LISTEN | 'I literally passed out' — Sophie Lichaba on car accident, weight loss & new Lockdown role

31 January 2020 - 07:00 By Kyle Zeeman
Sophie Lichaba says the negative messages about her weight loss helped shape her character on Lockdown.
Sophie Lichaba says the negative messages about her weight loss helped shape her character on Lockdown.
Image: Gallo Images/Oupa Bopape

Veteran actress Sophie Lichaba has endured many struggles since opening up about her battle with diabetes, including losing out on business and blacking out while driving.

The star recently joined the cast of hit drama series Lockdown as Palesa, the head nurse at Kgotsong asylum.


The fifth season of the hit prison series will air on Showmax from January 30, with two episodes per week broadcast every Thursday.

Viewers are introduced to a broken Palesa, who is constantly looking for approval.

In a sit-down interview with TshisaLIVE, Sophie explained that her personal challenges helped shape how she portrayed the character.

“You know they always say, find somebody who died in your family and just become emotional. For me, I draw from the womanhood. I draw from the woman that I am. I draw from the things that I have been through.”

Sophie has battled with diabetes for over a decade, which led to her losing weight.

The weight loss soon led to shaming on social media and several death rumours.

Sophie said the rumours took a toll on her, her family and businesses.

“I am human, of course it affected me. It affected me because I didn't see it coming. I didn't see the public coming. I didn't see myself losing so much weight. There was trauma after trauma after trauma. You must remember that I am not just an actress, I have businesses ... People who once trusted you with R10m or R5m for their projects, when they hear you are dying, why would they even give you a contract? It was the challenge of losing a lot.”

Sophie said she lost more than just herself when the vicious rumours started spreading.

“My kids, it affected them because sometimes they would be like 'why would so many people say this? Is it true? Are you dying? Is there something that you are not telling us?' ... People don't realise that you are human and go through human pain, like anybody else.”

One of the scariest experiences for her family was when Sophie blacked out while driving on a residential road late last year

“I am diabetic and my sugar levels were very high and I literally passed out. That is why, for me, I want to create awareness about the condition ... My kids, everyone was sad, they just said 'mom, what if this had happened on the highway?' It happened on a normal road but the bottom line is that the car was wrecked.”

Sophie is focused on looking after herself and said she is ready to prove the haters wrong.

“People think that I have lost it all, let go of it all. I am just getting started. They said I would never plan another wedding again, but I am just getting started.”