Johannesburg - Nolwazi Ngubeni rang in her 37th birthday on Tuesday and her year is already off to a good start.
The actress has been trending the past few weeks for the role she plays in Mzansi Magic’s latest drama series Mzali Wam’ that explores the human trafficking syndicate.
Ngubeni plays the villain in the series, Sibongile Dlomo, a role she was ready to sink her teeth into.
“Usually, I think because my face looks so young which is a gift and a curse, I always get the sweeter roles but I love playing the villain and being that person that perpetuates the drama throughout the series. That was what was exciting to me. Coming back into the industry and playing a role that is completely different from what I am usually known for.”
Ngubeni has been working as a casting director and as a business developer for a global tech company the past few years.
The talented star has been acting since she was a child.
“It was always very clear that I was going to be in entertainment somewhere. I come from a musical family. My granny was conductor of the church choir, all my aunts and uncles sang in the choir so it was very natural for me to be on stage.”
She said it was her granny who allayed her parents’ fears of Ngubeni’s choice to study in the arts.
“My grandmother asked them what else they thought I would possibly do. It was very expected that this would be my career path.”
The Claremont-born actress only left her hometown when she decided to move to Joburg in 2006.
Ngubeni’s work includes her award-winning work as Precious in the second season of the SABC 1 drama A Place Called Home, Soul City, The Single Guys, Zabalaza, Mina Nawe and Mzansi Love among others.
“I’ve enjoyed my roles and playing Precious on A Place Called Home was my first lead role and the second job I booked when I got to Johannesburg. I remember arriving on set and seeing Ronnie Nyakale and working close range with him playing my brother. It was my first nomination and first SAFTA win. So that meant a lot to me.”
Her role as Sibongile on Mzali Wam’ allows Ngubeni to be alert and present for her role.
“There’s basic preparation that an actor can do; reading the script and making sure you understand the character as well as how your character relates to the others. It is intense drama for Sibongile from the beginning. The best I do is arrive on set as an open vessel, ready to receive whatever energy is around me within the context of the story. I believe your initial reaction is always the correct one. Your instincts will always guide you.”
From the series, that also explores a mother’s love for her child, Ngubeni hopes the audience will take away the need to always fight for what they want.
“Sibongile is fighting through all odds from the beginning. Her methods are highly questionable but when she believes in something, she will go all the way for it. I think that is something we all have in common. There is no limit to what we can and will do for those we love.”
For viewers who will be watching Ngubeni for the first time as an actress, she hopes they will see her authenticity.
“I love what I do. I am a passionate performer. I love watching good performances. I respect it a lot. I firmly believe audiences deserve the respect of quality. That is what I try to bring every time and I can only hope they receive the work that I put in. I am earnest in every moment,” she said.
Mzali Wam’ airs on Mondays at 8pm on Mzansi Magic.