'I'm pretty much a granny's girl'- Nomzamo

17 December 2013 - 15:04

AT the beginning of the year, the name Nomzamo Mbatha would have elicited blank stares from people.

Fast-forward to now and she is one of the most talked-about actresses in Mzansi, with a Drum Darlings Rising Star Award and Hot Chick of the Year Feather award to her name.

And it's all thanks to her spellbinding portrayal of Thandeka Zungu, the educated rural girl on the Mzansi Magic telenovela Isibaya.

When we meet, she is looking flawless and jovial despite the pouring Joburg rain.

We get straight into our conversation and she tells me that she grew up in KwaMashu, north of Durban.

"I grew up with my uncles and my gran was the head of the house, so I'm pretty much a granny's girl," she says.

Mbatha attended school in Durban and later went to the University of Cape Town to pursue a BCom degree in accounting.

"I was in the final year of my degree when I entered the MTV VJ search and then I decided to move to Joburg because I had figured out what I wanted to do," she says.

While her parents were initially not impressed with her change in career choice, they have been supportive of her journey.

"I have always been their prized possession; an A student and very bright, so they expected only the best for me. And my mom really wanted graduation for me. But they have come to terms with it," she says.

Her plan has clearly worked as she is now one of South Africa's most loved and talked-about TV stars.

She features on the SowetanLive Mzansi's Sexiest list and is the face of August in its 2014 calendar.

Though she says she does not plan to be in this industry forever, Mbatha says she is enjoying herself.

Asked how she landed her role on Isibaya, she simply says God is good.

"I was in the top five of the MTV VJ search and I got a call from someone at Bomb Productions saying they had seen me and they were interested. And that's really how it came about."

Isibaya is her first acting job and she says she is enjoying every minute of it, even if the behind-the-scenes work is gruelling.

"We get our scripts in English and we have to translate them into isiZulu ourselves, which I think is great because it becomes your own interpretation," she says, unfazed by this mammoth task that's a job on its own.

The intense public interest she has generated in just a few months hasn't taken away her small-town authenticity.

"I still have the same friends, I still do the same things I did before. I consider myself socially awkward, so I prefer being at home in my own space," she laughs.

Mbatha describes herself as a workaholic who wants to do more in future.

"I admire Beyoncé so much because of her work ethic. I'm convinced that she doesn't sleep and I want to work just as hard."

With the recent wrap of Isibaya, Mbatha doesn't know what her next project will be. But she's taking this in her stride, too.

"Whatever is next, God has wrapped it up and it's patiently waiting for me."


  • She is a middle child - she has five brothers and two sisters. One of her sisters has died.
  • She is not a big fan of makeup. She is happy with simple foundation, eyeliner and mascara.
  • She uses Cetaphil facial cleanser, which she says Pharrell uses (and might be his fountain of youth).
  • She didn't study isiZulu at school
  • She is very private and prefers to keep to herself.
  • Her worst habit is that she burps a lot, which she finds disgusting.
  • Her favourite meal is uPhuthu, cabbage and mince.