Fundi Zwane, from Imbewu: The Seed which won its first Safta award.
Fundi Zwane, from Imbewu: The Seed which won its first Safta award.

‘Imbewu’ joy at first Safta win

By Amanda Maliba Time of article published May 3, 2020

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The annual South African Film and Television Awards (Saftas) ceremony on Wednesday was low-key due to Covid-19 lockdown regulations that prohibit social gatherings.

Gone was the pomp and glitter as some of South Africa’s leading film and television stars accepted their awards via video conferencing facilities.’s daily drama Imbewu: The Seed, which debuted two years ago, finally received its first Safta. Celebrating the win, Fundi Zwane, who plays the much-loved overly-zealous yet complicated Christian woman KaMadonsela, said winning their first award while on lockdown was a surreal yet wonderful feeling.

“As a cast member, the win is a reassurance that people are enjoying the production we work so hard to put together for all these years. “It’s also reassuring that as Africans we are identifying with narratives that address issues that speak to our lived experiences,“ said the thespian, who has been with the show since its inception. Zwane has been acting for 12 years, in productions like Divers Down and Generations, and acknowledged those productions for laying a strong foundation for her craft.

“Imbewu and the role of Donsi found me at a place in my career where all these years have built my inner confidence to play as an actress.

“The show afforded me a great window to continuously explore the art and science of performance and that’s pretty cool,” she said.

Zwane’s character is the total opposite of who she is in real life and that, according to the star, is the exciting part about playing KaMadonsela.

“We are polar opposites. I have ‘sport’ shaved hair and many tattoos, and I think if Donsi and Fundi met in real life, it would be a hilarious collision of ideologies.

“But Donsi and I are very much identical in how deeply we love our kids. I’ve acted with Nqobile Ndlovu and Nokwanda Khuzwayo as my daughters and, wow, how awesome,” she said.

To help prepare for such an intricate character, Zwane said she wakes up at around 2am daily to pray, prepare and get into the character’s psychological mind frame.

“The arts can be very indulgent but I do make sure to leave Donsi on set and pick her up at the next shoot,” while also enjoying every facet of this intricate character.

Beyond the screen, Zwane is also the founder of an ideation and content creation company, Phezulu Phambili Collective, which has been around for the past five years.

“I’ve had the privilege of working with clients such as Broll, Transnet and Travel with Flair.

“Running my business is another expression of who I am as I love coming up with ideas and enjoy collaborating and finding creative business solutions to things,” Zwane said.

While those who tuned in on YouTube enjoyed catching a glimpse of their favourite stars at home, the virtual ceremony experienced a number of technical glitches that led to National Film and Video Foundation’s chief executive Makhosazana Khanyile’s profuse apology to the winners as well as viewers.

Khanyile said organising and hosting such an occasion, and exploring uncharted avenues of communication, is always a challenge and not as easy as it looks.

“Given all the technical glitches which may have in part, dampened the winners’ spirits, we hope that given the fact we are in the middle of a global pandemic, winners understood and hopefully appreciated the fact that we fully intended for them to have a lively experience.

“We cannot apologise enough for the mishaps,” she said.

Saftas lost about R6 million when sponsors pulled out when the lockdown hit, as well as R2.5m in cancellation fees days before the ceremony.

“Overlooking all the mishaps, with Dineo Ranaka as the host, the awards were in parts lively and fun and tried to infuse entertainment within social distancing parameters and this was done as best we could,” added Khanyile.

The Sunday Independent

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