Tell us a bit about Mbali Ngwenya?
Well, uMbali ka Ngwenya is this hardworking, ambitious, opinionated and amazing woman who was born in Orlando East and later moved to Pretoria to pursue an education in the arts. I love the outdoors and nature and I’m a free spirited person who loves laughing and usually speak my mind. I have very stern believes and not easily persuaded and I’m a student of life, always learning.
At which point did you discover your love for acting?
I always knew that I was going to be in the entertainment industry one way or the other. When I was six years old I told my mom that I wanted to be a singer, I joined the school choir, and it’s funny how the first thing I asked about when I enrolled at St Enda’s Secondary School was their club. Luckily, St Enda’s had wonderful extra curriculum facilities. The schools drama activities were at an actual theatre which is where I would say I got my basic training.
Please tell us about your acting background.
I started acting at the age of eight in Primary school, that progressed in high school where for a show called “Flat 309”, we won the best community theatre play at a high school drama festival. In 2012 I attended workshops at the State Theatre where I worked on a few plays; “Interracial” written by Paul Mpumelelo Grootboom and was directed by Tshepo Samuel Ratona, in 2013 I worked with Ayanda Sithebe, in a play called “Expelled From Life”. That year was big for me because I got to work with Paul Grootboom twice, in Uncle Vanya and toured France with Relativity. I enrolled at the Tshwane University of Technology where I am currently studying for my Btech. I have been working with Zimkhitha Kumbaca in her Satire “She Bellows” which is set to season at the Soweto Theatre in August, so that should be amazing.
Tell us about your debut TV role as Merci on Etv’s Heist?
The role of Merci was a dream come true, not a lot of people can say that their breakout role was a lead in a hit series but that’s what happened to me and it has been the highlight of my career. I enjoyed playing Merci, she is a feisty, hot hearted and straight talking girl who loves living on the edge, she has learned to fend for herself and because of this she trusts no one and usually does her own thing but like all human beings she longs for love and companionship but in a world of thieves she understands that love is not on the table.
How was it working alongside established actors?
At first it was a daunting experience because these are really established actors especially on screen but I held the bull by the horns and held my own. I was very fortunate that I was working with people who were patient, understanding and the chemistry between all of us was amazing and this translated on screen. It was always fun going to work so much so that if I wasn’t shooting I would pop by just to be around the space, I have learned a lot from them and I hope to work with them in the future. It was one of the best moments of my life and it’s an experience I’ll forever treasure.
Rolie Nikiwe was the director on Heist, how was it working with such an acclaimed director?
Rolie is amazing in all forms. He is an incredible director, honestly. He created an environment where actors could play and feed off each other. There was so much room to explore with our characters and moments. He understands actors and he gave me freedom to try out different ways of approaching my character, and that’s all an actor needs to fully understand the character, freedom. There was never a moment where I felt like I was inexperienced or out of play and it’s because of Rolie, he is an approachable director who is easy to talk to and loves laughing which eases an actor’s anxiety.
Where do you see Mbali in 5 years?
I see myself dominating the screens, soapies, series’ and making movies. That’s my ultimate goal, to make at movie a year and not necessarily in Hollywood but here at home. We are living in at time were opportunities are everywhere and we need to cease them. I see myself, touring with a show that’s really close to my heart, She bellows, I see it touring theatres all over the world and with the upcoming season it can only get better.