Confidence not conceit defines Zindela

Edward Tsumele

Edward Tsumele

TV presenter, poet, actor and recording company co-owner Bongani Zindela is a distinctively fast talker.

He also talks with an assertiveness that borders on the arrogance when he speaks about his artistic exploits. For example, when we met at a Melville restaurant, he was intensely involved in a robust debate with a fellow diner. However, it was during this interview that his other side emerged.

He might speak with his voice raised and quite firmly, but that is how he speaks, probably a habit he picked up as a stage actor.

Zindela has acted and presented a number of TV shows, including Mzansi where he played a Zulu man from a strong traditional background.

He has also been on Soul City. But it is as presenter of the show Grab that Zindela became big on local television. He now co-presents Shift on SABC1 on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

He had this to say about Shift: "This show is designed to shift people's mindsets. We work with experts on social issues as well as help people unlock their potential. It is interactive with callers. It empowers people who do not have information about, say business opportunities in the entertainment sector."

Though he now has a firm grip on his career, Zindela is the first to admit that things have not always been easy.

"I was recruited to present Grab when the producers of the show saw me in a play at the Wits Theatre. Coming from a physical theatre background, they must have liked what they saw because they invited me to present the show, which I worked for from 1992 to 1996.

"Then there was a lull in my career as I had a hard time after that. However, my philosophy is that it is important to fall and feel the impact of the fall so that next time you fight hard so that you do not fall again," he said.

Zindela has broadened his business and artistic horizons by being involved in a recording label with musician Vusi "Veekay" Kunene.

The company, Better Life Records, has already signed two artists. Its philosophy is that signed-up artists must also learn business skills.

"The whole idea is to try and make sure that musicians do not become cash cows for the recording company. They also need to be empowered as well," Zindela said.

About his perceived arrogance, Zindela says that comes from acting as well as writing and reciting his poetry at political rallies.

"It is confidence and nothing else," he said.