Shona Ferguson speaks to us about being married to his best friend, how fatherhood changed him and doing what he loves.

The Botswana-born actor arrives for our shoot in a fresh white T-shirt, blue jeans and white sneakers. Time is tight as he has to return to the set of Mzansi Magic’s telenovela, The Queen. He plays the socially awkward Jerry Maake, whose character is worlds apart from his real-life personality.

Shona grew up in a Christian home with four brothers and a sister. He says he was the stubborn child in the family. ‘My parents sent me to study in Lesotho as I constantly landed in trouble at my school in Botswana,’ he laughs. This turned out well as he learned to be more responsible from an early age.

The 44-year-old actor, producer and entrepreneur began his journey in entertainment in 1992, as a club DJ in Lesotho. Since then he has played major roles in TV shows such as Generations, Scandal! and Muvhango, among others. He is still at the top of his game, and credits his success to dedication, passion and an abundance of God’s grace.

God has also graced the couple with a beautiful family. Shona is the proud grandfather of Ronewa and father of two girls, Lesedi and Alicia, and says fatherhood has taught him the importance of patience. Having grown up with four brothers, he says being the only man in the house was challenging at first, but that’s a thing of the past.

‘I have adapted and am having fun raising my girls and grandson,’ he says. ‘Making sure that they know they are precious and should never settle for anything less than their worth is very important.’

Spoken like a man who has paved his own way to success! He stresses the importance of his children knowing that, although they believe wholeheartedly that with God all things are possible, they still need to dream big, set ambitious goals and work hard towards achieving them. ‘Life is not a bed of roses and there is no red carpet laid out for them. They need to earn their keep and stay humble,’ he says.

“Life is not a bed of roses and there is no red carpet laid out for them. They need to earn their keep and stay humble.”

Shona recalls being called his father’s duplicate growing up. They resembled one another closely and spent a lot of time together. ‘I looked up to my father,’ says Shona. ‘He was fiercely protective of his children and I find that I’m exactly the same. He taught me how to be a man and take pride in it.’

When asked how he balances his hectic work schedule and family, he says, ‘My family is very important to me and as much as I want to work very hard to secure their future and build a lasting legacy for them, I realise that time spent with them is just as important!’

Shona is married to equally successful actress Connie Ferguson, who is also from Botswana. The pair met 17 years ago at Connie’s home when Shona was dropping off mutual friends. She had walked in to greet them as he was about to leave and it was love at first sight. They were married a few months later.

They are also business partners. Together they founded Ferguson Films after realising that acting wasn’t enough and they wanted to make a meaningful contribution to the industry. Many popular shows on the small screen are the fruits of their production company, including Igazi, Rockville and The Queen, to name a few. In August last year, they were awarded the Naspers Order of Tafelberg Award in recognition of their great work in film and TV.

The couple thrives on working together. ‘We are in sync,’ says Connie, ‘and I think it had brought us closer together.’

“We know when to work hard and when to switch off completely and focus on each other and our relationship.”

‘My wife is my best friend,’ says Shona about the woman he declares taught him the meaning of true love. ‘We know when to work hard and when to switch off completely from work and just focus on each other and our relationship.’ He adds that they have similar interests, priorities and ambitions, which helps.

His advice to other couples is to discuss one another’s expectations. ‘It’s very easy to fall into a rut when open communication is lacking,’ he says. ‘Egos are the biggest downfall of many relationships, so set them aside, and you’re golden.’

Asked which character he has enjoyed playing most, he says that of Jackson Bogatsu on Rockville and his current role of Jerry on The Queen.

‘I’ve had fun with every character that I’ve played, but these two stand out for me,’ he says. ‘They are polar opposites. JB is a suave, seductive mastermind who has a dark side that is spine-chilling. Jerry, on the other hand, is an obsessive character who believes in doing everything by the book and only sees black or white, no grey areas.’ A recent performance as Jerry was so powerful that it brought Connie to tears and had viewers raving.

Shona says being in front of the camera and embodying a completely different character to his own still gives him a rush. ‘The behind-the-scenes aspect of it challenges me intellectually and feeds my passion for business and entrepreneurship. The ability to tell stories that resonate with people from different walks of life is a gift I treasure and don’t take for granted at all!’ We bet his hordes of fans are also grateful for his gift.

  • Italian food.
  • My favourite holiday destination is Los Angeles in California, USA.
  • Some favourite local destinations are Cape Town and Durban.
  • Hip-hop is my music of choice.
  • I enjoy superhero and fantasy movies.
  • I love going to the gym.
  • I don’t take myself seriously. I’m a joker.
  • I am very domesticated.
  • I’m a sneaker-head!

By Koketso Mashika

Instagram: ferguson_films
Twitter: @Shona_Ferguson

SCREEN KING: SHONA FERGUSON SCREEN KING: SHONA FERGUSON Reviewed by Michelle Pienaar on June 01, 2018 Rating: 5
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