'Achievements mean nothing at auditions' - iKhaya star Khomotso Manyaka

Khomotso Manyaka won awards when she was 12.
Khomotso Manyaka won awards when she was 12.

Khomotso Manyaka, 21, was an award-winning child star at 12 years old.

She said it was embarrassing to be rejected at auditions, in spite of her achievements.

She told Sunday World that, after finishing school, she went to auditions for a year and half with no luck before she got the part in iKhaya.

"I would have to tell producers during auditions of my achievements and still they would not call me back."

Manyaka played a leading role in an international feature film, Life,Above All, in 2009. She was only 12 when she won two awards, the Golden Horn award for best feature film actress and a Safta award for best feature film actress.

But, after completing her studies, she struggled to crack it for 18 months - she was turned down at auditions, time and again.

Manyaka said that, at some point, she felt she did not deserve the accolades she received after her role in Life, Above All, and started to question her acting ability.

Finally, she was given the nod by the producers of Mzansi Magic's new drama series, iKhaya, where she plays Zenzile.

She described the character as a problem child who does not get along with her mother.

"She is a typical teenager who is rebellious. She also seeks a sense of belonging in drugs," she said.

Manyaka said she got into acting by chance as she used to just sing in a community choir in Dennilton, Limpopo.

"The manager of the choir invited me to the auditions and from there, for about a year, I went for voice training because my voice was way more squeaky than it is now."

She recalled how much fun she had when she started shooting the movie.

Manyaka said she enjoyed it although she had late nights and early mornings on a daily basis and still had to learn school work. The production company hired a tutor for her as she was unable to attend school like other children.

After the movie, she enrolled at the National School of Arts in Johannesburg and majored in drama.

Manyaka said she wants to own a talent agency that will focus on disadvantaged children one day.