Pietermaritzburg's very own small-screen celebrity Joanne Reyneke will be starring in etv’s exciting new drama series called Broken Vows.
Reyneke said that being a part of the show is so exciting as she finds herself pushing way beyond her standard boundaries. “Shooting the show is very tiring but when you working on something as exciting and gorgeous as this you end up pushing yourself hard because of the excitement surrounding the project,” she said.
Broken Vows promises to take the local drama scene by storm with a star-studded cast, including Nomsa Nene, Thembi Mtshali, Thapelo Mokoena, Reyneke and Nambitha Ben Mazwai.
Reyneke will be playing the role of Thandi, the highly organised, ambitious senior wedding planner at Yours Truly Concepts. Of her character, Reyneke (29) said: “She is a solution maker. She works hard to make sure that everyone around her is happy. She doesn’t care about her own happiness and conceals her own pain. I think this is because she has been through so much and does not like seeing other people suffer.”
The actress said this character is starkly different from the last role she played in the canned SABC3 drama High Rollers. “Busi was a bulldog. She lived in a male-dominated world and had to be hard-handed. She used sex to get what she wanted and didn’t care about anyone else but herself,” said Reyneke.
“Thandi on the other hand is very wholesome. She covers herself up and doesn’t believe in using sex at all but rather in working hard and maintaining moral standards. Playing someone who is so nice and sweet is very refreshing,” she said, adding that she enjoyed playing her previous role as well.
None of her fictional characters are anything close to who she is in real life though, maintains Reyneke. “I’m a tomboy. I’m a Kasi chick. I grew up playing outside with boys,” she said.
“All the characters that I have played are women who are very poised and pay a lot of attention to what they wear and how they look. I’m not like that at all,” said Reyneke.
She hails from Imbali and went to Russell Girls’ High School in Pietermaritzburg, where she said she discovered her passion for acting. “I was introduced to acting in high school. It was the only subject I got a distinction for in matric. It just felt right. It felt like the perfect fit. When I left school, I had no doubt about what I wanted to do and after graduating I was lucky enough to get jobs doing what I love,” said Reyneke.
Reyneke and her fellow High Rollers cast members’ luck seemed to have changed briefly after the show was unexpectedly canned by the SABC.
“The ending of the show was a shock to everyone. They keep saying they wanted proudly South African shows and there was nothing more proudly South African thanHigh Rollers,” said Reyneke.
She said it was, however, a learning curve. “Anyone who wants to enter the acting industry should know that the one word they should never use is consistency. All the successful actors have made it through other ventures and not just acting. You have to do something else to sustain yourself. This industry is all about passion,” said Reyneke.
She said growing up in a small town helped her stay grounded as she pursued her passion in the big city. “Pietermaritzburg is a small town. You get none of the things that you get here in the big city. It was a place where you could sleep with your doors unlocked and children could play outside without someone worrying and having to check on them every minute,” said Reyneke, who was raised by her mother alongside her sisters and two now deceased brothers.
Reyneke made headlines in 2010 when she appeared in SABC1’s Khumbulekhaya searching for her truant father. Reyneke’s father was a white man named Johan Reyneke, whom she last saw before relocating to Pietermaritzburg with her mother after their relationship soured. “They say I last saw my father when I was two years old. I have to take their word for it because you don’t remember much when you are two. I don’t even know that he’s alive,” Reyneke had said.
Reyneke was already a celebrity, acting in the daily SABC2 drama Muvhango, and her appeal to her long-lost father sent shock waves through the country. The search was unsuccessful and Reyneke said she was somewhat relieved. “That whole search on Khumbulekhaya ignited a lot of fear. I was actually very scared to meet him. I was like ‘what if they actually find him?’. Because now you know him and you must have a relationship with him. I kind of breathed a sigh of relief when they couldn’t find him. People were shocked, because they think famous people don’t have problems too.”
While Reyneke carries her father’s name and a hint of his pigmentation, she says this has not created any barriers for her in her television career. “I’ve actually never played a white or coloured role because of the type of Zulu I speak. My agent and I decided that I would audition for jobs even if I don’t fit the brief. Sometimes the directors would be thinking ‘but she’s a little colouredish for this role’ but still take me because I can play the character,” said Reyneke.
Reyneke is in a relationship and has children with another famous actor, Thami Mngqolo, but she said they do not see themselves as your usual celebrity couple. “I have a problem with people who make their relationships public and update their status like ‘having coffee with bae’ because they don’t want to update us anymore when the relationship goes sour.
“We feel that it is best to keep our relationship private. We don’t try hard to do that; it’s just the type of people we are,” said Reyneke.
She said that after nine years, their relationship is stronger than ever. “The man still laughs at my jokes. We seem to have fallen more and more in love with each problem that life has thrown at us,” said Reyneke.
Broken Vows premieres on April 10, at 8 pm.