We last saw actress Zinhle Mabena as Sihle Ngubane in the last season of Mzansi Magic’s Isibaya, which was canned in April 2021.
Now, the actress is back on our screens since appearing on e.tv’s House of Zwide on Monday 21 March 2022. Playing Ntombi, Zinhle’s character is set to turn Laz’s (played by Khaya Dladla) life upside down by revealing that he – an openly gay man – is the father to her son.
“Ntombi and Laz’s relationship ended on bad terms because Laz was not honest about who he is and his sexuality when they were together so they separated. And after years of their son asking about his father, Ntombi decides to go find him and to reconnect him with his son,” she tells TRUELOVE.
Although Zinhle, who has played a villain for a long time, reveals that Ntombi will not be a villain and isn't malicious at all, she describes her new character as assertive, level-headed and as a woman who knows exactly what she wants.
About being back on television, the former Isibaya actress says it feels like her first time on screen all over again.
“I got a call asking if I was interested in playing the role of Ntombi and after a few meetings I agreed that this role was meant for me. It really feels so great to be back on the screen again. It feels like the first time and I’m really excited about this opportunity and what it will bring for me,” she says.
For Zinhle, telling the story of a family that is different to what is deemed as 'normal' is important.
“I feel like this story of a woman that had a child with a gay man holds a lot of weight because it’s an uncomfortable conversation for many, especially in the black community. I believe that there are families like this in South Africa and they are always ashamed of their situation because they are being judged and the LGBTIQ+ community is still isn’t embraced enough. The only people I know who have a similar story are Somizi and Palesa and they are co-parenting so well. I feel that this is a real storyline and will go a long way,” she says.
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Because the actress has never been involved in such a situation before she says that she had to immerse herself completely into Ntombi’s character and imagine what she would do if she was in her shoes.
“I had to come in as a fresh person and put myself, my thoughts and what I know aside so I can fully embody Ntombi,” she tells us.
One thing she and Ntombi do, however, have in common is the love for their children.
“Like Ntombi, I’d also do absolutely anything to make sure that my children are safe and protected so that’s how we are similar. But in terms of dress sense and personality, Ntombi is a bit laid back and rigid while Zinhle is quite fashion-forward, fun and loud,” the mother-of-two reveals.
For the rest of 2022, Zinhle will be making more appearances on TV and will also be working behind the scenes as a producer and director.
“It’s all very exciting. I’m getting to work with people I’ve always admired and people should watch the space,” she concludes.
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