Actress Zimkhitha Nyoka hit the big time with 'Vaya'
"Strangely I have never experience anything like that myself. But I have heard a lot of stories," starlet Zimkhitha Nyoka confesses.
Although she has never experienced it herself, the 25-year-old ingénue strongly condemns the overwhelming number of sexual harassment and assault cases that have recently emerged in the entertainment industry.
Triggered by disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, prolific women from Angelina Jolie to Ndileka Mandela and Nokuthula Ledwaba have come forward about their own personal experiences as they rally against sexual abuse.
In a pivotal scene in the new Akin Omotoso-directed film Vaya – hitting theatres nationwide today – Nyoka's character falls prey to a casting couch tactic.
"When I came into the industry I was warned about it by a lot of colleagues. Maybe because I was blessed with such people I never encountered it. Coming into the industry I was very protected," she says.
"I remember Norman Maake, my director of my breakout role in Mutual Friends; he protected me so much because I was so young. Every crew member that would talk to me, he needed to know what we were talking about because he needed to make sure that I wasn't uncomfortable. So I have been blessed in that sense."
Aside from her appearance in Vaya, the Eastern Cape-born actress is renowned for her roles in Gold Diggers, Mutual Friends and Isithembiso.
Nyoka filmed Vaya in November 2015 and didn't have much time to prepare for her role as she was cast just a few dates before the movie started shooting.
"I'm super excited that South Africans are finally going to see the film. It's been so long and we have been waiting in anticipation," she shares.
"I'm also very nervous because people have expectations. But we have been getting lovely reviews.
"I didn't have a lot of time to conduct the traditional research, which I think was amazing for the character. Everything just happened organically."
Vaya goes on general release on 27 October 2017.