It’s hard to believe that glamorous, poised Connie Ferguson was ever crippled by shyness. Ironically, the trait that made it difficult to present a speech in front of her class without cringing led to her becoming a star of the screen. 

Born in Kimberley in the Northern Cape in 1970, Connie’s family moved to her father’s homeland, Botswana, when she was five years old, so that’s where she grew up and went to school.

‘I literally used to have heart palpitations if I had to speak in front of people,’ she says, ‘but in my head, I was a completely different person. I was an action hero, like the people in the comic books I read. I used to imagine going after every bully that ever existed and teaching them a lesson!’


To overcome her social anxiety, Connie immersed herself in sports and drama – and thus began her lifelong love affair with the fantasy world of acting. Gripped by the magic of storytelling and living vicariously through the characters she played, acting became her great escape. And the confidence she’d begun to develop through acting stood her in good stead when she entered Miss Ellerines Lobatse when she was still in high school. She was reluctant, but her dad pointed out that it would be another chance to build on her self-assurance. Having won the contest, she went on to be crowned Miss Ellerines Botswana, eventually being placed second in the southern African finals held in Johannesburg.


After she completed matric, Connie went to claim one of her prizes, a braiding course at a hairdressing school in Johannesburg – and from there, her life became a whirl of activity. She expected to do the course and go home to Botswana, but she found herself caught up in modelling and acting auditions and assignments. She got her first break acting a lead role on an SABC1 drama called What If, swiftly followed by other leads and supporting roles, in shows like Crime Reporter, Soul City and Generations, which she joined in 1994.

There’s no doubt that as much as the camera loves Connie, she loves her job right back. ‘I enjoy the fact that people get to respond to what I do,’ she smiles. ‘I entertain, inform and inspire. Most of the time, work feels like play. There is never a dull moment in my day.’


Connie keeps her career dynamic by seeking out new challenges. The establishment of Ferguson Films, the production company she started in 2010 with her late husband Shona (who was also from Botswana), was a case in point. After working together on M-Net’s short-lived series, The Wild, they have never looked back. ‘The show got our creative juices flowing,’ says Connie, ‘and gave us an idea of the type of TV we wanted to make.’ So, after the series wrapped, the couple started pitching their own ideas to broadcasters. They have since produced four seasons of Rockville, two seasons of Igazi, an edutainment movie called Step Up to A Start-Up and a feature film, The Gift, Kings of Joburg and The Queen, sadly Shona passed away this year. 

While most women would be considering slowing down to enjoy their grand-children, Connie’s career is still gathering momentum. The secret of her endless appeal? ‘I’m real,’ she smiles. 

‘Fame is a side effect of what I do; it doesn’t define me. I’m grounded in my family. I’m just a happy human being, and I believe audiences can sense this about me. The soul doesn’t lie.’


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