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Mathabo Mothibe’s Journey to Being Khensani Mudau on Giyani

Drama graduates across South Africa often have to do other jobs like waitressing and bartending while waiting for that big break but, drama graduate, Mathabo Mothibe, decided on a different approach.

Mathabo Mothibe who plays the Khensani Mudau character on Giyani Land of Blood graduated with a Bachelor of Technology in Drama at Tshwane University of Technology in 2015. She focused on industrial theatre doing a roadshow for the Department of Public Works on Occupational Health and Safety, a programme for the Department of Arts and Culture for young kids in Mamelodi while auditioning for various roles including that of Khensani on Giyani Land of Blood. She further focused on behind the scenes work as a producer and writer of short films.   

Mathabo Mothibe thought as with other auditions she did prior to Giyani Land of Blood that if it is meant to be hers, it will be. Off she went on with her life doing more and more of industrial theatre. Though it was a trying time, her overall attitude towards life helped her soldier through. Doubts occupied her mind at times so did the idea of just focusing on something else other than acting.

She eventually got a call that her audition and callbacks for Khensani were super great, and she got the role. As happy as she was, Mathabo also understood the seriousness of the role. First, this was to be her first lead and on television not in the theatre, her home ground. On top on her industrial theatre work, she performed in plays such as Jordan, Mother and Child, Pillow talk, Nuptials, the suitcase, just to name a few. Khensani is not a city girl on Giyani Land of Blood but Mathabo is having been born in Alexandra and raised in Leondale by a proud XiTsonga speaking mother and Sesotho speaking father.  Unfortunately, her dear father passed away in 2010 from Diabetes Type 1 after being amputated in 2008. This affected her state of mind and approach to her lifestyle – from food choices to daily activities.

Giyani Land of Blood premiered on the 1st of April this year at 21h30 on SABC 2 with Mathabo’s character Khensani moving to a fictional village in Giyani named Risinga. There Khensani falls in love with Musa played by fellow Tshwane University of Technology graduate Wiseman Zitha. Together they make the two characters love storyline so believable and relatable. As a first-time television actor, it was quite a challenging role at first, however, with time it became a lot easier. Acting on television is different from a theatre stage and a conference room, both of which were my playgrounds before Giyani Land of Blood. I had to adapt very fast, first by taking direction from the directors, secondly by watching other actors on set. Khensani’s storyline has its own arch which makes for an interesting portrayal on my part – Mathabo Mothibe.

Mathabo Mothibe will be on our television screens and stages for a long time to come given her dedication to the craft. She speaks over three languages including XiTsonga which she is known for on Giyani Land of Blood airing Monday to Wednesday at  21h30 on SABC 2.

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Hlulani Masingi

Hlulani Masingi, also known as Hlulz; is a young, vibrant and witty black South African Tsonga woman with a solid education and seven years media experience. She graduated at the University of the Witwatersrand with a Bachelors Degree in Media Studies and English Literature and Honours Degree in Media Studies and is currently pursuing her Masters Degree in African Languages and Linguistics in the Media at the same institution.

Born in Johannesburg and raised at ka-Mhinga, an underpriviledged village in Limpopo, Hlulani is a determined individual and regardless of her impoverished background, she has a variety of interests that include PR, Communications, Marketing and Events, her passion is Creative Writing. She has always had a strong thirst for knowledge and could already write the word ‘mother’ in her home language at the age of four. She started her first year of varsity at the age of 16. After working as an Online Editor from 2014 until 2017, Hlulani Masingi founded Shangazine – an online title focused on celebrating Xitsonga people’s traditional and contemporary lifestyle.

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