Siyabonga Shibe: People would always ask me why I rode in a taxi

Image: Sibusiso Msibi/Sunday World

Actor Siyabonga Shibe used to ride around in a taxi with his cap over his face and often hidden from view‚ trying to avoid that dreaded and awkward question: "Why are you riding a taxi‚ if you are famous?"

The former Gaz'lam actor told TshisaLIVE that life was rough when he was starting out and a few times he had to hit back at the question with one of his own.

"I remember I was on the taxi once and someone grabbed my hat off my head and said‚ 'I know you! You are on TV‚ why are you riding in a taxi?' I asked her what she did for a living and she told me she was a teacher. I said to her‚ 'then why are you riding a taxi if you are a teacher? People don't really understand that this is a career like everyone else's. It is hard with that pressure."

Like most of us in our careers‚ actors stress about the randelas and often don't feel like they are paid enough.

"I am not paid what I deserve. I am not paid enough. It is because channel needs to pay more to the production houses and then the production house needs to pay actors more. If that happens‚ actors need to deliver and I feel like I have delivered. The problem is the industry at large. We are the gateway to Africa and we need to recognise that."

Siyabonga said that another problem with today's actors are that too many are here for the 'gram and the 'bottles in the club' life.

"It has become all about the flash and the followers and the art has died a bit. If you want to be famous‚ you can be famous but it is more difficult to be talented. The sad part is everyone looks at how many followers you have and not at your talent. When did that become the currency of talent? I only recently got on to social media because as much as I didn't want to‚ it's become the norm."

He said that he's seen too many stars burn out because of the pressures of the industry and even lost friends because he didn't want to join the lituations erupting around him.

"I always try to remember who I am and the sacrifices that it meant. I have seen too many people fall to drugs and alcohol. I have sat at the table with people doing it and I have had to ask myself if this is the route I want to go. Eventually you lose those friends."

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