Editor: Felicia Naiwa Sithebe, Writer: Phindile Mngadi, Photographer: Katlego Mokubyane, Creative Direction: Modise Motaung and Lihle Ngubo, Makeup: Phumzile Mhlongo, Hair: TumeloMj’s Afroboutique Production Team: John-Otto Phike, Karabo Mokoena, Rainy Nthangeni and Tshepo Marema
Moments that bring about change play on all of your senses. You don’t know it when it happens, but when you sit back quietly and reflect, you are sure to realize the Blessing and Beauty of Change. Such a moment is June 16, it will forever echo in our history books. Each year, may we continue to lift the sacrifices made on this day and find solace. The youth then lived by the power of unity, bravery and love for their people. Their stance defied laws that were set to tarnish who we are as Africans in South Africa, taking away the most basic of human rights in one’s land.
Forty-Seven years later, it is for us to look forward to the present youth and find what’s “NEXT”… Our mandate for this feature is clear; find youth that are on the track for industry change. The new wave of Actors displaying characteristics to dominate, challenge and drive new age commentary in our Acting landscape.
As with any feature, we searched and found four Actors within the youth bracket that are gaining momentum as THE NEXT generation of futuristic Actors to carry our stories and compete on global platforms. They have so much to offer, and just like the youth of 1976, they will not go unnoticed. They are young, black and innovative. THE NEXT! are Aphiwe Mkefe, Chioma Umeala, Siya Xaba and Luyanda Zwane.
It’s shoot day! It’s chilly outside but heart-warm inside. In the studio everyone gravitates towards a huge gas heater in the centre with an all-around buzz of excitement. The soldiers at work put up the lights, camera, set, props, hair and make-up, craft to fill our bellies and everyone is ready for this day. The actors arrive one by one greeted by their cap size names printed on the door… this is it, they carry readiness and zeal. First, the briefing and intros are out of the way then all talent and crew are put in place, working towards the first snap. There’s smoke in the air, music blasting to enhance the mood of the day and the camera clicking to capture each moment, a true reflection and a celebration of how far we have come and where we are going.
Whilst each actor gets their shots taken, we take moments aside to get to know them better, who they are and how they see themselves in the entertainment industry. Each question sparked a broader conversation. They were ready to tell their stories. Listening to these young actors talk about their lives and journey in the entertainment industry felt like watching a poetic performance. They are inspirational, fresh and ready to give it all. To be young and ready to thrive.
As we near the remaining snaps, the last bit of contained emotions erupt, that feeling of standing on top of a mountain after a long beautiful hike and you exhale reflecting on the rough trails and beautiful flora and fauna… Here we are at this moment, look, look at The NEXT, what is their offering and how do we merge it with what our legends have started and maintained… Are you ready?
My aunt worked at SABC. She was also a journalist for The Sunday Times and Sowetan. During the holidays, I would always visit my aunt in Johannesburg and she would take me to work with her. I always thought that was weird like I’m on holiday, why am I going to work with you? but the cool thing was, and I’m so sad that it doesn’t happen anymore, back in the day, SABC used to have tours at the SABC Studio while everything was operating. They would take you everywhere and show you everything. So every holiday, I used to get so excited to go on those tours. What did I get to see? The most amazing things as a ten-year-old! Television shooting live, I saw the set of Generations. I went to the studios. I saw Jam Alley. — READ MORE
I’m South African-Nigerian. My mum is Xhosa, and dad is Nigerian, specifically Igbo, which is where my name comes from. Chioma is an Igbo name, Chi means God and Oma means beautiful or amazing, meaning my name is Amazing God. I was born and raised in Jo’burg. As much as Jo’burg is my home, I do feel influenced by both my parent’s cultures. We went to Nigeria for every holiday that we could, and during the Easter holidays, we would go to the Eastern Cape to my mum’s home in Nqamashe Dudumashe. I feel like I’m a blend of both worlds and I don’t feel like I’m half of any. I feel like I’m full of both. — READ MORE
I’m a forever-evolving young man. I’m still trying to figure out life just as a man and an artist, but I would say the one thing that’s exciting me right now is that I’m in the phase of learning. Every day feels like a new day, and I feel like I’m learning something new, which I hope can continue for the rest of my life. I’m just a young twenty-four-year-old man at this point in life who likes to mess around with cameras and bring different characters to life. like to play make-believe and through that, I tend to learn a lot about life. I’m a boy that loves his mom and grandmother. They must know, or else I will get in trouble. As you said, I am trying to make my life as much of a movie as possible. — READ MORE
I always describe myself as a spirit in a box. I’m a spiritual person in this vessel of umzimba that carries us so that we can live out our purposes and have a human experience. I come from Durban, KwaZulu Natal eMlazi, The West Side. I’m a determined person. Also, I work very hard and believe I operate on purpose as a human being. I don’t just do things willy-nilly or just because I feel like doing them. I do them because I feel like they will have an impact and they will confirm who I am and my purpose and what I want to do in this life. My purpose is to make people believe that in life nothing is impossible. — READ MORE