Born Zola Nombona from Mthata, Eastern Cape. The Wits Graduate believes she will be the one to enter the power circle and make acting the new Engineering. Even with an honors degree in dramatic arts, Nombona thinks acting is a risky and volatile career path.
It is so mind boggling to see how this reality is so different in other countries. In South Africa, it is hard to live on ‘just acting’. One needs to find other avenues of income. So I ask myself, why can’t we just live fruitful and comfortable lives by just acting? Career paths like ‘engineering’ have more ‘stability’. I would like to see acting become a form of engineering. Its time to be globally recognized.
You come from a conservative family background, how did you get consent from your parents to study dramatic arts?
When I started grade10 I had to choose subjects and I chose Dramatic Arts. I had a very lengthy conversation with my father about my subject choice. It was not an easy one. I am blessed with very supportive parents who ended up allowing me to do what I love. The deal with my father was that I would take Pure Maths and Physics as part of my subjects. This was a pain for me because I did not understand why I needded Maths and Science to act. Little did I know that my father was actually helping my acting abilities without him even knowing.
What does the art community look like in your hometown?
The arts community in my hometown is very impoverished. I am hardly home during the year so I cannot comment much as I am not clued up much. From what I know it could be much better, it needs a lot of investment.
If you had to develop an arts program focused on acting in your community in Mthatha what would it look like?
If I had the opportunity to develop an arts program in my community I would create one that firstly does not just focus on acting. I believe that would limit a lot of people from benefiting from the program. Art is an amazing tool for teaching, expressing and advocating change. My programme would expose all the avenues of different art forms as well as teaching how one can live a sustainable and fruitfull life through art. I would also try extend the program more towards the rural areas so that those spaces could also benefit. There are a lot of hidden diamonds in our rural areas that just need that push and information.
Is there anything that frustrates you about the Television Industry?
What frustrates me about this industry is its volatile nature.
What is the most challenging role you have ever been cast for?
My most challenging role has to be ‘Constance Dladla’ from Ingoma. The character was very loaded. I had to portray extreme character binaries, the meek ‘Constance’ as well as that high end superstar ‘Connie D’ while considering the journey in-between. I also had to sing and dance, so it was a lot of hardwork.
You won a SAFTA award for Best Achievement by a Lead Actress in a Made for TV Movie for your role in Ingoma.–What value does this add onto your career?
It is such an honour receiving such an accolade at this stage of my carrer. For me the award is a reminder of the perks of hard work. Otherwise I am just like any other actor who loves what they do.
It’s easy to lose yourself in the glitz and glam of the showbiz industry, how do you remain grounded?
I am blessed to have a present family support base as a well as amazing friends who keep me in tune. I pray a lot and am blessed to be praising a God who is a father, he helps me and reminds me of who I truly am.