Thato Dithebe ready to tackle his new character on Champions
Actor wants to be hailed for his acting and not his charming good looks
Having first been introduced to the masses as a bubbly eight-year-old YoTV presenter, Thato Dithebe’s career is finally kicking off.
Dithebe initially weaved his way into the entertainment industry 15 years ago by securing commercial gigs and bagging cameo roles on shows such as Soul Buddyz and Rhythm City.
Now 23, Dithebe has managed to make his mark in the entertainment industry with his first-ever big role as Neo on eTV’s House of Zwide. With this feat, the budding actor hopes to solidify his name even more with his new role as Lebogang on Mzansi Magic’s much-anticipated soccer-inspired drama series, Champions, which premieres tonight at 7pm.
“I’m often mistaken to be from Pretoria, maybe because of Neo, the character I play on House of Zwide, that people feel that I’m from the capital city,” said the actor from Mogale City, Krugersdorp in the West Rand.
“My second role on Champions, Lebogang Serite, is also from Pretoria and because I’m always in character, I guess it makes it easy to pull off a convincing persona.
“I never find any offence in people’s assumptions, in fact, I see it as a compliment that I’m that good. In the same breath, I’m proud to be from Krugersdorp – although we speak pure Sotho, it is always nice to be able to dabble in the colourful Pretorian lingo. It also helps that when I was younger, I’d frequently visit my relatives from there, which shaped my ability to annunciate some of the words and terms with ease.”
Dithebe is set to take on the complex role of a football player who wants nothing but to make it in life and become a star – something the soon-to-be civil engineer graduate hopes to achieve in his real life.
He is set to act alongside a star-studded cast, which includes veteran actors Sello Maake ka-Ncube, Tumisho Masha, Kgomotso Christopher and Jo-anne Reyneke.
The show also features in-demand actors Kwenzo Ngcobo and Thembinkosi Mthembu as well as breakout stars Rethabile Mohapi and Minkie Malatji.
“I spent a lot of my younger years in acting and presenting, so it was something I knew I wanted to pursue growing up, however, my mother had other plans,” he explained.
“When I got to high school, I wanted to do drama but my mom thought otherwise. She wanted me to do Physics and Biology and to stay focused at school but somehow I found myself in school plays... acting.
“Once I got to varsity, I took an interest in acting on shows on Mzansi Bioskop. Everything that I did built momentum until I found myself being cast for my first ever big role on House of Zwide in April 2022.”
As a bona fide creative, the 23-year-old not only honed his skills as an actor and presenter but in high school, he developed a passion for dancing and participated in various events and competitions.
“One thing about television is that from afar you think that ‘Ahh, this is easy!’ until you have to give life into your lines – that was one of my toughest challenges,” he said.
“Because I am surrounded by great actors, I had no choice but to up my game and give the same respect to the craft.”
As he continues to amass great success and is considered one of the South African heartthrobs on the rise, Dithebe wants to be hailed for his acting and not his charming good looks. He also revealed that he’s a proud bachelor who is more focused on mastering his craft and leaving a lasting legacy as “one of the best actors of my time”.
“I’ve been on TV since I was young, so fame is not a shock to me. The way I’ve dealt with it [then], is the same I plan to deal with it should I reach superstardom,” he said.
“I also want people to commend me for my acting... nothing more. I hope to one day act alongside Moshidi Motshegwa – that woman is the epitome of great actors we have in SA.”
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