Highs and lows of Ndebele series ‘KoMkhulu’

By Emily Mgidi

Sipho Mbele has been in the entertainment industry since the age of 20 and we’re still going to see a lot more of him.

In an interview with Scrolla.Africa, the actor, producer, author, musician, voice-over artist, motivational speaker and former radio personality discussed the ups and downs he encountered while working on the inaugural Ndebele series, KoMkhulu.

KoMkhulu debuted on 9 April this year and viewers are hooked on its power struggles. The show’s suspenseful plot and the careful selection of cast members lent credence to its uniqueness.

But unfortunately the last episode will be airing this Sunday. 

Mbele plays Hlangabeza, an elder kwaMbonani. He said he was bothered by rumours that he was headhunted and got this role without auditioning. 

“I auditioned and waited to hear like everyone else,” he said. Mbele said he went to Johannesburg on 12 January for auditions and he was told that he’d be called back. 

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The 53-year-old said he finally received that call from Rhythm World just after shooting Nikiwe, a new drama series on e.tv. 

“I was so excited. I actually asked the lady to please hang up and call me again,” he said. 

She told him that he needed to come for a script reading and sign a contract. “She said we would start shooting the following week for eight weeks. I couldn’t be happier.” 

He said he’s always insisted on acting in isiNdebele and shooting KoMkhulu brought him joy. 

“We had cultural experts to guide us and the whole production did everything to ensure that we do an exceptional job,” said Mbele. 

He said the show was shot in KwaNdebele and everything was authentic. 

Mbele said an unfortunate turn of events was when their camera operator was involved in a car accident towards the end of shooting.

“He’s okay but it certainly took a toll on all of us,” he said. 

He said there is a lot of new talent and because he’s been in the industry for a while, he tried to teach new actors how to handle some of their roles. 

“The feedback we’ve been receiving from Mzansi is overwhelming,” he said. 

He said he was happy to work with some of the people who’ve been doing wonders in the entertainment industry like Johannes Mandla Mnguni who plays Chief Masoso Mbonani, Bongi Mtsweni as Sayina Mbonani, James Sithole as Karisa, and others. 

Ndebele royal Prince Magodongo would sometimes come and visit them on set. 

Mbele said he is in a relationship and would like to keep that part of his life private for now. 

“My daughters are making me proud right now. One is a graphic designer, another one does catering for production, and one is at medical school at Wits,” he said.

He’s currently shooting Isistha which will soon air on e.tv. 

Pictured above: Sipho Mbele

Image source: Supplied

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