King Kong actress Nondumiso Tembe strives to protect her African heritage

06 September 2017 - 15:09 By TshisaLIVE
Actress and singer Nondumiso Tembe opens up about being true to her identity.
Actress and singer Nondumiso Tembe opens up about being true to her identity.
Image: Via YouTube

Actress Nondumiso Tembe, who has spent most of her life in America  still has deep roots in SA and is passionate about making sure her heritage is respected. This is also the reason she makes sure her African name is pronounced correctly, out of respect for her culture.  

"I just think there is also a level of cultural disrespect when it comes to Africa and African culture, and ignorance. And I definitely make [it] a point, even when I'm meeting [a person like] Harvey Weinstein for the first time at his studios and the stakes are high," she said on Cliffcentral. 

Nondumiso said she won't allow anyone, no matter their prominence, to call her nicknames without making the effort to pronounce her name properly.

She added that for her it was a "respect thing" and as a person who knows multiple languages herself, she expected the same effort from people.

"The same way, we as Africans make an effort to reach across the aisle and speak European languages and pronounce [properly]," she said.

The SA-born actress said she only learnt to speak Zulu after English because she was just three years old when she left for the States. 

Nondumiso said that she's learnt how to deal with people back home in KwaZulu-Natal questioning her accent and her knowledge of African languages. 

"Sometimes it comes from a nasty and malicious place, and from a place of judgement, without knowing my story and understanding the way that I was raised and my life. It doesn't usually come across in a fun, kind of jovial way, there usually is a bite to it but I've learned [to deal with it]. I know who I am and I am very proud of the woman I have become. I know how deeply grounded I am and where I come from," she said.