There are quite a handful of South African rising stars that have had interesting career trajectories. Joining in the fray is KwaZulu-Natal's pride and joy, television presenter and actor Nkanyiso Makhanya, who recently chatted to us about his interesting career more.
Many got the glimpse of your artistry on community channel 1KZN TV. How did you find that experience?
The experience was everything and more. Mainly because I came in as an intern at 1KZN TV and I got to do almost everything in production (camera work, voice overs, research, directing, pre-production). I got to work behind the scenes before jumping on screen, which really taught me a lot about television.
As a youngster growing up in KZN, was pursuing a career in the arts already on the cards. If not, which career did you think you’d venture into?
Yes, growing up in KZN we all knew back then that there were less opportunities for you to be on TV because we didn't have a TV station based in KZN, but that didn't stop me from believing that one day I will live my childhood dream and so I did all that I could to get where I am today. For me, I didn't want to do anything else, I only had plan A with no plan B. Deep down I knew I would somehow end up on TV. So, it was plan A or nothing.
It was widely reported that your exit from Craz-e was quite sketchy. Elaborate on what actually led to your dismissal?
Every job I get, I always give myself a time frame of how long I want to be there before moving to the next chapter. When I got the call from the producers at Craz-e back in 2015 to say I got the job, I was excited and couldn't wait to start working on such a huge platform. I told myself, God and the universe that I don't want to spend more than three years at Craz-e, before moving on to a bigger platform. Two and a half years later that's exactly what happened. I'm grateful for my time at Craz-e, it taught me everything that I now know about live TV.
Previously, you have mentioned that your mother has been quite a supportive figure in your life. What are her feelings about the growth of your career?
I don't think there's anyone in the world that loves, supports and understands me like my mother. I think for her my journey and growth in the industry has been a beautiful one to watch. From a community TV station to one of the biggest national kiddies shows to now being on the most watched soapie in SA. She's proud, and she still supports me. My pillar of strength.
After your 1KZN TV stint, you moved to Johannesburg to attend to your television presenting duties, how did you find the culture shock of residing in Johannesburg?
I've always been curious about the JHB culture taking to consideration that the industry I wanted to be in is mainly based in JHB. So I did my research about the big city way before I even moved there, so I kind of had my own idea of how JHB is. From my experience of it and its people. Everything is just touch and go, a lot of passionate beings and people will do whatever it takes to stay a step ahead. It's a dog-eat-dog jungle.
Are there any figures that you look up to in the entertainment industry, fellow creatives that you admire?
Yes, I have seen the growth of some of these figures that I look up to in the entertainment industry, and that alone always inspires me to keep going for what I really want. Thando Thabethe, Kat Sinivasin, Robert Marawa, Carol Tshabalala, just to name a few.
Are there other industries that you wish to dabble in, or is your aim to fully explore the entertainment industry?
Still within the entertainment industry, I would like to dab into directing and producing.
Congratulations on securing another acting opportunity on Uzalo. Your character, Nkululeko is an orphan that also has to take care of his two siblings. What real elements from your own life are you bringing to your character?
Thank you. Growing up we didn't have much, so I had to get a job at the age of 13 just to help out where I could at home. With that said, those experiences of me working at a young age to help out at home will definitely come to play as I have an understanding of such situations.
How did your Uzalo gig come about?
Stained Glass productions which produces Uzalo had open auditions for a new show they're working on called Delakufa. I attended the open auditions in JHB and I didn't get a call back (sad moment for me) a couple of weeks later I got a call from my agent, saying that I auditioned for Delakufa but the producers want me for a new character on Uzalo. I couldn't believe it.
As you’re about to make your debut on a soapie that has managed to garner 10 million viewers, how do you think the show’s impact will propel the trajectory of your career?
Given that the show has been able to gain such a huge viewership, first in South African television history, my career is about to take off to a different direction. I'm well aware of the impact this show has on one's career and I'm ready to shape my name into a brand that I've always wanted it to be.
The entertainment industry is known for its fickleness, what are some of the challenges you've endured thus far?
I wouldn't really say challenges, but it has taught me a lot about patience and that you not always going to get every job you audition for. It has also taught me a lot about myself, my strengths and my weakness, and what it is exactly that I want to do in this industry.
You mentioned that you have already started shooting for Uzalo, how are you enjoying your new job?
I'm enjoying every second on set, from the producers, directors and fellow cast members, everyone is just welcoming and warm. Another thing that makes the job easier is that everyone is there for one goal and we are all working together to achieve that goal. I love it.
13. As a writer, I listen to hip hop music as it helps with my writings. What is it that you have to do in order to enhance your artistry - do you read books or observe other creatives in the industry?
I read a lot of biographies and books of encouragement and self belief. I'm currently reading DJ Zinhle and Nokubonga's "Meeting Your Power". This book is really helping me in realising my worth and my God given talent and how I should never let others opinions about me change who I know I am.
Nkanyiso Makhanya is certainly one media star that we have our eyes on. With such determination and passion, it will serve as no surprise if he goes down in history books as one of the artists that made a memorable mark in the arts.
Main Image Credit: Facebook/Nkanyiso Makhanya