Zethu Dlomo
Image: Veli Nhlapo
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The heroine of SA's very first western is the artful Zethu Dlomo. She has been cast in the role of Lerato - one of the "boys" - in Five Fingers for Marseilles.

The award-winning actress, who has taken on international roles, says although her dream came true quickly, it was through hard work and resilience.

After finishing acting in probably the biggest role of her career, Dlomo looks forward to the next challenge. Her audition for the role of feisty Lerato was two years ago, while shooting season 4 of the US historical adventure series Black Sails.

"One Sunday afternoon in Cape Town that August, I received a call that I'm needed to come and shoot urgently in Lady Grey, and had to leave that day. I jumped into the process two weeks into production. It was very challenging! .

Being a Zulu and performing a Sotho-speaking character, the challenge that lay before me was daunting . Lerato is strong and resilient. A lady but a tomboy as well, she is the rose amongst the thorns. It was exciting to be a part of an African western film, a first of its kind, and I look forward to sharing this story with the world."

The 28-year-old says she started out as an actress way back when she was just 10 years old. "I joined the drama club in primary school. At the time I didn't realise that acting was something that could be a profession, I just enjoyed performing. I got accepted into the National School of the Arts from Grade 9, specialising in drama. My first professional acting gig was in Justice for Allin 2006."

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Born in Lenasia and raised in Mmesi Park, Dobsonville, Soweto, Dlomo says: "I was one of those kids who loved playing on the street. I was a proper '90s kid. Playing from morning until the streetlights came on. I am a part of that generation that loved getting creative, making mud cakes, playing games, telling stories using stones or a book and ball pen. I had a fun childhood. Many of my friends, family and neighbours would say that they always saw it coming that I would be an actor one day," she laughs.

She believes that acting is her gift from God. "It is my passion. I love performing . As an actor you tap into what you know from your own experiences, but you use a lot of your imagination."

About playing opposite local heart throb Vuyo Dabula, she says his talent far outweighs his appearance. "I know this industry is obsessed with looks but it would be great to point out that it's not about that. Working with Vuyo was a great pleasure. He is dedicated and professional in his craft. He helped me greatly to get into the world of the film and playing alongside him was great fun," she says.

Dlomo is excited about personal developments in her life too. "I have a wonderful man, who is also a film, television and theatre actor like myself. We are both working hard . So we both understand our crazy hours of shooting and rehearsing."

*Five Fingers for Marseilles, which premiered this week, opens in cinemas nationwide in April.

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