MILESTONE CELEBRATION: Gabriel Temudzani as Chief Azwindini Mukwevho in SABC2’s long running Venda soapie, Muvhango.
MUVHANGO turns 20 tomorrow. 

The SABC2 Venda soap is the brainchild of the inimitable Duma Ndlovu, who has also lent his creative talents on Uzalo.

Before the milestone celebration gets underway, Tonight caught up with Gabriel Temudzani, who has been with the show for 17 years now.

MILESTONE CELEBRATION: Gabriel Temudzani as Chief Azwindini Mukwevho in SABC2’s long running Venda soapie, Muvhango.

Raised in Tshivhilidulu in the Nzhelele area in Venda, he is au fait with the culture and mannerisms of his character.

When asked how things were going, Temudzani jokes, in his trademark baritone voice, “Everything’s under control. No shuffling yet.”

That he enjoys his time on Muvhango goes without saying. But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t latched onto other things too.

First, though, he sheds light on the storylines that moulded his character through to his chieftancy.

He says, “You are literally taking me down memory lane. So, please give me a few moments to tap into my past.

“He started as this young boy, looking after livestock, then he became a teenager, who was dating Susan (Maumela Mahuwa) – taking her into the house through the window. After that, he was made Chief. Those were some of the turning points.”

The 37-year-old actor continues, “After that, he was challenged by Mulalo for the chieftancy and then he lost some of his uncles. Also, it would be unfair to not mention the addition of his first son.

“Those have been the pivotal stories thus far.”

And he also pays homage to those actors who helped him when he started out on the soap.

Temudzani says, “Working with the likes of Marah Louw, who played Catherine Mukwevho, was encouraging on its own.

“I’ve worked with people who I looked up to while I was growing up. Working with them was scary and exciting at the same time.”

Aside from Muvhango, Temudzani has explored other genres too.

He admits, “There are other things I’ve done on the side.

“I’ve done a few movies like Winnie Mandela, Night Drive and A Diamond and Destiny. I also did a show called La Familiar on SABC2 for four seasons.”

Temudzani’s also been on stage, too, in The Dog and the Night of Horror.

Back to his current storyline on Muvhango, he says, “Currently, there isn’t much going on. But the Chief is fighting over a sacred place that’s being developed into a resort. That’s the major storyline.

“The Chief is against the development, but people have been mobilising to agree to it, as it holds the promise of work.

“The Chief and his family are very rooted in their culture and are custodians of this particular place, where KK has roped in some family members to agree to (the development) by offering them money.”

Although he wasn’t at liberty to discuss anything else he might have coming up, he noted: “I’m no longer a little boy. I’m looking at the future for myself and my children as well.”

Of course, by tomorrow there will only be one focus – the 20-year milestone celebration of Muvhango and his invaluable contribution as one of the main anchors of the storyline.

Muvhango airs on SABC2 at 9pm on weekdays.