Rhythm City's Mampho pours her heart out

IN THE LIMELIGHT: Rhythm City actress Itumeleng Bokaba
IN THE LIMELIGHT: Rhythm City actress Itumeleng Bokaba

Since she was a kid there has always been extra pressure on her to be the perfect little girl - not only to please her family and others around her, but also because of the public glare and the simple need to behave.

Meet Itumeleng Bokaba who was born in Alexandra, Johannesburg, but grew up in Kempton Park, Ekurhuleni.

Bokaba is the latest addition to e.tv soapie Rhythm City's acting crew.

On how Mampho - in Rhythm City - came about, Bokaba said: "I got a phone call about the new role and went to audition. To my surprise I got it. I feel very lucky and blessed to be part of it all since I've always loved watching the show".

The 19-year-old actress, who plans to study music performance next year, recalls some of the pressures of the entertainment industry - plus weight issues - that she has had to endure.

"Like other ordinary people I had bad days too," Bokaba explains.

As a teenager Bokaba felt pressured to do things such as drinking liquor and smoking cigarettes with friends. But she always knew that, unlike other wayward youths, she feared seeing herself featured in "bad" newspaper articles or radio and television shows.

"I also felt pressured to look and talk in a certain way, because people expect that from a person they consider a celebrity," Bokaba explains.

As a chubby young girl, Bokaba had weight issues.

"I have to tell myself every day that I have to accept myself for what I am or else my mind will find ways to find something wrong with my body," she says.

She believes that there are only certain roles available to overweight girls - and most of the time for comedic actors.

"Most of the times there always has to be an agenda when someone is overweight on television," she explains.

She gave the assurance that both Mampho and her personality will be full of life and energetic.

"I am a 'crazy' person, and I love to have fun."

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