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E.tv’s Scandal is home to newcomer Fulufhelo Mugovhani. Since her debut in October, her spirited character Anzani |has become quite a favourite with viewers. Debashine Thangevelo found out about Anzani’s Catch-22 situation: being torn between tradition – she is royalty – and following her heart...
LOVE isn’t always an easy road and it is even harder to navigate when you are royalty. I’m sure a party-loving Prince Harry would agree. Well, this is prior to Cressida Bonas being in the picture, of course.
Realising the scope offered by such an angle, Scandal’s writing team have exploited it in Anzani (Fulufhelo Mugovhani) and Lerumo’s (Tshepo Mosese) storyline.
Before venturing into Anzani’s love dilemma, I found out a bit about the person behind the persona. What was compelling was Mugovhani’s experiential understanding of her royal character from Venda.
“It (the storyline) is not far removed from my personal life. I’m just not the daughter of a chief. But I grew up in a family where my father was everything. I looked up to him. Education and culture were everything. It was a fine line between being modern and staying true to tradition,” she shares.
“Right now, Anzani is conflicted. She grew up with a stern background and a firm hand. Her father – Chief Muneri – is a leader. He has been her role model. For the first time in her life, she must choose between her father and her love.”
The 24-year-old says the storyline is universal and, as such, relatable to viewers.
Although she has decided to defy tradition and continue dating Lerumo, a commoner, breaking the news to her father who visits with her husband-to-be, Prince Mathivha, is her greatest challenge.
She explains: “He was not in favour of her coming to Jozi and being a journalist. She is hoping he (her father) understands. She is a Daddy’s girl. She wants him to understand.”
Herself raised in Venda, Mugovhani relates to her character’s angst over wanting to live her life on her terms.
Mugovhani says: “I remember no one understood what I was doing when I decided to come here and do drama. In my life now, I’m comfortable with where I am. Who knows, it might change later.”
Still honing her craft, Scandal is Mugovhani’s second TV outing – she first appeared in Mzansi Magic’s Remix series.
She laughs at the memory: “It was a short drama series; like our version of Glee.”
She also notes that her theatre training – a slew of Tshwane University of Technology stage productions and, post-graduation from musical theatre, The Lion King for a year in Hong Kong – helped give her the confidence needed for her small screen foray.
She elaborates on another memorable stage production, Spring Awakening, directed by Harold Mortimer: “People liked that, more because it was such a controversial musical about sex, homosexuality, rape, molestation, and all the subjects people don’t want to talk about.
“I liked the fact that it gave me the opportunity to expand (as an actress). It was challenging and that is what I wanted to do.”
Right now, though, she is soaking up the experience and challenges of being in a soap. And she couldn’t be more chuffed with her screen partner (Mosese) and how they try their best to deliver authentic performances.
Mugovhani praises: “He has been doing this for a long time. I could not have asked for a better co-star. I love our chemistry and energy.”
A soap is the perfect launch pad for any actor and Mugovhani is lapping up the attention from the gogos and oumas.
“And they call me by my real name,” she shares.
“I also get comments from people back home. The fact that I’m speaking my own language on a soap that hasn’t used Venda before, it is a big compliment.”
When reading scripts isn’t consuming her time, this young actress enjoys surfing YouTube for TV shows. She is addicted to Masterclass, a documentary TV series, Modern Family and The Fixer. Oh, and listening to show tunes and watching musicals.
“And Smash,” she says. “It helps us see what it is like to act on Broadway, documenting all the struggles and the journey of the actors.
“That is what I want to do.”
The beauty of having youth on your side is you have time to pursue your dreams – and that is exactly what this go-getter is doing. Good on her!
• Scandal, e.tv, weekdays at 7.30pm.