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Brenda living her life to the fullest

By Lesley Mofokeng Entertainment Editor | Mar 12, 2016 | COMMENTS [ 12 ]

It took Brenda Ngxoli the role of a tragic music superstar to face the demons of the entertainment industry.

In effect, in her latest character of Kitt Khambule on the eKasi+ channel drama Hustle, she holds the mirror up to the highly romanticised and envied upper crust of glitzy showbiz, and the reflection is not pretty.

"Famous people like to pretend that life is perfect," she says.

"Whenever they are on set they'll say things like 'we're like a family' - they are lying. There is jealousy, envy and egos in the entertainment industry."

We're sitting in the most unusual place for our quick chat. She's getting a haircut at the popular Mosdefinite Salon in Rosebank Mall, Johannesburg, in preparation to play Kitt and steals a few minutes for me.

Ngxoli is impassioned as she shoots from the hip about an industry she has operated in for 15 years.

"I call Kitt 'every woman in the entertainment industry', because as a woman in entertainment you're faced with many things.

"I also empathise with that journey of taking drugs because you need to understand the pressures of fame. It comes with loneliness even though she is surrounded by so many people.

"If you're that talent like Brenda Fassie you're not at our level, your frequency is elsewhere.

"For you to be a comedian and make people laugh you need to know pain and loneliness."

Ngxoli, one of the most critically acclaimed actresses in town, says the familiarity with the industry made it hard to portray Kitt.

"This has been the toughest character to play. She is also the loudest ever. Her tragic flaws are exposed," she says.

"It's easy to be objective when you're not exposed to an industry you're portraying, but it's hard when you know it."

"Vuyo [her character in Home Affairs] was an athlete so I could be objective, but once it's a world I know and the bigger the character, the bigger her tragic flaws are, it becomes hard. Sometimes you're even tempted to cover them."

Ngxoli is directed by Jahmil X.T. Qubeka in Hustle.

She has nothing but praise for the man. "I call him SA's own Spike Lee. He comes with that passion and drive. Our industry has a culture of mediocrity and laziness and if you don't adhere to that you're seen as difficult, a drama queen and a diva.

"But there's something that comes with excellence and pouring your heart out and bringing your passion, dedication, commitment and immense focus and Jamil encapsulates all of that."

Not only does Ngxoli have some choice words for the industry, but she doesn't think too much of the City of Gold that for years migrant labourers have come to seeking fame and fortune.

She now lives in her family rural homestead in Xolobe in Tsomo,Eastern Cape.

The 36-year-old Ngxoli says when she hit her 30s she started shuttling between Johannesburg and Xolobe, but two years ago she turned her back on the city for good. She only comes to film shows, but her heart is in rural Eastern Cape.

She regales me with stories of life as a village woman. "If I sleep in a rondavel I wake up and light my incense and play my meditation music and meditate. Brown, my dog, would be standing at the door and after I chat with Brown, then we do the rounds of feeding animals. Your day doesn't start before you feed the animals."

I ask her what she would typically do in a sleepy village.

"There's always something to do. When there's rain you're über excited and try to put something in the ground. And if there are no rains you're über worried because what's in the ground will die.

"Actually, I'm über excited right now because I just got a call from my mother that the pasture I planted with sunflower seeds, sorghum and clovers has grown.

"Thesunflowers have blossomed and need to be harvested because the birds have started eating them. I'm so excited, it was my first planting of sunflowers."

She has cows, pigs, chickens and geese and boasts about eating free-range eggs.

She insists hers is the business of living and not acting or farming.

"For once I'm in the business of saying 'God what am I here on earth for?', and not be caught up in the idea of capitalism and that idea of waking up and worrying where the next cheque is coming from."

She argues a case for rural development. "It's not just a concept of electrification. It should be rural development of the soul of the black child."

"We're getting sold an idea that is not ours and promotes white supremacy and we're falling straight into it as the African soul."She has also stopped living in fear that people would say she has fallen on hard times.

"I'm happy. Brenda is living. They wake up and go to auditions and I wake up and wonder if the rain is coming. I don't like the look of desperation; fear and desperation are two words that don't exist in my life."

mofokengl@ sowetan. co.za


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Mar 12, 2016 9:58 | 1 replies


Is she from the 60's?

Mar 12, 2016 10:32 | 1 replies


how many children does she have so far

Mar 12, 2016 10:44 | 1 replies
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