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FILM ASSOCIATION’S EFFORTS CRIPPLED

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MBABANE – Eswatini Arts and Film Association has mentioned how they have been working tirelessly to aid local actors in their pursuit to explore their talent.

In this they have hit a brick wall when it comes to getting a platform for artists to showcase their craft, as no TV station is willing to give local talent a chance. This was revealed by Eswatini Arts and Film Association PRO Zakhele Mabuza, who was applauding the actors from Eswatini who had bagged roles in neighbouring South Africa. With a resolute spirit, the association highlighted that they celebrated the success of their actors who have found refuge on South African TV screens, a testament to their tenacity and refusal to give up as there are over 10 actors there. These local acts are not only just bagging any roles but are doing the most in soapies with huge followings, following in the footsteps of Amanda Du-Pont and Nomzamo ‘Zaza’ Dlamini. The soapies that local actors have been featured on include Generations, Isitha, Skeem Saam, Scandal among others and now some are also being featured on Netflix series.

Growth

According to Zakhele Mabuza, the association takes great pride in the achievements of these actors. Mabuza believes that their presence on international screens signifies personal growth and development, as their own national television station fails to recognise their potential and provide them with the opportunity to showcase their craft. The lure of better financial remuneration outside Eswatini is one of the key reasons why these talented individuals seek solace across the border. “The large number of emaSwati actors in SA is actually a sign of their own personal growth and development as our own national television stations do not recognise their own and they do not give them the opportunity to showcase their craft. The monetary benefits that they get paid for their roles  are also small,” said Mabuza.

Undoubtedly, Mabuza affirms that if given the chance, these actors would shine even brighter locally. With a local audience watching their performances, the connection would be stronger, allowing viewers to relate to the characters and scenes portrayed on screen. The association envisions a future where Eswatini’s own television industry thrives, boasting a repertoire that captivates and resonates with its people. However, the association understands that their efforts cannot solely rely on actors finding opportunities abroad.

Collaboration

They are actively working towards opening more doors for local talent within their own borders. Recently, the association made a significant stride by journeying to Durban, a city renowned for its film and television industry, to explore avenues for collaboration and exposure for Eswatini’s creative talent. It was also highlighted that the association currently ventures into rural areas, engaging artists through art centres, where they have encountered impressive works by aspiring producers. However, a recurring concern persists - the lack of interest from local TV stations to provide airplay for these productions. As a result, the creativity and efforts of these talented individuals remain confined to the depths of their computers, yearning for the recognition and exposure they deserve. A few of the locals actors who have had screen time in South Africa:

Hloniphile Sihlongonyane – has also made an appearance on SABC 1 Daily Thetha after getting an acting role on Isitha and Shaka iLembe. During a previous interview with this publication, Sihlongonyane once shared that she was happy to have been recognised as one of the guests during the show. “I was very happy for them to invite me as their guest, this means a lot to me as well as to my acting career,” she said.

Luyanda Mbingo – is also currently starring on Generations the Legacy as a security guard.

Sithembiso Kunene – is a versatile young man that has been featured in a number of projects including adverts and some appearances on soapies. Recently Sthera has been entertaining people with his hilarious TikTok videos.

Sebenta Mhlanga – has worked with TV programmes and several plays including Isitha has emphasised that in the SA film industry they need emaSwati who will fluently speak the siSwati that was spoken a long time ago.

Xolile Shiba from Lavumisa has been featured on a number of projects too namely The Queen, Isibaya and Scandal.

Gcebile Dlamini is an ambitious liSwati who has been bagging different roles in the SA film industry because of her authentic and pure siSwati.

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