Actor Spaces | The Next! 2024

Creative Director: Ayanda Sithebe, Producer: Felicia Naiwa Sithebe, Concept and Trainee Creative Director: Tumelo Mogoane, Article by: Karabo Mokoena, Photographer: Katlego Mokubyane, Wardrobe: Rirhandzu Phanga, Makeup Artists: Glenda Mhlongo & Mamello Mokhele, Production Team: Tshepo Marema, Glen Nkuna, Bonolo Maswanganye, Tumelo Mochochoko, Zintle Dingilizwe & Koketso Modisapudi

On June 16, South Africa pauses to commemorate a pivotal moment in its history—the Soweto Uprising of 1976. On this day, thousands of black students took to the streets to protest the oppressive education system of apartheid, demanding better conditions and equal opportunities. This act of bravery and defiance, led primarily by the youth, catalyzed a nationwide movement that significantly contributed to the dismantling of apartheid. June 16 as Youth Day, is a time to honor the courage of those young activists and recognize the power and potential of the nation’s youth. In the spirit of reflection and hope that Youth Day embodies, we turn our spotlight to the emerging young talents in South Africa.

The Next is a segment that celebrates the torchbearers of a new era of storytelling as well as the future icons who promise to redefine the landscape of South African entertainment. Among these rising stars are Among these rising stars are Thabiso Ramotshela, N’kone Mametja, Ayakha Ntunja, Chidera Nwoha and Wonder Ndlovu. Their compelling performances and boundless energy are captivating audiences and carving out a path for future generations of performers.

The rooms at the studio are filled with the optimistic and enthusiastic energy of the team as we await the arrival of the talented Actors. We are all prepared for the greatness that the day is set to bring.

N’kone is the first to walk in, with a big and contagious smile on her face as she gets around to hugging everyone around her. Her excitement is palpable – “a great honor” is what she champions this moment to be. Next in, is Ayakha ever so graceful, looking each of us in our eyes as she greets. She celebrates this as an “absolutely wonderful” moment for her. Enter Thabiso, seemingly ready to just get things started and eager to engage with everyone. A quick glance at him and we can all testify to the “growth” that this moment symbolizes for him as he describes. Chidera walks in with a bounce in his feet, confidence oozing and his smile beaming. This is one of those “life-changing” moments for him. Wonder is the last to grace us with his presence. He smiles as he greets everyone and off to make-up he goes. This moment is “purposeful” for him, he says.

These five actors are “the chosen” not by chance but by impact, courage, voice and stature that places them firmly on the pedestal, highlighting the diverse potential within South Africa’s young generation. We sit down to get to know each Actor in detail and we can’t help but marvel at the resolved brilliance that they each bring with them.

N’kone Mametja: The Versatile Virtuoso

N’kone Mametja image by katlego Mokubyane for Actor Spaces

N’kone Mametja is quickly becoming a household name with her remarkable versatility and depth. Holding a BA degree in Drama and Theatre Arts from the University of the Free State, N’kone began her career towards the end of 2020. Starting as a background actor in the M-Net series Lioness and the e-tv musical drama Rhythm City, she soon showcased her talent in more prominent roles…..READ MORE…

Chidera Nwoha: The Storyteller

Chidera Nwoha image by katlego Mokubyane for Actor Spaces

Chidera Nwoha is a multi-faceted performer whose journey in the performing arts began at the tender age of ten. From those early days, Chidera has graced various theater stages, honing his craft and shaping his dynamic performing streak. His portrayal of Khenzo on MTV Shuga was a pivotal moment in his career, resonating deeply with audiences. The role allowed Chidera to showcase his profound empathy and commitment to truth, qualities that have become hallmarks of his performances…READ MORE…

Thabiso Ramotshela: The Innovator

Thabiso Ramotshela is an actor and model whose impeccable acting skills have won the hearts of South Africans. His portrayal of Morena on The River has garnered him a great supporting network of audience members. This role drew significant attention to his life, prompting questions about his journey before stepping into the limelight. Thabiso currently plays Mahlatsi Maleka on Youngins, an intelligent young man who challenges the status quo and takes his marks far too seriously—far from the stereotypical nerdy pushover…..READ MORE

Ayakha Ntunja: The Trailblazer

Ayakha Ntunja image by katlego Mokubyane for Actor Spaces

From the early stages of Ayakha Ntunja’s life, a deep affinity for the performing arts emerged, setting the stage for an inspiring journey through theater and film. Rooted in her years at the National School of the Arts from 2019 to 2021, Ayakha swiftly ascended with notable achievements, including the FEDA Acting Award in 2019 and the prestigious Best Performer Full Colors award the following year. Her versatility shone in 2020 as she claimed titles in Best Choreographer and Best Dancer, and she extended her impact by taking on the role of Programs Director at the Unspoken Words Theatre Factory, showcasing both leadership and performance prowess…..READ MORE

Wonder Ndlovu: The Rising Star

Wonder Ndlovu image by katlego Mokubyane for Actor Spaces

Wonder Ndlovu is an actor, writer, director, film and theater performer who has achieved remarkable success in a short time. His journey into the performing arts began while studying Art and Culture in primary school, where he fell in love with the craft. This passion led him to enroll at the KwaMashu Community Advancement Project (KCAP), a non-profit community organization dedicated to the development of various types of art in a positive and lively atmosphere. Wonder’s great energy and profound respect for those around him have become some of the defining traits of him as an individual…READ MORE

As we commemorate Youth Day, the stories of N’kone Mametja, Chidera Nwoha, Thabiso Ramotshela, Ayakha Ntunja, and Wonder Ndlovu remind us of the enduring spirit and potential of South Africa’s youth. These actors, through their diverse talents and impactful performances, embody the hope and resilience that define the nation’s future. Their journeys inspire young South Africans to dream big, work hard, and use their talents to make a meaningful impact on society.

In celebrating these rising stars, we also celebrate the collective potential of all young South Africans. Their contributions to the arts are a testament to the country’s rich cultural heritage and the promise of a brighter, more inclusive future. As these young actors continue to break new ground and captivate audiences, they carry forward the legacy of those who fought for freedom and equality, reminding us all that the future of South African entertainment is bright, vibrant, and full of promise.

The Next! 2024 Image by Katlego Mokubyane for Actor Spaces

About author