Hlomla Dandala on exiting ‘The River’: ‘It was time’

Hlomla Dandala. Picture: Instagram

Hlomla Dandala. Picture: Instagram

Published Nov 7, 2022


Veteran actor Hlomla Dandala finally broke his silence following the recent announcement that he had left Mzansi Magic’s multi-award-winning telenovela, “The River”.

In a conversation with Newzroom Afrika’s Ayanda Nyathi, Dandala, who had played Zweli Dikana since the show’s debut in January 2018, said he felt he had outgrown his character.

“If you stay in any character for long enough, it’s difficult to divert away from it or to perceive it any other way,” said Nyathi.

“If you have established yourself as a leading man and you play something that establishes you as being quite weaker … and if you don’t get out of it fast enough, it gets harder and harder over time.”

He said he “was happy with the character for a long time but after a while, we started growing further and further apart in terms of creativity”.

Dandala said it was at that point that he realised he needed to manage his career, and “part of that is I don’t want to get locked in a situation that I don’t want to be in, long term.

“It starts to damage your future as an actor.”

He added: “The producers were generous enough… they understood what I was saying… they were stuck between a rock and a hard place in that the structure of the show requires that one is duped and the other is duping… and now you have an actor who says I cannot be duped for five years, it starts to affect my other work.”

At the beginning of season 5, his character in a time-lapse scene was bleeding after suffering a knock to the head, which led to suspicions that he was being written out of the storyline.

“The River” confirmed that Dandala, along with Lawrence Maleka and Tango Ncetezo, had left the show

“As an essential part of ‘The River’ from the beginning, viewers have enjoyed watching the growth of the actors’ characters.

“As three of the top performers in the country, they have given viewers plenty to talk about and be entertained by, from storylines that brought out their characters’ dark sides to softer, lighter moments.”

“We would like to thank Hlomla, Lawrence and Tango for their priceless contributions to the show, as well as the incredible work that went into giving their characters life,” said Shirley Adonisi, director of local entertainment channels at M-Net.

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