THEMBISA MDODA TALKS TWINS, LOVE AND CHANGING HER CAREER


Her infectious smile and warm personality are well known to Mzansi Magic viewers. We speak to the dynamic actress and mother of twins, Thembisa Mdoda, about her journey and motherhood.


For two years she graced our TV screens every Sunday evening and trended on social media as the host of Mzansi Magic's reality show, Our Perfect Wedding. Her grace and impeccable sense of style won the hearts of viewers as they watched her attend weddings across the country. She is a natural in front of the camera – no surprise that she walked off with the DStv Mzansi Viewers’ Choice Favourite Presenter Award and the most significant award of the evening, the Ultimate Viewers Choice Award.

She arrives for our shoot sporting a big afro that turns heads. She says the Viewers’ Choice Awards were the highlight of her career as they confirmed the love she puts into her work is finally paying off.

Thembisa's twins, Lonwabo and Lonwabile, are seven years old. ‘I could sit silently for hours, listening to my boy's talk,' she says. ‘I like who I am when I am with them, the Lord and my partner because the love that comes out of those three places is so incredible, so genuine and pure.'


DOUBLE TROUBLE
She recalls the day she learned she was expecting twins. ‘I almost fainted,' she laughs. ‘I was numb when the doctor said there were two of them!’

Thembisa says motherhood has been incredibly fulfilling, but admits it’s sometimes challenging. ‘You want them to look up to you,’ she says, ‘because you love them the most and want the best for them. That’s why there’s so much pressure.’

Things weren’t always perfect for her and she believes motherhood made her a fighter. She was married to actor Atandwa Kani, but they went their separate ways in 2015.

‘As a single mom, there were times when I felt very alone,’ she says, ‘but I had to be strong. My kids need to see me live. We want certain people to love and support us, and we close off when it doesn’t come from them; we think we don’t deserve love.’ Luckily she found her happily ever after. ‘What helped me was realising that I am loved and cared for,’ she smiles.


FAMILY SUPPORT
Thembisa believes in taking care of herself first, but admits to having fallen into the trap of putting everyone else’s needs before hers in the early days. She learned, however, that with a hectic schedule and two children, a great support structure is the secret to managing the demands that come with being a single mom.

‘It’s difficult because when you are trying to provide for your children, there is a sense of guilt when you aren’t there to help with homework and other things,’ she says. ‘It is something I still struggle with, but I have the support of my family and now also my life partner.’

LOVE LANGUAGE
‘My partner makes me take time out for myself and reminds me that I can’t pour from an empty cup,' she says. ‘He sometimes plans a spa day or takes the kids for the day so I have some me time. He even asks if I’ve prayed,’ she beams. ‘It’s a love language that I really appreciate.’

During the shoot, her partner arrives to check up on her. Thembisa has been careful not to reveal too many details about their relationship. ‘He is incredible,’ she says when we ask about him. ‘Our love has been so peaceful in its transition.’ The pair met on the set of Our Perfect Wedding, where he was the director of photography.

‘The way we fell in love was organic,’ she smiles. ‘I didn’t think I was open to love and he came and changed that!’ She adds that the biggest life lesson she has learned is ‘to be open to love, and with the people I love.’


TIGHT-KNIT FAMILY
Born in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, Thembisa comes from a family of four girls. One of her sisters is equally well-known and successful TV and radio personality, Anele Mdoda, who co-hosted SABC2’s SA’s Got Talent, among other shows. ‘We are a very tight-knit family,’ says Thembisa. ‘We love and support one another, and are in each other’s business 24/7!’


Some of her fondest memories of growing up include moving to different cities and her first stage play in creche. However, it was when she watched a Gibson Kente play in the Mthatha City Hall in her primary school years that she fell in love with theatre. Fast forward to completing her matric, Thembisa pursued a tertiary qualification in graphic design although she had her heart set on either a drama or fashion qualification.

‘My dad suggested I merge the arts and computers because I enjoyed both,’ she says. ‘He wanted me to do something we were all going to be happy with because my parents were worried about me going into acting.’



‘I want to be a boss. I want to move mountains!’

PASSION REIGNITED
Following the completion of her graphic design studies at Pretoria Technikon, she secured her first job – from which she resigned after only three months when she wasn’t granted leave to attend the Grahamstown Arts Festival. Her passion for theatre was reignited at the festival and on her return, she applied to study drama at the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS) and was accepted.

She was then faced with the daunting challenge of convincing her parents. ‘I didn’t mince my words,’ she laughs, adding that her parents eventually agreed, and she began her first year in drama at the age of 21. ‘This taught me that I am strong and that my decisions are mine,’ she says.

When asked what her toughest career challenge has been, she says, ‘The waiting. I waited for about eight years for my big break.’ As fate would have it, Our Perfect Wedding came along and the rest, as they say, is history.

‘I WANT TO BE A BOSS’
Thembisa says after playing one of the lead characters in the 2018 hit movie, Baby Mamas, she asked herself, what now? ‘My career had blossomed over the past three years,’ she says, ‘and I realised that I needed to create more. I want to be a boss. I want to move mountains!’

She is currently co-producing an international movie, an action thriller titled Coltan, alongside talented actor Sisanda Henna.

‘It's an incredible African story,' smiles Thembisa. ‘It's been told before, but not by us as Africans.'

Apart from Coltan, she has multiple other projects in the pipeline but can’t say much about them at the moment. With her track record, there’s little chance they’ll be anything but successful.


A FEW OF MY FAVOURITE THINGS
* Her Bible, her kids and partner
* The various forms of the arts
* Her shoe collection
* The Usual Suspects is her favourite movie
* Greece is her ideal holiday destination

THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT THEMBISA
1. She dislikes chocolate
2. She recently became a vegetarian
3. She does not drink coffee

KEEP UP WITH WITH THEMBISA ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Instagram: @thembisamdoda
Twitter: @tembisa

By KOKETSO MASHIKA



THEMBISA MDODA TALKS TWINS, LOVE AND CHANGING HER CAREER THEMBISA MDODA TALKS TWINS, LOVE AND CHANGING HER CAREER Reviewed by Jet Club on April 23, 2019 Rating: 5

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