Atandwa Kani: If I keep the SA accent I'm only going to play a refugee
Atandwa Kani has been living in America for a minute now and has already picked up an American accent. He has defended his decision to take on the accent, claiming it will help him get more jobs and respect in Hollywood.
Speaking to Metro FM from the US on Thursday, Atandwa said he was planning to spread his wings in America and embraced the accent so that he wouldn't be typecast.
"In reality, if I am going to forge a life for myself this side and I am insistent on keeping a South African accent, I am only going to play a refugee - the guy who gets shot in the head in the second scene. I am going to play general Mfumfu. I want much more than that."
He said his father had taught him to adapt to his surroundings in order to succeed and get respect.
"I aspire and look up to amazing actors. I was raised by an amazing giant of an actor (John Kani) who has conquered the world, but I want so much more for myself. I want to play, like, Denzel Washington's nephew and pull it off. I want to have the lead role alongside Idris Elba. My father once taught me that if you want to impress and be in a position of power, learn the waltz better than they do it. That is when they will respect you and look at you."
Atandwa's wife Fikile moved to New York in 2015 to study and was joined by her husband soon after. The pair have been keeping close to their South African roots, posting hilarious videos of themselves using SA lingo and references.
Atandwa plays the role of a young king in the upcoming Marvel superhero film, Black Panther. It opens in local cinemas on Friday.