I’ve followed Sthandiwe Kgoroge’s career with great admiration since her twin role as Zinzi and Zoleka Mudau on SABC1’s "Generations" since 1999.
Like a fine wine, she’s matured beautifully with full-bodied performances in television shows as well as feature films.
Given her wealth of experience in most facets of the industry, Kgoroge, who is arguably one of SA’s finest actresses, understands the intricacies of character nuances and how it contributes to the overall storytelling process.
As such, she delivers a performance with unmistakable gravitas, time and time again.
Her latest role as Thandeka Hlongwane in SABC2’s telenovela, "Lithapo", is no different.
On being a part of the project, she shared: “’Lithapo’ is an SABC2 drama that I auditioned for with blood and sweat…lol. It’s a story of love, greed, secrets and, literally, a mother’s love from beyond the grave.”
The Sesotho telenovela follows the journey of a young man named Nolo from QwaQwa, who struggles to survive in the unforgiving township world. Then he falls in love with Pabi, who comes from the affluent suburbs. Their love story is fraught with secrets, family disapproval and lies.
Thandeka enjoys the lifestyle provided by her husband, Senzo. She’s power-hungry and dangerously resourceful in ensuring her son takes over the family business. Her daughter is a bit of a thorn in her side.
Worlds collide in this telenovela, where materialism and ambition are masterfully woven into the storytelling fabric.
Expanding on her character, Kgoroge added: “Thandeka is a conflicted woman, living her life trying to control the uncontrollable and sitting on secrets from her youth.
I’m enjoying this character so much because I’ve never been stretched like this as an actress, my characters in the past have been relatively likeable.
I’ve never judged any of my characters’ choices but I can’t help but judge Thandeka, who would watch people suffer as long as she and her family are okay, she couldn’t be bothered.”
When asked about her impressive small-screen work, especially with Mzansi Magic’s "Impilo: The Scam", in the past several months, the veteran actress commented: “Thank you for that compliment. Last year, I played a struggling single mom, who lived in Alex.
Life had been unkind to her but her spirit to triumph had not been affected, this character was also a stretch.
I had to let go of all vanities and comfort zones that come with the industry, no makeup, no fancy clothes but because our vocation calls for that disciple of never personalizing, I dived right in.
My job is to tell my character’s authentic story, where a hint of lipstick is untrue to the character who can’t even afford roll on. I love exploring different lives, which acting has afforded me. Thandeka is a very rich and affluent woman, at least I get a taste of the fine life through her!”
While viewers enjoy the show on TV, the lockdown due to Covid-19 has seen all productions grind to a halt, impacting on the entire entertainment industry.
She admitted: “It’s hard, I won’t lie, no two days are the same but I’m constantly creating and I’m using this time to do that. I’m writing, I’m revisiting my creative concepts, I’m spending more time in prayer, cooking for the family more and basically trying to shift my thinking as the world shifts too.”
Kgoroge added: “I’m encouraged by the fact that this is a global experience, we’re all going through this together.
My prayer is for the poor in our communities, who don’t have the privilege of playing around with different recipes or helping kids with the online schooling during this lockdown; who day in day out are concerned with survival and where the next meal will come from.
I pray and encourage us all to try our best to give to those that have less, it can be linking up with the various organisations and sending money for groceries, or by finding out who’s doing what and how we can help.
The best thing we can do for each other is to stay home and abide by the WHO and Department of Health regulations so we can get through this scary time sooner rather than later and alive.”
"Lithapo" airs on SABC2 from Monday to Wednesday at 9.30pm.