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Short(y) and funny

By Edward Tsumele | May 06, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

ALFRED Ntombela cuts a diminutive figure that looks more like a boy. He is short and stout, a stature he has cunningly turned into an asset as an actor.

But the truth is that this man, who film lovers probably prefer answer to several names he has assumed in the many movies he has made with Leon Schuster, is actually nearing the magical 40 years.

I met Ntombela this week at the premiere of the much-guarded and much awaited Schuster movie, Schuks Tshabalala, in Rosebank.

Ntombela, just like in previous hilarious Schuster movies, co-stars alongside his mentor, the man who has inspired him and given him employment and opportunities in his always big-grossing movies.

"Whenever people ask my age, I always tell them to take a guess. I tell them that I have been in Schuster's movies from the age of 18, and so far I have appeared in seven of them, including this one.

"Well, anyway, let me tell you how old I am: I am actually 38 years old," he said.

I looked at him, and this time more intensely. My doubts as to whether he was telling the truth built up in me. I was trying to figure out how old he really was.

He looked 18 at the most.

He seemed to read my mind. How could I get this man's real age? I started to think hard.

What he had just told me sounded unbelievable. But he did not look like someone who would just lie. Could he be telling the truth then?

"I have good body features, and I probably look much younger. But the truth is I am actually a mature man.

" I know what you are thinking and what you are probably contemplating finding out from me," he said.

"Many people respect me, but there are those who choose not to. For example, I don't consider myself a star. I am an actor who lives an ordinary life in the township.

"I don't believe in the celebrity facade. I am real. But in Thokoza, where I live, sometimes I have bad experiences with people, particularly young people who refer to me as a boy. Some of these kids are not even half my age.

"I sometimes get angry. But this country has a Constitution that says you cannot smack a naughty boy, unlike in the past," he laughs.

But he has left me with the impression that he is grossly frustrated and saddened by young people who refer to him as a boy.

These are some of the secrets about this star, who together with Schuster, has made people laugh and sometimes angry at their jokes and the humorous tricks they play on society.


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