Generations actress loses daughter to Aids

"It was painful to watch her going through that pain, but I am glad I was there for her" - Noluvo Ntapu talks of losing daughter

THOUGH Generations fans have never seen Wilfred, they feel sorry for the poor guy. Who wouldn't?

His wife Patricia is a nauseating, highly opinionated and nosey woman who is forever interested in other people's business.

Patricia is the alter ego of Noluvo Ntapu, who is nothing like her character.

In fact, Ntapu is a very calm and collected woman who chooses her words carefully and speaks in a very measured tone.

The down-to-earth actress from Mount Ayliff in Eastern Cape has come a long way since her Generations breakout role.

She talks openly about the loss of her daughter to an Aids-related illness.

Her tryst with showbiz began with cameo appearances in shows including eKasi: Our Stories, Soul City, 7de Laan and Rhythm City before she got her role on Generations .

Ntapu, came to Johannesburg in 2008 to look for greener pastures, with only a Matric certificate.

"I came to Johannesburg with just a dream to be a star. Acting was not part of my plans.

"I was hoping that I was going to be a gospel singer, but God had other ideas for my life.

"I was willing to do any work, including domestic work, before landing my first TV job.

"When I got my first acting role, I was running a small spaza shop to support myself," says the 47-year-old actress.

She says the first time she was on the set of Generations she felt intimidated because she had to act with big names like Sophie Ndaba and Menzi Ngubane.

"I was so star-struck and scared, seeing all these big actors. I could not believe I had landed a job in such a big show, but as time went by I got used to it."

She says though acting in one of the country's biggest soapies is exciting, it also has its disadvantages.

"Acting in Generations gives people distorted ideas about my life. There is too much pressure and a lot of expectations.

"The moment you are seen on TV people think that you are rich and live in a mansion. They expect you to drive a big car.

"They do not know that like many South Africans, I use taxis and live in a rented flat in the Johannesburg CBD."

The mother of five says she has had her fair share of ups and downs.

Ntapu says her 22-year-old daughter got Aids in 2008 and died last month.

"Losing her was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to go through in my life, but it taught me very important life lessons. Her sickness taught me patience and compassion.

"I had to accompany her every time she went to take her treatment from the clinic. I was there with her when she was diagnosed. It was painful to watch her going through that pain, but I am glad I was there for her.

"Whenever I accompanied her to the clinic young HIV-positive people told me stories of how their parents had disowned them.

"Whenever we went to the clinic people used to gossip about us."

She adds the disease still has a lot of stigma attached to it and that people fetch their pills in other containers to disguise the fact they are having treatment.

"I would like to start a parent's HIV support group where I live, where we will support parents and families of HIV-positive people.

"The CBD has many people affected and infected by the disease who do not know who to talk to and who need help and understanding."

Ntapu, who recently separated from her husband of more than 20 years and the father of her five children, says before her daughter died she asked to see her father.

"Before my daughter died she asked to see my husband, but unfortunately she died while he was on his way to see her."

She adds: "We fell out of love with each other long before I started acting".

Her biggest dream?

"My wish is to see Patricia's part grow. At the moment I am a call actress. I also dream of realising the gospel album I had to shelve because I had to take care of my daughter."