How to wear denim this summer
Celebrated for her nurturing maternal roles, Clementine Mosimane has, after 25 years |in the industry, made an unprecedented departure into the nasty arena as Celia Motlasi in e.tv’s Rhythm City. Debashine Thangevelo caught up with the actress to chat about her shift in character choices, her journey in a constantly evolving television landscape and how she feels about the new generation of actors...
CLEMENTINE Mosimane is not just a generous actress – she is a big-hearted human being. In fact, anyone who has either worked with or crossed paths with her in any capacity will attest that this trait is the bedrock of her personality.
Her unassuming nature also makes her a pleasure to interview.
I comment on her latest role as Celia Motlasi being quite the eye-opener. She gives a knowing laugh and says: “As an actor, you always want to explore different characters. In some way, I love her, because there is someone like her in society and in every family.”
Over the years, Mosimane has cultivated a reputation for playing nurturing characters, whether as Thandi Mazwai in SABC1’s Soul City, Mama Rose Tladi in M-Net’s now-canned The Wild, or Aunt Thembi in Mzansi Magic’s Zabalaza.
Interestingly, her journey into TV started while she was at school, in 1979.
She recalls being a contestant for a singing competition, only to be approached by “one of the guys at the SABC” who suggested she audition for a magazine youth show for the then TV3.
“I really, really enjoyed hosting that show. We used to record on Saturdays, though, as I was still at school,” she recalls.
After that, although she was initially meant to host a children’s programme, Ha Re Bapaleng, she ended up being cast as the chicken character because of logistical reasons with the set design.
Mosimane laughs: “I would do the chicken voice and for the next five years ended up acting like a chicken.”
Portraying this character lent itself to her eventually gravitating towards acting: her first drama was called Lesilo Rula.
Reflecting on the transformation within the television industry, she recalls: “As actors then, we used to have transport picking up people. Birthdays were celebrated. Fridays would be a party.
“The language concept was very vital. Today, we can throw whatever English (into conversation). Back then TV3 was all about perfect South Sotho and Sepedi. TV2 had all the Nguni languages like Zulu and Xhosa. Then the Venda languages came.
“Also, you couldn’t swear on television. You couldn’t just use the word ‘Jesus’ either. People wouldn’t kiss or go naked in front of the camera. They would just cut away from it.”
I ask Mosimane if being a household name, as an industry veteran, makes it easier to bag roles these days.
She takes a second or two to respond: “Yes, with people knowing you, it is easier. Sometimes they don’t give you work because they don’t have a budget. I think with the growth and young actors coming on board, there are a lot of challenges. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I feel the industry has shrunk in that regard – for older actors, that is.
“We are not in the US, where the older actors are a house brand and always get work.
“It is not like that here.”
Resuming discussions on her latest role, she reveals that her character is a very unhappy person.
“She doesn’t want to deal with it so she ends up unleashing it on others, even while she loves Thabo (her husband), as he does every-thing Celia wants him to do.
“She is a control freak. She takes joy in the downfall of others. I believe she lives in a world of denial. It is ironic how she can often see the flaws in everyone else, but never her own or those of people close to her,” she says.
Mosimane says she is loving the professional environment at Rhythm City, which reminds her very much of her time on The Wild.
As for her new mean streak on TV, Mosimane laughs: “I think a lot of viewers will be in for a surprise. I’m not worried about the character getting any flak. I think she represents someone out there. Besides, I’m enjoying playing Celia and exposing her nastiness.”
Mosimane has designs on making inroads in the big screen realm. Good luck to her – she deserves many successes.
• Rhythm City, on e.tv, weekdays at 6.30pm. Mosimane appears on screen from next Monday.
Xolile Tshabalala will be joining Rhythm City as Stella.
Ambitious, she sees Miles as her goldmine.
Basically, elevating him in the industry translates into her status rising. And if they were a couple…well, that would just be the cherry on the top.
She debuts on screen on Wednesday September 4.