LISTEN | Vula Vala’s Zola Msizi on facing homophobia for playing a gay character
“Homophobia is just like racism, it's taught. You don't just wake up being homophobic, you don't just wake up being racist”
Budding actor Zola Msizi has lashed out against the homophobic comments he's faced since stepping into the role of Lefa Kwena, a gay character on new drama series Vula Vala.
Lefa Kwena lives in the shadows of his father’s greatness while trying to hide his sexuality.
Last week, TshisaLIVE caught up with Zola to get the 411 on the role, which, he said took him out of his comfort zone.
Listen to the full conversation here:
“It has been a rollercoaster but at this point, I would say that I have enjoyed my role. It has taken me out of my comfort zone. It's something that I enjoy doing because that's where you learn and grow.
“I've done a lot with this character I never thought I would as my entrance into the industry, but it was needed so that I know how far I needed to go as an actor ... basically to show how determined I am about my career.”
Zola explained that since stepping into the role he's had to deal with nasty homophobic comments from people, adding that his mom has been his source of comfort.
“My rock 'n roll in this was my mom because after every emotional scene, every hurtful thing that I had to process in order to evoke a certain emotion out of me cause I am drawing from an emotional place.”
The actor expressed how he learnt to be more open-minded through his character and kissing a man for the first time made him realise how society needed to change its perspective on same-sex relationships.
“You know the sad thing is that homophobia is just like racism, it's taught. You don't just wake up being homophobic, you don't just wake up being racist. You have to be taught and there are so many elements that come into play with things such as toxic masculinity.
“Being in an area where people feed you all of this fear, feed you all of this hate and you start being a sponge and taking it all in. Because I remember, before I had gay friends, I was taught as a kid that the only form of love is between a man and a woman ... that's it.”
The actor believes the homophobic nature of South Africans is the reason thousands of young gay men and women hide their sexuality.
“So, that's why characters like Lefa exist.”