‘Soon Comes Night’ star Kwenzo Ngcobo on finding the strength to finish the series after losing his dad mid-shoot

KWENZO Ngcobo as Alex Shabane in Soon Comes Night”. | Supplied

KWENZO Ngcobo as Alex Shabane in Soon Comes Night”. | Supplied

Published Feb 2, 2024


If you think Kwenzo Ngcobo was incredible on “The Wife”, then fans will be blown away by his performance in the new Netflix series, “Soon Comes Night”.

Ngcobo is cast in the lead role as Alex Shabane, a former MK soldier turned heist king.

The riveting six-part crime drama is set against SA’s tumultuous landscape circa 1990.

Ngcobo shared: “It was a very interesting role and, at some point, it felt a bit too much. But I really enjoyed it. I’ve learnt so much from playing Alex Shabane and having to do research on MK soldiers and going back to our fathers’ times. I had so much fun.”

He said preparing for the role was difficult because of the lack of information on the real-life character.

“At first it was based on the real-life character and then they changed it to be inspired by the real-life character. There wasn’t enough information on him, but I watched a lot of MK YouTube videos and Chris Hani interviews, so I learnt a lot about that era.”

Once he was prepared, it was time to bring to screen all that he had learnt but, along the way, Ngcobo received news of his father’s death.

“In the process, while we were still shooting, I lost my dad and it was a lot. It was a difficult process for me to come back from the funeral and also handle a gun but I managed to separate my personal life and work, so that helped me to get back into character and get the job done,” he explained.

He added that he was busy filming a party scene when he got the call from his older brother.

“Luckily, the producers were very nice and they allowed me to leave,” he said.

In “Soon Comes Night”, Shabane goes from a soft and emotional guy in one scene to a killing machine in the next.

KWENZO Ngcobo as Alex Shabane in Soon Comes Night”. | Supplied

Explaining the transition, Ngcobo said producers described his character as being “like a chameleon”.

“The directors explained that Alex has different colours, different emotions, and how exciting it is. The one producer made an example that he is a chameleon, he changes his colours just like that.

“So I think getting into that zone and trying to channel that and also follow the story, in terms of he is trying to do good, he doesn’t see that he’s messing up and doing bad things, he thinks that he is doing what’s right.

“In my head, I needed to make sure that I look like a good guy, even if I am a bad guy. I had to find those elements from Alex Shabane when he was still young and very excited and adventurous. It was a tricky process for me.”

Ngcobo said the show allowed him to work with some actors whom he has looked up to since he was a young boy.

“It was a beautiful thing. I met people that I’ve looked up to for a very long time, and having to interact with them and learn from them was a huge blessing.

“I also really enjoyed working with my team, the gang. Every single actor was amazing and I respect them so much.”

As for what made the shoot extra special for him, he said: “I think we were lucky to have the producers on set most of the time and some amazing directors.

“We could have conversations on set, they really wanted to take care of the story. It was one of the best experiences I’ve had on a set, to be able to have and allowed to have the freedom to play with the character and see where I could take it.

“I am excited for people to see the storyline and the great talent on it. It’s a beautiful moment and I’d like to thank everyone who supported the show. It means a lot to us who have worked so hard on this project.

“We’re very proud to produce such a story that people connect with and are learning from as well. It’s such a great time for the story with the things we are going through as a country.

Ngcobo’s fans will be pleased to know that he will be all over the small screen this year.

“This month I am dropping ‘Red Ink’ on Showmax and I am currently shooting a new Mzansi Magic telenovela.

“There’s also another comedy show coming soon. And we’re hoping that ‘Soon Comes Night’ will be renewed for a second season,” he ended.

∎ “Soon Comes Night” is currently streaming on Netflix.