Mandla Gaduka on sangomas, job hunting & being booted off Generations
"This is the longest I have gone without a TV job."
It's been ages since Mandla Gaduka was last seen on TV screens, his longest absence since he burst into spotlight with his role as Choppa on Generations, but the star is hopeful of making a return soon.
The actor tells TshisaLIVE that he has been going for auditions but is busy preparing for his role in an explosive upcoming theatre production about the collision of African tradition and religion.
The production, entitled Diketso tells the story of a young girl who refuses to heed a call from her ancestors to become a traditional healer and loses it all including her only son. The production is written and directed by Kedibone Manyaka and is at the State Theatre in Pretoria from September 7–23.
Mandla prepared for the role by shadowing someone who was in training be a traditional healer and sat in on several days of instruction. He said at first he battled with the internal struggle between his religion and culture.
"I think for the longest time things associated with sangomas and traditional stuff was shunned upon. It was seen as negative. We were previewing the show and a lot of people who have come have been very quick to slam it or call it disturbing because there seems to be a conflict between the two."
Mandla was last seen on screens in e.tv's Broken Vows and after several long months of looking for work, says he is grateful to be part of a production again.
"TV is quiet right now it seems that no one has money. But as long as I am doing what I love (acting) I don't mind," he added.
"I was left feeling confused and hopeless."
Mandla said he is a lot calmer now than when he was first fired along with other members of the Generations cast known as the Generation 16 following a contractual dispute.
He said the months after being booted from the show left him depressed and angry.
"That was my first proper TV job and it had improved my life to a certain extent. So, when that rug was pulled out from under my feet I was left feeling feeling confused and hopeless. I was very fortunate to find productions afterwards but the reality of the situation was very tragic."
Mandla said the situation had been building up for some time but the actors believed an agreement would be reached that would help them. They were wrong and soon many of them were looking for new TV gigs.
"I think (SABC COO at the time) Hlaudi (Motsoeneng) and Mfundi (Vundla) made a very strong and a very harsh choice. It was a huge gamble for them. I still hold a kind of sour feeling on the situation, a situation where actors are risking it all to improve the working conditions of people and are prevented from doing so."