“I never waited for opportunities to come along but I created my own,” boasted renowned 30 year old actress Thuli Thabethe during the interview with The Inspired Africa.
Her acting journey has inspired mostly by township dwellers, where she grew up to be moulded into a great commercialised figure. Thuli’s well-educated parents played a crucial role in identifying her arts talent at an early age and rightfully decided to send her to a specialised arts school that would advance her talent. “I grew up in Medowlands, Soweto, and I was always theatrical as we played along the streets in singing and acting everything that we watched on TV.
“My mother identified my energy and decided to channel it towards the arts school as opposed to a formal school, so I enrolled at the National School of Arts to study Speech and Drama” she said. “I studied drama, speech, music and dance alongside academic studies like Maths, Geography and Science. I’m always grateful for that opportunity. No child would be happy to see their parents separate, it was very hard for me” Thuli added.
Thuli’s first shot was on small screen, City Sesla, which won her a Golden Horn Award for her sterling actress role at the 2009 South African Film and Television Awards. “That Breakthrough role on City Sesla is still my best so far, I acted with my peers who had written, directed and acted the comedy, so there was a big sense of ownership.
We really did well for ourselves, we inspired other young artists not to wait for scripts to be written but create your own. It was a humbling experience” she continued.
She has been part of the multi-award winning local production Bomb Production’s Zone 14 on state broadcasters’ SABC and Mzansi Magic’s Inkaba, alongside Mzansi Wethu’s Perfect Wedding as show host.
But the mother of one’ bemoans suffocation of African arts landscape through less opportunities and lack of funds that have taken life out of most talents. According to Thuli there is a lot of talent in South Africa, but there are limited opportunities in the industry.
“I never waited for opportunities but l created them. Everywhere you go you need a solid foundation and talent has to be developed by studying. If you want to be a dancer you have to study it, unfortunately some people look for fame without being well versed about the industry” she says.
“My mother believed in my Arts ability and went on to invest financially towards my arts education, but then we are a family of academics so they (parents) were not convinced with acting only” she indicated.
Today’ Thuli is a qualified brand strategist who has advanced her growth into the professional world with various commercial advertisements, credit to her mother’s pursuit for education.
“As a brand strategist I’m looking at going into business. I’m now more into brand marketing than acting. I am involved in an upcoming film called Happiness that is coming out next year, l like the shot, but I have in the recent days been more into commercials as they seem to have more funding.” Thuli revealed.
She recently visited Arusha, Tanzania, as a Goodwill Ambassador in finding ways to reawake` the potential of such places in Africa.“It’s a sad story in Arusha, seeing the potential that is neglected there, we are not reaching out because of poor leadership, issues are supposed to be addressed to reawake the vibe and economic activities that happened there, that should be done economically by addressing issues that affect people in Arusha.”
She enjoys spending quality time with her 5 year old son and believes in a hands-on life approach.
Surprisingly, the Zone 14 Series star does not have a personal dresser, she believes in simplicity and a down to earth approach to life.Thuli is one of the few versatile women looking to empower fellow African women on the continent. “At the World Economic Forum early this year, more conversations were about how we can change African narratives and as Africans we have to be patriotic.
“Look at Nigeria, they are very patriotic, 90 percent on radio and television is their own productions, culture, music and fashion.That is how we can change Africa’s destiny by backing our own artists that share the African story. ”Thuli concluded.