Sibusisiwe Jili opens up about her new character on ‘Uzalo’

Sibusisiwe Jili. Picture: Supplied

Sibusisiwe Jili. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 15, 2023


Actress Sibusisiwe Jili has joined “Uzalo” as one of the soapies newest characters, Nomkhosi Mhlongo.

Jili, who is known for her role as Georgina in “The Queen”, left the telenovela after two years of being part of the cast. Her role was written out before the finale season of “The Queen” after Mzansi Magic cancelled the show.

Now, Jili takes on the role of the fierce and visionary leader, Mhlongo, who is advocating for gender equality. She plays the strong-willed daughter of Chief Shepherd Mhlongo, a natural-born leader with a fierce sense of justice.

The actress shared with IOL Entertainment that she had dreamt about portraying a royal. “I wasn't quite sure about it as it was in KwaZulu-Natal and everything I knew was back in Johannesburg, but I listened and went for the audition nonetheless.”

Jili described her new character as a strong woman who didn’t back down from a challenge and says viewers will also get to experience the character’s feminine energy at the start of the story arc.

“A poised young woman who stands for the rights of women in a man-infested world. I don't think she gives up easily when she loses but tries to regroup and find another angle.”

Jili admitted to sharing a few similarities with the character, especially as a woman who has faced the pressures of living up to a certain standard, growing up in a church where her grandfather was a bishop.

“I still carry some of the teachings, especially when presented with such a character. Her confidence, stature, movements, gestures and calm remind me of my modelling years, which helped me through what society would describe as an introverted character.

“Her fighting spirit, never backing down from a challenge, I strongly carry this, especially when I know what's meant for me. But the difference is our fighting styles.”

Sibusisiwe Jili as Nomkhosi Mhlongo in “Uzalo”. Picture: Supplied

In preparation for the role, Jili sought out the quiet young woman in herself.

She shared: “I changed my gesture, breathing, the way I saw her line of thought, right down to her moments of silence and what they meant and felt like.

“How, why and when she moves her limbs to portray her distinct personality. The way she speaks and choice of words differ when she's addressing the royal house and its duties to when she's with Mzamo (Linda Majola).”

Jili’s character finds herself going up against her cousin, Nkunzi (Masoja Msiza), for the coveted chieftaincy seat.

She has been contracted until August on the top South African production.

The actress has been adjusting to the new set.

“It's a new set and a new environment as a whole, I'm taking my time to understand how things work, obviously I'll never be completely clued in but I manage here and there. It's very different to the work environment I'm used to.”

During her time off screen, Jili has been working on music. Her single, “Welcome the Gqom Queen”, has been released under the name Aura and she hinted at the music video releasing soon.

Being Youth Month, Jili advised youngsters who want to take up acting as a profession to see the gaps and utilise the opportunities they are presented with of which they can identify for themselves cause we're not the same.

“We're in a techno revolution, aboma2000 have a huge advantage to seize these global opportunities and use their current situation as a stepping stone to catapult their dreams than using their situations to wallow in self-pity.”

Catch Jili as Nomkhosi Mhlongo on “Uzalo” on S1 on weekdays at 8.30pm.