what they want. I am also able to give the Hlomu die-hard fans what they want, as well as give me what I feel Hlomu should be like. The preparation was a beautiful process and I had to mentally and  physically prepare to play Hlomu.


What would you say was a challenge for you when trying to bring Hlomu to life?

Apart from normal work challenges like spending hours on set, I didn’t really feel like there were a lot of challenges because I would put myself into Hlomu’s shoes and become one with the character. It wasn’t a difficult character for me to play. Although it was emotionally taxing because she goes through so many emotions, I really wasn’t struggling to tap into those emotions.

Being fairly new in the industry, how do you feel about taking on such a big role at this stage of your acting career?

To be honest, I don’t know how I feel about this. All I know is that it’s an overwhelming feeling because all the emotions are there. I’m happy about getting this role. I’m excited, nervous and tired and all the emotions are just there. I’m trying to take it all in, but also remain focused and strong.

I also feel like my role as Nothile on Skeem Saam was a preparation for this role in the sense that it was also a role on a big show and it prepared me mentally.


How did your acting career start?

My first study option was acting at AFDA, but I could not afford to pay the enrollment fee after applying. I then registered at the Durban University of Technology because I did not want to take a gap year. The only course that still had space at the time was tourism management, so I registered for that. But I was always at the drama department and sort of trained there, and that’s how I made connections with people in the industry.

Supplied to TRUELOVE.

Catch Mbalenhle Mavimbela as MaHlomu Dladla on Showmax’s The Wife, with new episodes being available to stream every Thursday.


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