‘Viewers will enjoy knowing Mandoza outside fame’

As TV lovers wait in anticipation to see how the late icon Mandoza rose to stardom in BET’s new biopic Nkalakatha: The Life of Mandoza, actor Lorraine Moropa says viewers will enjoy getting to know him outside of his superstardom.

“They (viewers) will enjoy getting to him because even I, who only knew a glimpse of him, got to learn the type of a person that he was apart from being a superstar. I got to learn the fact that he’s human and has his own flaws because public figures are always portrayed as perfect. He’s very relatable more than anything,” Moropa, who plays Mandoza’s wife Mpho Tshabalala, said.

Lorraine Moropa

The actor described Mpho as a woman that was an anchor and glue in Mandoza’s life and said she looked forward to bringing the character to life because, unlike her previous fictional characters, this one was a character of a person who still exists.

“What was also great for me was getting to tell a love story that was real and trying to represent it as honestly as I could,” she said.

To prepare for the role, Moropa revealed that she spent a lot of time with Mpho.

“We got time to do research before shooting the production, so before shooting we were granted time to visit Soweto and get to meet Thembinkosi’s (Mandoza) friends and families as well.

I also got to spend a lot of time with Mpho and she’s been an open book. Her phone was always on and I’d always call any time, even at 3am, to ensure that the events were correct,” she shared.

Although the former The Queen actor found it fun to play a real character, she said playing fictional characters gives thespians a good balance.

“Sometimes as actors, we get lazy, especially in telenovelas. You start playing yourself because you’re there from Monday to Friday, so you get lazy.

So, I feel like with playing a real character, you find ways to be honest because there’s someone to dispute the character,” she explained.

Moropa said telling Mpho’s story is important because she is the woman who centred the late musician.

On why Mandoza’s story was chosen to be documented by the production, Paramount Africa’s general manager and BET international peer lead, Monde Twala, said that it was simply because he was an icon.

“He’s the original nkalakatha and his legacy and story are inspiring. It’s a story of a young man growing up in Soweto and aspiring to take on the world.

His life was full of ups and downs but the beauty about his story is that he made a decision to change his path and take control of his life. That’s a narrative that is still able to inspire,” he said. — Sowetan

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