Creatives Under Lockdown is a SABC News feature that focuses on the impact of coronavirus on the lives of people in the arts and entertainment industry. This week, actor Wiseman Mcube shares his journey of being part of the drama series Uzalo.
Sibonelo is one of the captivating characters in SABC 1’s leading drama series, Uzalo. Played by Wiseman Mncube, the character takes the audience on a journey into the world of crime. After finishing his medical studies in Cuba, Sibonelo comes back to his home town of KwaMashu for his practical work. His life takes a turn when it is revealed that his biological father is KwaMashu’s most notorious criminal.
“He now started to adopt a new way of living, getting to understand that uNkunzi is his father, knowing that uNkunzi is this big criminal in KwaMashu. And now he is kind of living under his father’s shadow, living his father’s life. Now he is a criminal, stealing cars and all those things he is taught by uNkunzi. But Sibonelo, as a person, is just a quiet person and a truthful person. He is an honest person. He loves his mother very much and he loves Nonku,” says Mcube.
Currently Sibonelo’s time is invested in planning a heist while enjoying some romance with the love of his life, his fiancé, Nonku.
The Broadcast Research Council of South Africa earlier this month announced that the drama series is the most-watched in South Africa, boasting 11.4 million viewers.
Mncube says while he is proud of how far the drama series has come, being part of the cast comes with a lot of pressure.
“I’m excited it is the number one show in the country. But at the same time it comes with a lot of pressure. You are not living your life the way you want to live it anymore. So now you have people who look up to you. Young people, you need to inspire all the time. So the way you carry yourself emgwaqeni (in public), where you are all the time, really inspires other people, it teaches other people. As much it is a fun thing to do, at the same time it comes with a lot of pressure. There are places you can’t go anymore because people will be all over you.”
Impact of coronavirus lockdown
The show’s viewers took to social media to raise their frustrations when the soapie went off-air during the week of 11 May. The Stained Glass TV production ran out of episodes after shooting was halted because of the coronavirus lockdown.
**Official Statement** #Uzalo Episodes ‘til 08 May 2020. WE WILL BE BACK ON SCREEN❕❕#Covid19SA #lockDownSouthAfrica pic.twitter.com/HfLpCihhs5
— Uzalo- Mon – Fri 8:30pm (@Uzalo_SABC1) May 6, 2020
Although they have now been given the green light to resume shooting, the permit comes with its conditions.
“It affected us a lot because if you look at Uzalo, it is not like other soapies where we have Generations shooting from studios. Particularly, we shoot on streets, chisanyamas, salons and so on. Now we have to change the whole script, now we are no longer shooting on the roads because of this pandemic lockdown and everything that is happening right now. So, now we are forced to shoot indoors, now we have to change the whole feel of the show. We are going back from one studio to the next. It is going to be different for the viewers because they are not used to that but there is nothing we can do. “
Mncube says people in the creative industry have been negatively affected by the lockdown. The lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus has left some jobless.
“As actors, it affects us a lot, as freelancers, I will put it that way because, I will talk for myself and for everyone else who is in the same industry, which is acting. We have theatre shows that we were preparing to do for Play House. At the Market Theatre, I was called by Bab James Ngcobo who runs the Market Threatre back in Joburg for a show, now it has been cancelled. We can’t do it anymore. It (Market Theatre) has shut down for the rest of the year until next year which is quite sad because, the people I work with, we are affected because what do we do now? We live out of theatre; we live out of shows, out of making stories. Now we are very affected. It is a sad reality but there is nothing we can do about it. “
While 2020 has been a difficult year because of the virus, it has brought some joy to Mncube. The actor bagged the South African Film and Television Awards Best Actor in a TV Drama Award for his role as Jama in another drama series.
“I am very happy about this award. Every actor wants a SAFTA. I really wanted the SAFTA and to be honest I believed that one day I will win a SAFTA award. If you follow my social media pages, last year in March, I posted something. I walked in a friend’s house and he has it, I took it and wrote a post, that ‘If you believe and if you see it, you will achieve it and one day I know I will own my own.’ So what I did last month and it is actually exciting and it tells me that for that particular role I did justice. “
I cannot express my gratitude enough. Thank you very much @SAFTAS1 @stainedglasstv_ and to my people, my fans. Best Actor in a Drama is just the beginning of big things. I won't disappoint. pic.twitter.com/nVKe21tqBw
— Wiseman Mncube (@wiseman_mncube) April 30, 2020
Born in Ulundi and raised in Durban, Mncube is no stranger to winning awards. He won several awards for his work back at the Play House Theatre in Durban.
Interesting facts about Wiseman Mncube
Q: Why did you choose to be an actor?
A: It is because when I was doing Standard 8, I have a brother, my older brother he is also in the same industry. He is an actor. He was studying at DUT back then, doing his first year. He invited me to a show he was doing at school, a theatre show that he was doing. I was not used to theatre. I wasn’t used to shows, I wasn’t used to anything. And I was like ‘ okay let me go and watch’ and when I got there, it was a show, Sophiatown, when I walked in, I watched the show. From then on I was like ‘this is where I belong. This is what I want to do’ and I never looked back. I was very inspired by my brother and from then.”
Q: Your social media is filled with pictures of you and your daughter? What does fatherhood mean to you?
View this post on Instagram
I spend a lot of time with my daughter because I am a single parent, umawakhe (her mother) passed away two years ago. I get this question a lot because people are inspired by this father and daughter relationship. I don’t even know how to explain it, it is your kid at the end of the day and you want to do good. You want to teach your child to grow up respectful, so you need to love your kid. I learnt from mistakes I saw growing up. I grew up with my parents there, now I want to teach my kid how I was taught. “
Q: What kind of music do you listen to?
A: I listen to everything but mostly I play gospel and Vuyo Mokwena is still my legend until today.
Q: What book are you reading at the moment?
A: I am not a reader but at the moment I am reading, “Drama for Life” is a book with a lot of different theatre shows.
Q: What do you do for fun?
A: I just spend a lot of time with my daughter, I just play with her. That’s what I do .
Related : Part 1 :Starving artist’ a more meaningful phrase amid lockdown
Related : Part 2: ‘I don’t know myself outside my world of acting’
Related: Part 3: Letshego Zulu on fitness under lockdown