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Actor and singer-songwriter Dippy Padi follows in her mother’s footsteps

New risqué drama Adulting ‘teaching South Africans to stop being conservative’

Masego Seemela Online journalist
Actor and singer Dippy Padi talks about her mother’s influence in her career.
Actor and singer Dippy Padi talks about her mother’s influence in her career.
Image: Supplied.

Like mother, like daughter (or as Gen Z would call it “nepo baby”), Dippy Padi is walking the same path her mother took in the 1980s.  

The actor and singer-songwriter is getting all the right attention in Showmax’s new risqué drama Adulting. Padi, a National School of the Arts (NSA) alumnus, was first influenced and exposed to showbiz at age four by her mother Ruth Madisemelo Padi, who was a singer and stage actor in Lesotho before she moved to SA. 

Padi’s mother started singing in high school and featured in a few theatre plays. However, her path in the arts was short-lived due to financial constraints, leaving her to opt for a career as an IT technician.  

“I would see my mother perform in front of the mirror and around the house. I would ask myself who she was performing to because there was nobody else in the house beside us. However, I remember being so interested in the passion that she had which made me say to myself that this was something that I also wanted to do,” the 30-year-old starlet recalls. 

“I would then follow what she was doing... she’d take pictures of me posing as if I was an artist. In a way, I’d say that I was driven by my mother.  

“My mother’s first job was a receptionist at the Market Theatre. During her time there she got to rub shoulders with big names in the acting and music industry. She knew all these famous people – her being affiliated with them made me want to venture into the arts even more.”

Image: Supplied.

After NSA, Padi furthered her studies in the creative industry by obtaining a musical performance degree at Africa Film Drama Art (Afda). 

“My first play was in primary school and then after high school, I went to Afda to study drama but funny enough [on campus] people knew me as a dancer because I enjoyed it more. When I graduated, I then started being known as a house singer more than an actor because of all the features I did with renowned house DJs,” she shares.  

From 2011 to 2016, Padi then fully immersed herself in her singing career and became considered as one of the hottest vocalists to feature on house tracks under her other moniker Ms Dippy. 

“The first time I made a song was with UPZ aka Avi Elman. I actually once performed with The Layabouts at Spring Fiesta right after MiCasa performance – this was during MiCasa’s prime – so you can imagine how much of a big deal it was for me to perform right after them,” she remembers.  

“Then somehow Da Capo saw me and said we had to get into the studio and make a song. We then came out with Thando Lwami. That song generated a lot of interest from house DJs such as Lulo Café and Kasango who wanted me to feature as an actor in his music video.  

“I played the role of an alien and because I did such a great job at acting, Mandla N saw me and asked me to audition for a role for a production.”

Padi's acting career fully catapulted, resulting in her acting on television shows such as Single Galz, where she starred in the lead role of Kea.

FACT FILE: DIPPY PADI

Favourite food : Salmon & Parmesan mash from Big Mouth 

Favourite actor : Angela Basset and Zoe Saldana

Favourite TV show: I LOVEEE trash TV and everything reality that comes with drama, mainly from SA so I can’t give a specific one. There’s too many! 

Favourite musician: Lebo Mathosa, Rihanna, Brenda Fassie, Doja Cat.

Favourite song: Doja Cat - Shine 

Favourite emoji - 💫

Favourite movies : Waiting To Exhale, Above the rim, Set it off and Colombiana

There was also How To Ruin Christmas on Netflix as Thando Zungu and Pinky in Muvhango. She’s also acted in soapies Rhythm City, Durban Gen, Isidingo and Isibaya. But it's her jaw-dropping nude scene in episode one of Adulting that has television viewers and social media gasping for air.  

“My first role was acting as Bonang on Ses'Top La and Donovan Goliath portrayed AKA. The show was all about poking fun at people and bringing in the funny. I remember Bonang just laughing at the scene on social media. I really had fun with that role,” she said.  

“Now that I have acted on so many shows, I can safely say my highlight thus far is acting on Adulting. I love the energy we have on set with the cast and how we are treated. I like that the show is teaching South Africans to stop being conservative because of the sex scenes.  

“I believe that we need to break the rules especially when television is concerned... showing nudity and people having sex is a real way and we need to stop being shy about it. I for one am not shy of appearing naked on TV because I am comfortable in my own skin.  

“My aim is to be a role model to younger aspiring actors much like my mother who inspired me. I have always been about making my mother proud with all that I have amassed in my career and I’m glad I did just that.”  

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