From selling snacks in trains to multi award-winning actor, director, producer

Hamilton Ntokozo Dlamini, multi award-winning actor, director, producer and film star. Picture: Supplied

Hamilton Ntokozo Dlamini, multi award-winning actor, director, producer and film star. Picture: Supplied

Published Aug 25, 2023


Pretoria - It’s Monday evening, the hustle and bustle of the Newtown cultural precinct has died down.

The spot to meet is right opposite the home of South Africa’s performing arts, the Market Theatre.

It is a perfect setting to talk to seasoned multiaward-winning actor, director, producer and film star Hamilton Ntokozo Dlamini.

He is sitting at one of the outside tables talking and laughing with one of the patrons at the eatery.

Years after the popular Mzansi Magic soapie/telenovela Isithembiso reached its expiry date, Dlamini, is still known for his role as Banzi, which explains the commotion at the venue.

He bagged the prestigious Golden Horn Award for best actor in the TV show category at the SA Film and Television Awards in 2018.

In blue jeans, a brown sweater and a baseball cap, he looks so affable and likeable that you would not recognise him as the ruthless villain Sepoko, a character he plays in the movie, Five Fingers For Marseilles, reputed to be the country’s first Western.

Ntosh, as Dlamini is known to his close buddies, describes how he had to work hard to get to where he is today. That includes having to hustle selling fruit and snacks in trains between Joburg and the Vaal triangle.

He said that he used the profits from his trade to pay for his acting classes. “I started my acting career in a shack,” says Dlamini.

The shack in Sebokeng was used as a community theatre where artists used the meagre resources and space to live out their dreams of storytelling.

Like with many other artists and upcoming actors, Dlamini said he never got any support from his parents and there was a lot of jealousy from fellow black brothers and sisters.

The public, especially the younger generation, do not know Dlamini’s real name because of the prominent roles he has played in TV and film over the years.

Besides Isithembiso, Ntosh also featured in Isibaya, Umlilo, Stokvel, Emzini Wezinsizwa and the recently acclaimed Shaka Ilembe.

He boasts many other roles in film.

“I have many names. People in the streets used to call me Banzi. At the mall or restaurants, every public place I go to they call me Banzi and I have learnt to accept that,” he added.

Banzi was the villain in the popular production. He was a ruthless businessman who would eliminate anyone in his way, including his wife, to get anything that he desired.

“I enjoy playing bad guys because I then have to spend most of my time with bad guys in real life, trying to find out what converts them into being bad people.

“I recall from a long list of bad people I have spent time with and rehearse them to perfection,” Ntosh said.

Earlier this year, Ntosh with famous actor Thulani Mtsweni, brought 1981 political satire Mbongeni Ngema’s Woza Albert back to theatre.

They did a series of performances at the Joburg Theatre in Braamfontein before going to the Alexandra Theatre.

He couldn’t hide his excitement when he started talking about theatre. His face beams as he points to the building opposite (the Market Theatre).

He confirms that theatre is his first love and tells of how it trained him to be disciplined and to respect fellow actors and crew, but gets emotional when he speaks of the challenges facing theatre.

“My fellow actors in our industry do not want to invest in show business and they always want to be employed. They don’t want to create work and produce it from their pockets. They would rather buy expensive clothes, expensive booze, cellphones and cars than invest in our African stories,” he charged.

Dlamini explained that he writes his own theatre, TV and film scripts and produces them through his own company named Ndlondlo Productions.

He is not only devoted to his work, but is also passionate about his family, he said.

Pretoria News

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