Actress Zandile Madliwa currently has more reasons to be ecstatic about her performing profession.
In the movie 1960, which will formally kick off the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) on July 21, she has landed her first leading role.
Ivy Nkutha, Sanda Shandu, Chris Gxalaba, and Anele Matoti are seasoned performers who appear in the film Madliwa, which stars Lindiwe, a character who was born and bred in Cape Town.
The 30-year-old actor has been in On the Ropes and the Afrikaans television series Die Boekklub on KykNet.
Like many actors, Madliwa is looking ahead to being part of the big event where she will get a chance to net and mingle with producers and directors of the industry.
“I am so excited because it is my first time [ever] attending a film festival. More than anything, the festival opens with our film. It is a great feeling that everyone will be watching us on the opening night,” she says.
“1960 is my fifth film and getting a lead role is a big thing for me. I have played a lead in a theatre show and TV series but in a film, it is different altogether. The lead role in a film comes with a lot of responsibility.”
Madliwa is convinced that the title 1960 on its own is strong and appealing enough to get people herding to the cinemas during the festival.
The year 1960 is a very important year in SA when the PAC led an anti-pass law march in Sharpeville, in the Vaal, and police opened fire killing 64 people and wounding 186 others.
Directed by Michael Motumbo, 1960 is about the discovery of the remains of an apartheid-era policeman 60 years after he went missing.
The actress is convinced that after watching the film people will be fascinated to continue fighting for what is right.
“Anyone, especially those who are black South African, will find something to relate to in the film. Despite the challenges of the apartheid era, Lindiwe is a big dreamer. She wanted to be a music star. But there is this secret that the family and her father are hiding about how her mother died.
“The film represents a story about South African history. The story is about standing up to fighting for your rights, dreams, and humanity as a human being. It is a great story told by great actors who were very committed to the project.”
Though Madliwa was born in the direction of the end of apartheid in 1992, she loved playing a role that tells a story of a different time.
“I could relate to Lindiwe because I was also raised by a single mother. The other similarity between me and Lindiwe character is that I am a dreamer and can sing. I grew up listening to jazz and I also love the genre. One thing that I could not relate to was [the] apartheid era.
“The challenge of portraying Lindiwe was that she had experienced a lot of grief in her life. She lost her mother at a young age and saw her brother being brutally killed. So trying to bring that dark part of the character was a challenge.”
Though Madliwa made her screen debut at 12, presenting kiddies show Just Chill on SABC2 for three years, her profile is largely established on the movie screens.
“Acting started in a funny way… when I was young [after] joining a Jewish School in Cape Town. I was the only black child at the school and was not confident in expressing myself in English. My mother decided to take me to drama classes to pump up my confidence.
“From then I fell in love with it. As a result, I started to perform for my mother’s friends. In high school, I did drama as a subject and went to university to study it. Acting kind of stuck with me.”
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