EXCLUSIVE: Meet Bonga Dlamini South African Actor
The past 13 years in this industry were more valuable than the 3 years I got at school.
South African Actor Bonga Dlamini, (36) joins Muvhango cast
DURBAN – In an exclusive and intriguing interview with Star Magazine Africa’s journalist Takemore Chikwesa, the KwaZulu Natal born and bred media personality, actor and businessman confirmed that he is currently shooting with Muvhango, a South African television soap opera with over 5,5 million viewers. He unravelled to Star his poignant voyage from a village lad to becoming a world superstar.
Muvhango lovers and viewers across the globe will soon see him on the screen of the most celebrated soap opus across the globe.
Star: Where were you born and how did it come for you to be in the media industry?
Bonga Dlamini: I grew up in a village in South Africa KwaZulu Natal in a village called Bulwer. I was raised by my grandmother Rosa Dlamini because my mother and her sibling sisters and brothers were in exile. I was born on 15 June 1983. I moved to stay with my uncle in Umlazi, Durban in 1991.
I went to Maphumzane, Swelihle higher primary school then went to Mafumbuka high school.
In 1998 I went to Pholela high school till my matric in 2001. I decided that I was going to be in the entertainment industry because it had grabbed my attention. I paid attention to it. It was more appealing and attractive to me as a young man and a young student that’s when I made my decision to be an actor.
I moved to Pretoria to stay with my aunt. I then realised that I never applied after passing matric because you had to apply to be accepted to university. I was luckily granted permission to study at the university. The university had started a programme to do acting classes part-time before you can even do your first year. They did this so that you can be exposed to the art and to understand the gist of acting.
I did that part-time and the following year I got to study with the Tshwane University of Technology(TUT) from 2002 to 2003. I started my first year there. During my second year, I moved to Durban University of Technology(DUT) to carry on with my studies from 2004 to 2005.
I moved to Johannesburg about 13 years ago to now to start my career as a professional actor. I did a lot of things including Isidingo on SABC 3, Rhythm City on e.tv, A place called home which was SABC 1. It’s for life which was on Mzansi Magic, Isibaya on Mzansi Magic, including Uzalo on SABC 1. Currently, I am doing Muvhango on SABC 2 which is going to come out at the end of this year and it’s going up to 2020 next year. That is what I am shooting right now
Just to include the church in my journey. I joined the church ZCC from Zimbabwe in late 2017 because every journey needs to be accompanied spiritual guidance, knowledge and wisdom.ZCC helped me to gain that spiritual confidence, information, guidance and wisdom. So I used all I gained from ZCC to navigate as a performer, actor and now as a businessman. I am on embarking on a business journey at the same time. I have got one daughter child.
Now as an actor for 13 years. The church has played a big role in my life for the past 2 years in terms of guidance, clarity, comfort and healthy spiritually. So the church has played major and important roles, spiritually in my life
Star: You mentioned moving to the Durban University of Technology to continue with your studies, can you tell us the qualifications you attained at DUT?
Bonga Dlamini: Actually I never graduated. I don’t wanna be too political but I will be because it’s my truth. I did not graduate because of one subject I did not do and never redid it. The whole concept of South African education is unfortunately made and designed not for black people or for the poor. I felt that I was betrayed, not taught what I loved and expected as an African.
The subject did not mention about even one country on this continent. I was enough with the education and information I got at the university. But the past 13 years in this industry were more valuable than the 3 years I got at school. I was interacting with Africans in Africa. I went abroad in the eastern part of Europe in Romania to work there for a short time with a client from Peru. They also wanted Africanness they did not want Italian, Greek and English languages that I was taught at school.
I never graduated but I got the experience.
Star: Can you tell us more about the part you currently shooting?
Bonga Dlamini: Well what I can say so far is that we are still busy with it. Muvhango is a cultural show on TV, SABC 2, but also urban which is dominated by Venda language and culture and other various culture and languages like Nguni, Sotho etc. Muvhango is one of the biggest shows in South Africa and has been around for 20 years being around on TV. Being around on TV is a big privilege for me and them. I am grateful to be part of the show. The character is new and it plays a very important role in the storyline as it comes with a new sphere of the show.
I speak Zulu from KwaZulu in a Venda dominated culture and language. It creates a new colourful state and scenes it’s even going to attract more Nguni speaking viewers of the show in particular Zulus. It’s quite a prominent character as it also comes with its own powers, rules, way of life, it comes with background, culture, language, beliefs and norms that come with Zulu culture.
It’s very interesting, I play Qhawe who is in the business and investments, he runs a business. It’s not culture, beliefs, norms and language only but its also business. It comes with everything which is Zulu.
Star: When will fans get to see Qhawe in action?
Bonga Dlamini: It’s going to begin by the end of this year. I am not sure the exact date but the beginning of December it should start or already started.
Star: You have got prowess in acting Bonga, it seems its gonna be a big role as the name “Qhawe”.
Bonga Dlamini: It is quite a visible role let me put it like that not, its not a big role. It is a new character starting in 2019 into 2020.
Star: Can you also tell us about the Zion Christian Church (ZCC) Zimbabwe you joined?
Bonga Dlamini: The church played a major and important role to me in my life. Of course with Bishop Dr Nehemiah Mutendi as our leader, his leadership is very important and very powerful. Our leader’s guidance helps a lot. The truthful teachings from the Bishop can help you throughout your career, health and life.
The conferences are very informative, very powerful and very guided by Godly spirit, knowledge and wisdom. The leadership under Bishop Nehemiah is very powerful and inspiring that why I am still part of the church.
Star: What is your stance on what is happening in South Africa right now, xenophobia and fighting between African nations. Africa will love to hear your sentiment as a media personality and a prominent actor.
Bonga Dlamini: (He chips in quickly) Xenophobia, oh no, what I don’t enjoy with these interviews that are not live on radio or TV is because at the end someone writes not the whole story of what you said.
I do have something to say about xenophobia and the attacks. I am not going to say a South African attacked that person because everybody is attacking everybody. But the common thing is that an African is attacking an African that’s what I know for sure. This is my take to it, South Africans are not looting for the first time in 2019, we have known each other since democracy.
There is nothing like an African being surprised that there is an African being next to me. Africans have loved each other.
Africans have known each other through time and history, so we are not strangers to each other. Hence we are all Africans, we are aware of each other.
Why are we fighting now, why were we not fighting 1000 years ago? The problem has never been Africans, the problem will never be Africans. Africans are in a situation where they had to fight for limited resources. There are more people and there are fewer resources. The person who is killing Africans is the one who made fewer resources. For me, Africans have loved each other. People are found in desperate situations.
Star: Thank you so much for your unbiased answers. You sound like a pan- Africanist singing pan- Africanism.
Bonga Dlamini:(he smiles and laughs with joy)
Star: Concluding this interesting discourse, what do you have to say about the former president of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe, who recently passed away, an African iconic figure, liberator, pan Africanist like the likes of Nelson Mandela, Samora Machel, Julius Nyerere, Kenneth Kaunda etc.
Bonga Dlamini: Former President of Zimbabwe R G Mugabe was one of Africa’s well known, distinguished and respected leader we have ever come across. A leader who did his best for his people. Indeed we lost a jewel.