You may know Nozipho Langa (Nozi Langa) as Glenda on SABC 1's popular TV youth drama Skeem Saam'. Well she is more than just a television actress. The 25-year-old is also a theatre performer, presenter, model and radio personality.
Because growth is important to her, and she believes in self-investment and giving back to the community, the actress has started an initiative called #OpenDiscussion. The platform is a conversation for young people to challenge the way they approach situations; whether mentally or emotionally.
Zalebs had an interview with Nozi to find out the nuts and bolts of her project
What inspired you to start your #OpenDiscussion initiative?
I want to help children, youth, young people to heal from the wounds that they block out without even noticing that they block them out , and this [wounds] manifests in your life as a challenge in your future, and sometimes you don't know that it does because you haven't identified it as a problem and you've blocked it out. People or the youth, they don't speak emotion anymore and they don't allow themselves to have these conversations. It's uncomfortable conversation for them to speak honestly about their feelings.
How did your role on Skeem Saam' inspire you to take this path?
My role inspired me by the influence that have or have created when I started on the show. People get so excited when they see you on the street and they wanna talk to you, but then you start to realise that people are so inspired by you but I wasn't really sure why. So I felt I have the influence to give them a reason to be inspired instead of just being an Instagram lady who just posts.
How have fans/young teens related to the project and how is it helping them?
They have related to it because we give them a challenge to write a letter about what motivates them, what burns their fire, what makes them wake up every morning. And they've written these letters. I've seen the struggles of the children and the things that they go through and we encourage them in the letter to think about their mental and emotional stand points. When you start to understand their challenges it gives us a point of reference to assist them on our day of debriefing. After the letters are written, we invite them to Plush Lash & Beauty Bar, that I co-own in centurion, to sit down and talk through these challenges.
Were you dealing with similar issues as a kid? If so, what and how did you overcome them?
Yes I've had to deal with similar issues. But I was raised in a family where communication was a big thing and we were taught that very much. To speak is to heal and to grow. It's the beginning of the process of healing. I went through a time of introspection, to think about my situation: who I am, where I'd like to see myself.
How important is it for more famous people to be a part of or start projects like this?
It is very important for them to be part of these things because they set the trends and media influences us HEAVILY in our daily lives. So, if they are speaking about issues that are real and relevant and challenge us in an every day basis, then that becomes the conversation in youth. In every way that you can, direct your influence in the most positive way that you possibly can so that it sparks a conversation that will allow someone to grow or heal.
What are your hopes for this project in the future?
My hopes are to continue to heal more children. To heal more of the youth. To speak to more of the youth and touch more of their lives. To give them an experience so that they receive all things positive from it. To remind them that they, too, can thrive. To get more sponsors and people to make it bigger so we can accommodate more kids - right now we only accommodate 4.
What more can fans expect from you this year?
Fans can expect to see more dedication and hard work. I'm constantly working and trying to figure out how to inspire, to ceate, to challange. Definitely more acting. Definitely more living and experiencing and helping and growing
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