I don't think I'm the only one who finds it hard to even picture Ronnie Nyakale portraying another character, or am I? Playing Papa Action made him one of our favorite gangsters on television and he has never looked back since that role.
Ronnie Nyakale is best known for his award-winning role as gangster Papa Action in the first season of the SABC1 drama series Yizo Yizo, in 1999. The role that we must say shaped the rest of his acting career. It must be weird to say this. but playing a gangster role has never looked this good on anybody as it does on Ronnie. He played the role of another gangster, Ding-Dong, on the e.tv's Rhythm City and then played the role of Inno in the e.tv drama series eKasi: Our Stories.
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While some actors get to flex their muscles in an array of diverse roles, Ronnie Nyakale often finds himself often cast to play sinister characters and we're not complaining.
While others showcase their many on-screen characters, Ronnie showcases different shades of the same character.
The choice to play such a character wasn't a personal one says Ronnie, portraying the same character in different ways just seemed to follow him everywhere he went.
In an interview with IOL he spoke about how the gangster acting route was never really his decision.
“It isn’t a conscious decision I took with my career – there are people who decided, at the end of the day, I am good for it and that is what viewers and casting agents will know me for but at some stage, the longer the industry sees me as the person who plays that kind of role only, it starts to fall under the umbrella of typecasting" he said.
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Although he portrays all these gangster rolls so well and doesn't mind it at all, he would, however, like to test the waters a little bit by portraying the complete opposite of what he is known for.
“But I do wonder when it will be my time to be a good guy, where I play a responsible father figure, a principal, teacher or priest."
Nyakale says he wants to motivate the nation with the characters he plays and, to accomplish that, he cannot always be the “bad yet good role model."
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Playing a certain character can take a toll on a persons personal life. Others have nightmares about it and others experience backlash from the public. For Ronnie, playing a bad guy started to become a little bit disturbing.
“It is very disturbing always playing the bad characters because your fans start to think that's who you are in real life and that's sad because everyone is scared of you."
Looking back at Ronnie's career Yizo Yizo was the biggest deal for him and because of it, everyone want's Ronnie to play the bad guy for them.
"I owe all my success to that show. It was a stamp of approval for me as an actor, for one. And I looked at the show as a way to help revolutionize TV dramas, he added.
Interestingly enough, his career hit a slump for over five years before he was approached for a role on Jerusalema.
His current role as Cosmo on Generations The Legacy is a little less gangster than we know him to be. Cosmo is always looking out for his family and being so over-protective of his nieces just made him even more protective over his real-life daughter.
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