Giyani: Land of Blood first aired on our screens more than two months ago and made history. It became the first Xitsonga drama in South Africa and went on to introduce us to a number of new faces. One of those faces being that of Wiseman Zitha. Within the very first few episodes of the show, fans became obsessed with Zitha and his good looks. His character, Musawahosi "Musa" Baloyi, a 29-year-old lawyer who comes from humble beginnings and seeks justice for his father has also become just as popular with viewers.
As popular as he has become, at the start of the year no one knew who this rising star from Limpopo was until he auditioned and bagged his first role straight out of university which also just happens to be a lead.
Speaking at the launch of the show in Johannesburg, Zitha said it's hard to believe his first television role as an actor is a lead on a show making history. “I graduated last year, I studied drama at the Tshwane University of Technology and as soon as I graduated auditions for this show started and I auditioned. However at the time I was in Cape Town because I model full time as well and auditions were in Limpopo so I recorded my audition on my phone then I got a call back and now I play Musa,” he said.
Although he impressed the show's execs, he admits that he was skeptical about landing the role because it was a lead. “I was skeptical but very interested in him because he has to play this hero and I feel like you can relate to him. He has a background that a lot of South African youth can relate to in terms of living with a father that’s an alcoholic and a mother that is the provider. And just like Musa, I paid for my university education on my own,” said Zitha.
Born in Limpopo to Tsonga parents, Zitha said that growing up he was very confused about what career path he wanted to take and attending a science school did not help. It was when he took a gap year after matric that he decided to study drama. The rising star said that although his new role has its own pressures, it has taught him many lessons so far. “Learning to trust myself has been the biggest lesson so far. Every character needs to grow and I was trying to figure out who Musa is, from his mannerisms to the way he walks and it was scary at first but so many people have embraced him I trust what I am doing,” he said.
The 24-year-old said that Giyani: Land of Blood has opened doors for Tsonga speaking performers across the country in a way that no other show has been able to.
Giyani: Land of Blood airs from Monday to Wednesday at 9:30PM on SABC 2.