Child hunger and deaths are rising in Zimbabwe due to the worst drought in two decades, with thousan.
SOMETIMES a television host eventually does land a role in a drama or soapie.
Musa Mthombeni, YoTv children's programme host, has landed a role in The Boy Next Door, the third series, on free channel e.tv.
It was through sheer luck and by chance that his agent called to tell him that auditions were taking place.
"I never had proper training as an actor, but I once took part in a one-week workshop in which I was taught the basics. That was when I was 10 years old," chuckles the new actor.
Ekasi Stories does not seek to give its viewers A-grade storytelling, but Musa says: "The stories are as raw as they can be. You can see a paper flying behind the camera or the sound of children playing in the streets. It's the Kasi life just as you know it".
The television host, who is also a DJ at youth radio Yfm, plays Fix, a township youngster from a well-to-do family who lives with his parents.
One day Fix bumps into a stranger called Bambanani, a Zimbabwean, and they become friends.
Bambanani is played by Obey Muchipi. Bambanani desperately wants a girlfriend, but feels he does not fit into kasi life.
Musa explains: "I make it my duty to find him a girlfriend, but he thinks he has to undergo a complete makeover so that he can fit in.
"When he meets a girl, Bambanani realises that she actually likes him just the way he is."
"The moral of the story is: Always be yourself, period," Musa says.
He says that the idea behind the Ekasi Stories is to change the concept that every story should have corporate appeal, with those fancy buildings that you always see in television soapies and dramas.
"If you have never been to Sandton and you want to see that posh suburb, then watch Generations or Sokhulu and Partners, but if you have been cloistered in Sandton and have no clue about life in the townships, then you should watch Ekasi Stories," he says.
Musa believes training is very important if one wants to be an actor, though it is sometimes possible to snap up a role if one presents a good package.
"You need good coaching and mentoring throughout," he says.
Though the fourth-year Wits medical student believes Ekasi Stories presents an opportunity for young directors and actors to grow and expand, he says his busy schedule and his love of his studies preclude him from ever appearing in any of the soapies.
"Soapies take up a lot of time and I don't want to end up thinking what would Dr so and so do in a scene when I have to deal with a patient in reality," he explains.
"I have a calling to save lives - not to imitate how to save lives."