A couple of years ago, I took it upon myself to take on the digital properties of what is now one of Mzansi’s biggest TV channels. I did so because I saw the huge potential and the growing and engaged audience. The channel gave up-and-coming producers and productions houses the opportunity to tell local stories. It also gave the established a platform to showcase their incredible productions. One such production was Isibaya. Initially the show started out as a telenovela, the second one in SA, but because the storylines resonated so well, the production values were incredibly high and the talent struck a cord with the audience, the show became a fully-fledged soapie.
The show had some big names attached to it, but the ‘newbies’ really grabbed my attention. Two names to be specific and for the purposes of this post, I’m going to zoom in on the one… Her name? Nomzamo Mbatha. Not only was she exquisitely beautiful, but also her natural acting ability and the way she brought her character to life was something so rare, to real and so refreshing to see. I hadn’t seen that in a long time. I remember regularly engaging with her on social media and like that, her profile gained momentum and traction. I also recall having to put a few names forward for another project that we were working on. The project manager at the time, Tebs also noticed her appeal, her star power and her potential. Alas, the bosses went with another name, and that’s just the nature of the beast, but Nomzamo’s star power continued to grow and sore. All of a sudden she was out at a lot of events, being dressed by top designers and appearing regularly in the press and social pages. And yet she remained humble, real and focused. I speak about focus because that’s what I believe she is. At the time, her Twitter header image had a simple, but powerful picture of an Academy Award on a black background. It’s telling. It’s out there and I believe if she continues on this tip, that little image will come to life. Her latest project is definitely taking her one step closer to that.
Nomzamo has been a regular on the small screen and now audiences can see her on the big screen, as a lead in the feature film Tell Me Sweet Something. Nomzamo is acting alongside her friend, Maps Maponyane in this sweet local rom-com. I haven’t had the chance to see if yet, but judging by the response on social media and the trending topics this weekend, I’m going to have to book my seat. In short, Mbatha plays the role of a novelist. Seeing her stuck in a rut, her friend decides enough is enough, so she takes her out on the town. At a random Jozi club she meets a celebrity model, who isn’t her usual type. But there’s something between them and that’s where the story goes.
It might be predictable, but it’s nice to have a story that isn’t about crime, drama or some of usual stories we’ve come to expect in SA. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a place for those stories and they’re important to tell, but sometimes we just need a feel good, escape from reality movie. And that’s exactly what this movie is. I was chatting to Maps about the movie earlier, and he was telling me how busy he and Nomzamo have been with promotion. Between them, he said they’ve probably had about 18 hours of sleep in the last five days, but if it means more bums on seats, it’s all worth it.
He’s a great, smart, genuine guy. She’s talented, gorgeous and wonderful… Together, they’re formidable, driven and hungry to see and do more. Maps and Nomzamo are two names you will want to watch. It’s just the beginning of a something sweet, I’m telling you that much!