Hlubi bagged the “Best Supporting Actress in a Film” award for her role in ‘Dorah’s Peace’, at the recent SAFTAs (South African Film and Television Awards), reaffirming her status in the acting industry.
By: Blacklight writer
Main image: Supplied
When Hlubi won at the recent SAFTAs, she proved that she was still one of the prized treasures in acting, after years of disappearing off the radar.
Hlubi shot to fame with her major role on primetime television, as the HIV-positive character, Nandipha Matabane, on Isidingo. After leaving the soapie, she became less frequent on TV, appearing more in local films, such as iNumber Number, How to Steal 2 Million and Avenged.
But it’s her role in Dorah’s Peace that has successfully pushed her back into the limelight. In the film, which was shot in Hillbrow, Hlubi plays a frantic drug addict alongside Khabonina Qubheka.
Apart from acting, Hlubi also hosts a show on Cliff Central, Future CEO’s, every Thursday (13h00 – 14h00).
Blacklight caught up with the ever-electric actress at Cliff Central Studios, to chat about her ups and downs as an actress and her new career venture.
Blacklight: Your speech at the SAFTAs was cut short and so I would like to give you the opportunity to finish it.
Hlubi: I would like to thank my director, Kosta Kalarytis. He is such a generous director. He gives you the space to freely express yourself as an artist without any inhibitions. I also want to thank the scriptwriter for creating a role that allowed me to give an impactful performance. But most of all, I want to show gratitude to my husband because what we do is complete madness. It’s always on the extreme of either being employed or unemployed and everyone who supports us also goes through that with us.
BL: What was the first thing that came into mind when they announced your name?
H: Bendothukile (I was shocked) because andiqhelanga (It’s unfamiliar to me). It was just a mixture of surprise, confusion and joy. I believe the win was not just for me, it was for all of us women, working or trying to break into the industry.
BL: How would you like to use this achievement?
H: I want to use this moment to empower girls like myself. I want us to learn to empower ourselves. Gone are those days when we die poor and our fans are paying for our funerals. We have to be businesswomen and learn to be financially savvy about our art. Also, as people who have been in the industry for a long time, we have to be honest about our industry so that young actors can know and prepare themselves.
Coming into the industry I was also quite naïve because I didn’t know better. I blew the money from Isidingo because I thought the opportunity was forever. I was lucky because I still managed to have other opportunities after the role ended, but others are not so lucky. This is why we have to talk about these experiences so that our kids don’t repeat them.
BL: As someone who has had so many challenges in the industry, what do you say to aspiring actors?
H: If you were born for it, then do it. But it’s not going to be easy. I have cried a lot of tears in this industry.
People need to understand that this is a business. It is a blessing, a privilege and a luxury to be a working actor, anywhere in the world. They must learn to embrace their role in the industry, and respect and treat their crew with dignity because without them there is no production. This is a very small industry and so one has to play their cards right.
BL: Can you tell us about your show, Futures CEO’s, on Cliff central?
H: I am the executive director of an NGO called Future CEOs, and the show is an extension of that. The programme is about inspiring people to be social entrepreneurs because there is a need for that. I believe that we need businesses that not only contribute economically but also contribute to our society. It’s also about disrupting the systematic control in corporate SA that is making it hard for people to reach their full potential. We have to learn to create our own legacy.
BL: What inspired you to switch lanes and go the broadcasting route?
H: I have learned that as black women in this industry, we have to diversify. You can’t just rely on one source of income, you have to create other avenues where you can also upskill yourself. In the professional world, school is never out; you must always learn new things.
BL: What’s next for you now?
H: I have an incredible work ethic and so I want to work more. Asizanga’zokudlala apha eJo’burg, we are here to work. I want to keep growing and learning new things in the industry. I am also very big on mentorship so I would love to help young people get the opportunities that I have had.