EXUBERANT: Khabonina Qubeka in 'She Is King'. Picture: Screengrab
EXUBERANT: Khabonina Qubeka in 'She Is King'. Picture: Screengrab

Khabonina Qubeka is 'King'

By Helen Herimbi Time of article published Sep 18, 2017

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In between shooting scenes on Isidingo, where she plays Nina Zamdela, actress, choreographer and fly fitness advocate, Khabonina Qubeka took some time out to speak to me.

The limber lady sits in almost a lotus position on the couch and I am reminded to actually hit the gym in the evening instead of just saying I will. But first congratulations are in order. 

One of Qubeka's recent projects. 'Dora's Peace', is headed to the Orlando Film Festival in the US.

Qubeka stars in the lead role in the 2016 film about a prostitute who journeys through self-discovery by protecting a boy from the Hillbrow underworld.


Qubeka says she is proud of the movie as it tells a real story.

“I am very proud. We told such a real story that it’s going to get timeless appreciation and love from all over. Not just America. People in Nigeria and Cameroon will appreciate it because of how real it is," Qubeka said.

“It’s a story that could have been set anywhere in the world. It didn’t need to be about a woman in Hillbrow. It could have been about a woman in Brazil. That’s why people feel they can connect to Dora. It makes you ask yourself questions and answer truthfully. I don’t think South Africans are ready for that. But the film is a catalyst.”

Qubeka has acted on Uzalo, The Wild and of course, Muvhango but I ask the artist how the acting bug bit. “I always say if you grew up elokshin (in the township) then you grew up acting,” she laughs. 

“When we were kids, we would make up stories by drawing them in books and telling a whole tale. 

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“We were animated. We played house – and I used to like playing the dad. I think that’s how acting came into my life. But even now, I can never choose one thing. 

"With every project I do, my focus is always on that. When I’m acting, that’s the only thing that matters to me. When I’m on stage dancing, I don’t even know you. 

"When I studied dance, I studied the shamans and how they go into a trance when they dance and that makes sense to me because when I dance, I am someone else. Everything is about that moment." 

In the nearer future, though, Qubeka will be back on the big screen with a film titled 'She Is King'. 

“It’s amazing,” she says excitedly. The metafilm is about what ensues when people aim to put on a play about Mkabayi – Shaka Zulu’s aunt – and have to deal with other dynamics. It also stars Anga Jamela, Khanyi Mbau and Gugu Zulu.

“I play a production-company owner and in the play, I actually play Mkabayi,” Qubeka smiles. “It’s a journey for women to finally unite. It also looks incredible. You’ll see South Africa like you’ve never seen it before. And I also choreographed a few dance scenes in there.”

Qubeka will also be on your smartphone and tablet screens through Khabodacious TV, where she gives work-out tutorials. 

She is a busy woman, but at least she does everything on her own terms.  

* Catch Khabonina Qubeka on Isidingo every weekday at 7pm on SABC 3.


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