If you're wondering why Ernest Msibi’s character on Uzalo is such a bundle of excitement and bewilderment, wonder no more – Msibi joined the cast last year as the pimp Amos.
After showing he is a king at kasi slang, people started to take notice of the character’s wit and humour.
When Amos turned Nosipho into a prostitute, viewer interest in the series shot up. His (Amos) recent toy word, botepo, sends chills down the spine of some, but others marvel at his mastery of his vocabulary and the appeal it comes with.
“Botepo is just a word I created, With words such as drugs and love, I use certain phrases. They are just words that come to me. When I get the script it’s in English. I read it, and then I change it.
“I didn’t think this would be big. There are a lot of people, among them rappers, who have been calling me wanting to use the word in a song. I refuse to let them because they don’t even know what it means. The word to me means fun or nice things, your clothes are botepo, you live botepo, everything is botepo.”
Msibi said when he first read the script he internalised it, and he was playing the character in the best way he knew.
“If it were someone else playing Amos, they would do it their own way. I’m playing it the way that I can.
“It’s like with Amos’s surname; I gave him the surname before the writers came up with it. I said I’m Amos Ma Ada. I love it because Amos is botepo, so it suits him.
“The word Ma Ada is used a lot in townships when you do something nice. If a girl is beautiful we will use that phrase. What that word really means is it’s sh*t.
“So it means Amos is the sh*t. I even surprise the writers and directors with my words,” said Msibi.
He is popularly known as Chester on Yizo Yizo and as Vuvu on Zone 14. Is it a coincidence that he is attracting these kinds of roles? His answer? His acting talent is a gift.
But with the upside comes the downside, with many confusing the acting with reality, and he says this was the reason he held school programmes.
“People don’t understand. It’s just acting.
“Yizo Yizo warned children about drugs. What gets to me is that the kids are using my phrase, ubukhethethe, to describe drugs at schools, and are destroying their lives, not understanding it’s just acting.”