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’How to Ruin Christmas: The Funeral’ cements Thando Thabethe’s rise as a leading lady

Thando Thabethe. Picture: Instagram

Thando Thabethe. Picture: Instagram

Published Jan 13, 2022


Not every success story in showbiz is about making strides at lighting speed. Sometimes, slow and steady is the way to go. Of course, everyone's journey is different.

And in Thando Thabethe’s case, the latter has worked in her favour.

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During her humble beginnings at YFM, which was on the back of a robust stint at UJFM, she also bagged the lead role of Thando Nkosi in the comedy “My Perfect Family”.

As her popularity started to soar, she joined The Roger Goode Show on 5FM in 2013. She resigned from the radio station in March 2020.

Blessed with a voice for radio and a face for TV, it wasn’t long before other small-screen projects came along with “Intersexions”, “Single Guys”, “Kowethu”, “Mzansi Love”, “Generations: The Legacy”, “Housekeepers”, “Blood Psalms”, “Reyka” and “How to Ruin Christmas: The Wedding” listed as some of her most notable work.

She also made her foray into feature films with “Love Lives Here” and “Mrs Right Guy”.

Her infectious personality saw her helm “Thando Bares All”, a talk show on TLC, which bagged a Golden Horn for Best Talk Show at the 2019 Saftas.

And let’s not forget about Thabethe diversifying her portfolio and branching out into the fashion sector with Thabooty’s Underwear and Shapewear.

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Although Covid-19 wreaked havoc on many careers over the past two years, Thabethe has been somewhat impervious to the setbacks faced by her peers.

Last year, she took over DJ Fresh’s slot of 94.7 after his controversial exit. She also rekindled her romance with Lunga Shabala after they parted ways in 2020. A baecation in the Maldives was a dreamy enough spot to ignite those flames again.

And she reprised her role as Beauty Sello in Netflix’s “How To Ruin Christmas: The Funeral”.

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In a recent interview with Thabethe, who was a vision in a gorgeous off-shoulder black number at a media junket to promote the second season, she opened up about the show and why it resonates strongly with Mzansi.

In “How to Ruin Christmas: The Funeral”, the Sello and Twala families are reunited under trying circumstances, which is further compounded by individual struggles and hidden agendas.

Although Beauty is now married, her miscarriage weighs heavily on her marriage to Sbu Twala ( Sandile Mahlangu).

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Of course, our incendiary favourites from season one – Busi Lurayi as Tumi Sello and Motlatsi Mafatshe as Themba Twala – are back.

That’s not forgetting Clementine Mosimane (Dineo Sello), Lehlohonolo Saint Seseli ( Vusi Twala), Charmaine Mtinta (Valencia Twala), Desmond Dube (Uncle Shadrack), Rami Chuene ( Aunt Grace), Keketso Semoko (Aunt Moipone) and Trevor Gumbi (Siya Twala) contributing to the unfolding mayhem where secrets refuse to be buried as issues of bankruptcy, fertility and commitment vex in more ways than one.

As much as Tumi is the black sheep of the family, Beauty comes with her own baggage this time around.

Thabethe explained: “In the first season, we saw how Tumi is sort of put to blame for all the drama that is happening. I think in this season, Beauty has to do some self-reflection, and she contributes to a portion of the drama.”

By that, she is inferring to those opening frames of the four-part second season, where Beauty’s broodiness sees her straddle that fine line between being sweet and bitter.

With several projects under her belt, Thabethe prides herself on getting the character nuances down to an art form.

And Beauty is broken. That yearning to be a mom is palpable. But, as the series plays out, she gains perspective on how her need is consuming her marriage.

The actress added: “For me, it came from a point of truth, and I think that is what ‘How to Ruin Christmas’ is about. It’s about truth. It’s about finding comedy in the truth and, for Beauty, all it’s been in her life is to create this facade that everything is perfect, and even in some of the most dramatic experiences in life, she still manages to pretend that all is well. Or try and convince people all is well.”

Thando Thabethe as Beauty with Sandile Mahlangu as Sbu Twala in How To Ruin Christmas The Funeral. Picture: Netflix

And those raw human emotions is what she tapped into this time around.

On finding her rhythm with Mahlangu, Thabethe admitted: “I would say it’s a double-edged sword. In one instance, sure, we have gotten to know each other.

“But in another light, we’ve created an expectation because we’ve established these people. So it’s for us to now match that. Yes, we were comfortable with one another, but how can we get better?”

The second season was shot in Joburg as well as KwaZulu-Natal.

Just going by her responses about her character and the new season, one thing was blatantly clear: Thabethe prides herself on understanding what is expected of her in a role.

Being authentic to the narrative fuels her creativity.

And there is no denying her growth as an actress; she’s a veritable gem as a lead. She’s also one of SA’s most bankable actresses as she rides the crest of success.

And she is latching onto other ventures to cement her brand and toast to her rise in the industry. Cheers to her!

“How to Ruin Christmas: The Funeral” is currently streaming on Netflix.

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