Creatives Under Lockdown is a SABC News feature which focuses on issues affecting artists. This week actress Kgomotso Christopher shares her acting journey .
Kgomotso Christopher is best known for her role in SABC’s former soapie, Isidingo. While Katlego Sibeko had South Africans glued to their screens for years, her perfomance in another local soapie did not only steal the audiences’ hearts, but also mesmerised the South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAS) judges – scoring her the 2020 Best Supporting Actress Award.
The scheming, selfish and ruthless character that kept the audience on the edge for four years was no easy feat for Christopher. A Tswana woman, who grew up in Tembisa, had to play a seSotho speaking woman.
“The shows that I have been on have showcased the aspect of me speaking English for the character and dabbling here and there in vernacular. So, stepping out of my comfort-zone where my character has been earmarked to predominantly be a Mosotho woman and I am not a Sotho speaker, I am Tswana, a Mosotho woman who does not speak Sotho from a location but literally someone who has come outside Johannesburg. So, the type of Sotho she speaks is quite different. So, that was fantastic for me to step out of my linguistic comfort-zone.”
In 2019, Christopher scooped the Best Actress Award for the same role. “It feels completely surreal to have been nominated, I think five times by the SAFTAs and this was my second win. My very first win was last year after three nominations, already at that point I was on seventh heaven, so grateful, now this literally is just the cherry on top. ”
Instead of the usual glamorous, star-studded award ceremony – the SAFTAS winners for this year were announced on social media on Thursday because of the coronavirus pandemic. Regulations to curb the spread of the virus prohibit public gatherings.
Christopher says the virus has completely redefined our way of life. “But it has made us realise the things that are important. It also has made us obviously as people especially freelancers and actors, for us if you don’t work, you don’t get paid, so I think a lot of us as artists have been forced to have conversations on an industrial level as to what it is that we can do as we have been asking our government to do to protect artists. And this pandemic specifically has highlighted our vulnerabilities as artists and as an industry.”
The lockdown has also exposed the vulnerability of women to abuse. Gender-based violence cases have surged globally since countries imposed stay-at-home orders to contain the spread of COVID-19. “Women are feeling very vulnerable, women are feeling very unprotected and women are feeling that the perpetrators of the violence are getting away with it and there are no repercussions.”
In the audio below, Chistopher says women feel like there are no repercussions for GBV perpetrators:
Below is a video with SA’s gender-based violence statistics:
While grateful for the awards she has received so far, Christopher says, she did not get into acting for fame and accolades.
“For the longest time I can remember, my parents would take me to see threatre shows, drama productions; would allow me to do extra murals in drama. For me, I don’t know myself outside my world of acting and drama from a very young age.”
The actress has also featured on various other shows. She is also a voice over artist.
Interesting facts about Kgomotso Christopher
Q: Define yourself in three words?
A: Introverted extrovert, shy
Q: What kind of music are you listening to right now?
A: I am a jazz woman, I listen to soul music. Right now, ironically, I am listening to a CD that was gifted to me by my childhood friend and my school mate, Maduvha. Maduvha has a CD that she released called Tshedza Tshanga which is actually a spiritual gospel music CD. So that has been for me on rewind, literally since she gifted me end of last year.
Q: What are some of the annoying things about you?
A: Oh gosh! I guess asking me is not quite the best thing. I guess you have to ask that to people you annoy right..laughs. I think my kids would say that I am a clean freak. I hate dirty homes and I hate dishes. My husband would say it is annoying that I am a person who sleeps very early. I don’t stay up late. My sleep is very important, so I sleep early and wake up very early. What else? I am very passive aggressive I don’t like fighting. So, if I ever fight with you and if there is a fight I will just disappear and shut everyone out because I don’t like fighting.
Q: Between the two elements fire and water, which one would you choose and why?
A: People would say I am fire but I believe I am water. Aries is a fire sign but I don’t really follow zodiac science. I think I am a bit of both, I think generally I am a very calm person but I am very passionate and so if needs be I can be fire.
In the audio below, actress Kgomotso Christopher shares some fun facts about herself:
Christopher has left her most recent acting gig and is pursuing other career opportunities. She has been auditioning for different roles, but the lockdown has put everything on hold.
“As soon as I hear of anything that gets the positive of yes, you got the job and yes you got the gig – I am going to be the first person to announce it. I will be so excited to share it with everyone.”