Rami Chuene’s role as Khomotjo Mojalefa in SABC2’s Muvhango is a conniving combination of Dynasty’s Joan Collins and The Bold and the Beautiful’s Susan Flannery in her “wicked stepmother” guise. Debashine Thangevelo caught up with the actress to learn how she finds working with Siyabonga Twala again and where things stand with e.tv’s Scandal…
THERE is always this unmistakable lively undertone in Rami Chuene’s voice whenever I chat to her. I have come to realise this is a telltale sign that she is excited about her role or storyline. And from what she tells me about Muvhango’s Khomotjo Mojalefa, she has every reason to smile.
To flash back to the past, Khomotjo set her sights on a married Phathudi (Owen Sejake) at a time when he was growing his business empire and the act made her the sworn enemy of his stepson, Busani (Siyabonga Twala). While the years may have passed, Busani and his mother Nandi’s anger and resentment have not diminished.
Aside from the influence her character wields, Chuene says Khomotjo is far from a gold-digger in the superficial sense.
The mother of four, looking sexy these days after having shed a few kilos, says: “First, she is a rural girl from Limpopo. Obviously, she wanted the high life. But she isn’t that bimbo with a short skirt; she was prepared to work for it. She has brains and knows what she wants and how to get there. She was the PA to Phathudi, he divorced his wife and married Khomotjo. The funny thing is she loves him, even though he was just her ticket out of poverty. But she has a very tense relationship with Busani.”
Interestingly, every time the actress is absent from the screen, she unfailingly returns.
Chuene laughs: “I had a cameo on Rockville. And I have been doing a lot of corporate and charity work. But TV always finds me.”
She started shooting her scenes for Muvhango at the beginning of June and says this is her first time sharing screen space with Sejake, although they have worked together before.
“I love Owen. He is such a breath of fresh air and is very streetwise and innovative. Sometimes he says some of the weirdest things. He takes the script and makes it his own.”
And the actress is equally keyed up to be working with former Scandal co-star Twala again.
On the family dynamics Khomotjo has to deal with, she offers: “She loves her husband, hates the family. Busani always finds reason to belittle her. The funny thing is, while his opinion of her matters, she likes it when he has to eat humble pie. In bringing one of the biggest accounts to Mukwevho Construction she swindles her way into the chairperson’s seat.
“People don’t see how clever and innovative she is.”
Does she have a power-dresser’s wardrobe to match the personality?
She smiles: “I love my wardrobe – they seriously went all out.
“Khomotjo loves beautiful and expensive things. She is conceited and comes across as a bitch. But she is really soft and this side is revealed when she is with her husband.
“She (Khomotjo) makes a point of proving that she is worth something. She is a bit like Gabrielle in Desperate Housewives. She does get a bit jealous; she doesn’t like people in her territory. And she is prepared to fight.
“Born into poverty, she tries very hard to stay away from it. Let’s put it this way – she isn’t the pap, boerewors and chakalaka girl. She wants oysters. She is all about the glitz and the glamour.”
Summing up her character even better, she continues: “When she is fabulous, she wants everyone to applaud her. When she isn’t, she wants them to ignore that fact. She does things so sweetly. She is like a cunning Joan Collins (Alexis in Dynasty), but turns into Susan Flannery (Stephanie Forrester in The Bold and the Beautiful) when it comes to her family.”
What is interesting is that a “son” will later be introduced into the story. However, it remains to be seen if it is Khomotjo’s biological son or a stepson who becomes her biggest ally.
As for Chuene, she is loving calling the shots in her new role. The resident bitch of Muvhango has arrived!
• Chuene debuts in Muvhango on SABC 2, September 2 at 9pm.