HONOURED: Durban actor Zamani Mbatha has been nominated for a prestigious award for his role in the TV show Isithembiso.
With a week left before the Simon Mabhunu Sabela Film and TV Awards, Durban actor Zamani Mbatha, who has been nominated in two categories for his role in the popular television series Isithembiso, said bagging an award would be a bonus, adding that the nominations were recognition enough.

The awards, an initiative of the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs and implemented by the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission, take place at the Durban Playhouse next Saturday.

“It’s a beautiful feeling. I’m excited because it shows that my hard work is paying off,” said Mbatha

Mbatha, who is from KwaMashu’s F Section and is the younger brother of actor and celebrity Nomzamo Mbatha, said being nominated alongside actors such as Sdumo Mtshali, also of Durban, was confirmation he was going in the right direction.

“There are a lot of actors out there who are really good at what they do.

“I am proud of myself and I thank God for giving me an opportunity to change my life.”

He said Isithembiso was his first acting gig and when he was cast, he felt that he was working with a winning team.

“It is because of the team’s effort that I was able to be recognised.

“It is working as a team that has made this possible, because without the team, I wouldn’t have achieved what I have.”

When he was younger, Mbatha never imagined that he would become an actor, especially because it was not something he studied towards.

A soccer player in his schooldays at Bechet Secondary and Holy Family College in Durban, Mbatha said prayer had always been at the heart of his endeavours.

“And God answered my prayers. While watching TV, I looked at what they were doing and I thought to myself, I could do this.”

He said that at his audition for Isithembiso, which is now in its second season on DStv’s Mzansi Magic, he was told he was a natural.

Mbatha also advised young people to home in on what they wanted to do and not stop believing in their dreams.

“If you want to or dream about doing something, don’t just sit around and wish about doing it - take action, pray as well.

“There are always people who will bring you down, telling you that it can’t be done, or you will hit a bump along the way, but always know that when God closes one door he leaves another open.”

With the key aim of the awards being to promote KZN talent, more than 300 nominees were received this year compared with 136 entries last year.