Nolwazi Ngubeni on her role on Mzali Wam, being a mother and lessons learnt in the industry

 Nolwazi Shange Ngubeni (37) is a well-rounded South African actress who has appeared in multiple productions including A Place Called Home and Scandal, among others. 

Growing up in a family of artists, she was influenced and nurtured to love acting and performing from an early age.

“I have been a performer all my life; since I was a child. I was trained as a singer growing up and that’s something I got from my family. As I grew older, acting took over and I decided to study performance in university. The Drama department at Durban University of Technology has opened up doors for me.”

She still loves the job, even years after she first got started. 

"When I started in the industry there wasn’t any social media and I think that now there’s so much opportunity to market yourself. I am very appreciative of the work that I do, and I understand the business better right now and I have evolved as an artist.”

Nolwazi currently plays Sibongile Dlamini in Mzansi Magic’s Mzali Wam that recently aired the first episode of season 2. 

In season 1, viewers were embroiled in a love-hate relationship with Sibongile, who stole a child from a vulnerable woman outside a hospital and raised the child as her own. After losing her own child at birth, Sibongile nurtured Ntokozo until 20 years later when by fate Ntokozo came across her biological mother while job hunting in Joburg and whose husband almost trafficked her. 

It is an intriguing storyline rooted in the love and passion of two mothers who will do anything to win back their daughter. In this second season with Nolwazi, there is so much more drama that will unfold between the two mothers and people can expect more details into her character, Sibongile.

“Sibongile is a heavy character, she has a lot of issues. She’s a determined woman but her determination is also her downfall. She fights for what she wants and doesn’t think about the people she hurts in the process, but it shows how we are as human beings. She is an exaggerated reflection of human beings. It is not easy playing her, especially with the crying scenes. My training has played a huge role in playing her because she is emotionally taxing, I must remember it’s not me who is crying or who lost a child. I have to remember that I am grateful to the experience that I have in this industry, it allows me to detach myself easier from the character experience.”

The heart-wrenching series is set to bring out all the emotions in viewers as more drama and plots unravel throughout the second season.

The actress says being in the industry has its challenges, but it is her belief in her purpose that keeps her going in the days that are difficult.

“I have a purpose. I am here on earth for a purpose, and it is my responsibility to fulfil it. I am very guarded but when I feel overwhelmed, I don’t hold it in, and I find an outlet for it.”

Nolwazi recently had a wedding after being married to Mzwandile Ngubeni for five years. The couple have been together for 10 years and recently held a wedding ceremony to celebrate their union with family and friends.

Nolwazi is a mother of two, a 14-year-old girl and a four-year-old boy whom she says have become her driving force.

“I have amazing conversations with my husband and the one that stood out for me is the one where he said that I should remember to put myself first. He encourages me to put my needs first, regardless of being a mother and a wife and that conversation was so important because as women we consider everyone else but ourselves and then we grow bitter. I know my role within my children’s life and my husband’s life.”

She says her daughter refuses to watch her on TV and her son is only beginning to grasp what she does for a living.

“My daughter can’t watch my shows, she says she doesn’t relate to the woman she sees on screen while my son looks at me in awe when he sees me on television.”

Nolwazi says she is taking 2022 as the year to get more acting gigs and to grow as an artist.


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