Sindi Dlathu having the time of her life

Seasoned actress Sindi Dlathu stars in new telenovela 'The River'. / Photos / Supplied
Seasoned actress Sindi Dlathu stars in new telenovela 'The River'. / Photos / Supplied

Playing a cold-hearted killer, that's the new exciting chapter in actress Sindi Dlathu's career.

After playing damsel-in-distress and matriarch Thandaza Mokoena on SABC2 soapie Muvhango for 20 years, Dlathu is shedding her good-girl persona with a complex villainous role in new telenovela The River.

The 43-year-old actress has been sinking her teeth into her role as mining magnate Lindiwe. Married to actor Hlomla Dandala's character Zweli, the glossy soap opera about the rich and fabulous will premiere on January 29.

The show will launch new channel 1Magic - DStv Channel 103 for Premium customers - as Vuzu Amp becomes a thing of the past.

Dlathu and Dandala are not the only powerhouse names on the show - Moshidi Motshegwa and Don Mlangeni Nawa will make their much-awaited TV comebacks.

"She [Lindiwe] is totally different from Thandaza, which is what I have been craving for a while. I think I had done all that I could do with Thandaza and I was just looking for a challenge," Dlathu said. "Lindiwe is 180-degrees different from Thandaza. You do not threaten her livelihood or family. She comes back hard. I'm having the time of my life.

"We have been shooting now for a couple of weeks and it's going really well, but challenging at the same time. It's a different character, but I'm a theatre thespian. I have been playing different roles on stage even when I was on Muvhango."

Dlathu admits that she was head-hunted before she decided to bid Muvhango farewell, but stresses that ultimately her decision came down to the fact that the role had become tedious.

"All the stories inMuvhango were powerful, the magic realism of the show and the fact that the show spoke to everyone in the country was amazing," she said.

"I miss my colleagues on Muvhango. I was head-hunted, but I feel like everything happened at the right time.

"2017 has been a rewarding and fulfilling year for me. I went through a lot of changes, it was scary but I think it was just God's timing."

Don Mlangeni Nawa, Moshidi Motshegwa, Hlomla Dandala, Sindi Dlathu, Lawrence Maleka and Larona Moagi spearhead star-studded show 'The River'.
Don Mlangeni Nawa, Moshidi Motshegwa, Hlomla Dandala, Sindi Dlathu, Lawrence Maleka and Larona Moagi spearhead star-studded show 'The River'.

Next year, Dlathu celebrates her 30th anniversary in the entertainment industry. When Time Out pointed out to her that, alongside Connie Ferguson, she is the biggest female TV star in the country, she quickly laughed it off.

"I have never thought that I'm one of the biggest stars in South Africa. I have just given it my all over the years," she said.

"You know when you are passionate about something? You do it in your sleep. Hard work pays off.

"We work 15-hour days and the only time you get a break is during a 45-minute lunch. Then you have to start preparing for the next scene. You are also playing with emotion and the brain doesn't know that, so it's exhausting."

Her first acting gig was in 1988 in the stage version of Sarafina!. In 1993 she scored her breakout TV role alongside the late Joe Mafela in comedy drama Khululeka.

"Over the years, I have learned that we are not in America. We don't get paid per episode," she said.

"You should remain humble and come into the industry because you are passionate about telling stories. It's a job like any other, be chilled."

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