5 minutes with Gugu Gumede

Image: Steve Tanchel/ Red Hot Ops

She’s undoubtedly one of the breakout stars of the year,and Gugu Gumede radiates the glow that has surrounded her in 2018. At just 27 years old, Gumede is one of the most-watched actresses on South African television as part of the hit show, Uzalo. The American Academy of Dramatic Arts alumnus credits her success to God, stating“when He is for you, no man can be against you.

1. What has been your highlight of 2018?

It was seeing my faith bear fruit. Last year was challenging on all fronts, and I came into 2018 not just hopeful, but very sure that God was going to show up for me — and He did. I saw my career take proper shape as my character grew, and we had an amazing story line that led to a wedding, which then led to that particular episode breaking records in South African television. I finally learnt that it is okay to put myself first,and I did (this is why I dubbed 2018 “The Year of “Me”).I travelled. I laughed. I cried, then laughed again. I grew.Needless to say, it has been a good year.

2. What has been your biggest lesson? 

I used to be the queen of feeling sorry for myself whenever bad things happened, but I recently learnt to count my blessings. It sounds clichéd, but it really has been working for me. I also learnt that not everyone is rooting for you — and they do not need to.As long as you have God and your family, you’re good. So I stopped waiting for the approval of people who didn’t matter, and I did what I had to do.

3. Describe your perfect celebration.

It would be a meal with my family and close friends over an exquisitely set table, beautiful music in the background, and amazing food from Siba Mtongana. It would begin and end in prayer led by my pastor, as well as speeches from everyone. Barack and Michelle Obama would say something as well, obviously. Then I would get Denzel Washington, Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Viola Davis,and Angela Basset to perform a little piece, and then talk about the art of acting (swoon). I would have one special dance with my mother, and end by inviting everyone else to the dance floor and I would scream: “You get a car,you get a car, everybody gets a car!”

4. If you could know the absolute truth to one question, what would it be?

What is the magic that black people possess that has caused us to be the oppressed race all over the world for centuries?

5. What’s the most interesting thing you have done this year?

I met up in New York with my old friends from university, just to go see a play on Broadway and catch up for a week.

6. What is the one phrase you say the most?

I’ve been told I use the expression “like literally” way too much.

7. What is your hidden talent?

I used to be a really good dancer.

8. What are you grateful for in 2018 and what is your wish for the new year?

I am grateful for life and good health, not just for me but for my family as well.

9. What’s next for Gugu?

Telling great African stories on a global scale. It is my greatest desire.

This article first appeared in print in the Sowetan S Mag December 2018 edition.

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