Shalima Mkongi #Nkululeko

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I’m sure you guys have seen the rage uNkululeko has been causing on twitter every Sunday night and rightly so! The show introduces new talent with a mixture of faces we’ve seen on Mzansi magic before, like uDetective Fezile - I know Right 😊😊. I’ve been a fan since episode 1! I watch the show every Sunday! No repeats!

So your girl did the most and managed to get an interview with the creative, determined and outspoken, Shalima Mkongi, one of the female actresses who act on the show! I asked her a few questions about herself, her craft and any advice she'd give to fellow babes trying to make it in the entertainment industry!

Did you study to become an actor? 

"Absolutely! I studied a BA in theatre and performance. I did my first year at AFDA and I didn’t quite enjoy it. It’s a great course I just didn’t feel like I was getting enough from it, so I decided to go to UCT because I wanted to go back to the origins of acting which is theatre and there wasn’t much theatre at AFDA, at the time. "

Tell us a bit about yourself? 3 words that would describe you? 

"I never know how to answer this question because I never really know how to speak about myself. I'm a Gemini, so I have multiple personalities. I like to think of myself as the Kanye West of my generation. I'm quite creative when I put my mind to it. I love beyonce, I like to talk A LOT, like..... A LOT. I’m very active, I like to gym and look after my body and i love what I do (acting)."

What are some motivational/inspirational words you live by?

"I have a lot because I read a lot of motivational books - I’m always trying to better myself."

"What can't kill you can only make you stronger"  🙅

Only speak positive words into your life if you don’t want to invite negativity. I always say watch how you speak to yourself because your negative talk is bad for you.

''You’re responsible for your own life, so basically you're responsible for the outcome of your life."

"Luck is what happens when preparation meeting opportunity" 👌👌

What are the struggles of being an aspiring, young, Female south African actress?

"There are a lot although, it's getting better. At first a lot of recycling was happening - they used the same faces on tv - so it was very hard to get into the industry, especially if you're from Cape Town and you’re not from Joburg & you don’t know people. I feel like in Joburg a lot of that is word of mouth, a lot of things are based on connections, moreso in the entertainment Industry." 

"Social media following and the importance of it in our industry is absolutely ridiculous and I think for someone whose starting out you need to look at their talent and not their following, I found this extremely disappointing. I was shocked and I didn’t understand the policy behind it."

Has acting always been something you’ve wanted to pursue?

"Acting is definitely something I've wanted to pursue from a very young age. I grew up with my mom putting me in pageants and ads. I basically grew up in front of the camera. I didn’t think I would do it because I thought it was my moms thing – my mom is a fabulous mother 💆💆- simply because I was a shy human being. When I started doing plays in primary school, I thought wow. I remember this one girl got the lead role (because she had a bigger smile than me or something) and I was sooo upset and I think that's when I discovered it's what I wanted to do, that I want to perform. I want people to see me, I want to make the audience happy and I just love the feedback and energy I get from live performances."

How’d you end up playing the role of Portia in the new show “Nkululeko”?

"I was on a flight to Cape Town one evening, and the next morning I decided i'd deactivate Instagram because I was just soo tired of being told about my following, so I was just like "let me deactivate". As I was about to deactivate, I checked  my DMs and I saw a message from Sibu and she's like : listen, I'd like for you to audition for this new show. I've seen your acting and I saw you last night on the Airplane but I didn’t want to just talk to you because I didn't know how you'd feel about talking to a stranger. " That was it.

What do you like about your character, Portia?

"I love that she’s protective of her family and that’s something that I can relate to. As a person, as Shalima, because I come from a big family and I like to think that i'm very protective of my siblings. Also, she doesn’t take nonsense from anyone, she speaks her mind even though sometimes it's not good, I still like that about her."

What is a day like on set 😍

"This set is actually very different from my previous set, its a lot, so everything is on-location. I basically get picked up then I go to set, eat breakfast, after breakfast I go to wardrobe to change and then I go to make-up, after make-up I run scenes – whatever scenes are coming up, if i'm not next -with an actor or sometimes with the driver (most of the times it's with the driver). I go on set, kill the scene 💁💁, end my day and say my goodbyes to everyone."

What effort (from actors, producers etc) goes into creating these amazing, authentic South African Shows?

"A LOT!  It starts before it even comes to the actor - it starts with the script. If the script is not good it's not going to be a great show. Well, it might be depending on the actors and how they carry it , but the script is where the effort starts. when the script comes to us. it's beneficial that we as actors do our research and know what to do."

"I've worked - and work-  with great actors, the support the behind-the scenes team gives (the  camera people and the crew) is amazing. Everyone works together in unison. The camera crew try to get the right shots, to make sure we don’t look bad on TV and  we as actors don't mess up our lines. In this way,  everyone comes to the party and does what needs to be done to create a good show." 👅

"Everyone has beeeen bringing it in Nkululeko. I haven’t had one day where I felt like the energy is low, especially with the crew. They are there 12 hours a day with the same energy and the same kind of life they had at the beginning -  they don’t wanna give up yet. The hours are tedious and the crew is on set from Monday – Sunday. The directors give tremendous support. Sometimes when I'm lost with the script, I ask Sibu or the directors, they’re very supportive."

"What makes Nkululeko Authentic is that in the brief we were told to bring the life of khayletisha alive. I like that the writer was not just trying to tell a story about a township, but to bring the culture of khayelitsha to the forefront."

What would your words of advice be to any young women out there who aspire to be an actress?


"The thing of, waking up and deciding that acting is what you want to do, isn't going to cut it, acting is harder than that, if you want to do it work on your craft."

"I know a lot of people aren’t fortunate enough to be able to go to university or afford the fees but you should attend classes where you can. The Baxter offers free classes as well as The Magnet offices in Joburg. So there is no excuse why you can't work on your craft and constantly develop it. Also, networking is key, s[peak to the right people and know the right people. Most importantly, Don’t give up"

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