Whether it is on stage or on screen, Didintle Khunou has fast made an impact in the South African acting industry with the roles that she has chosen to play. From ‘Janet Weisz’ in The Rocky Horror Show and ‘Celie’ in The Colour Purple to now ‘Esther’ in BET’s first African original telenovela, Isono which is set to air at the end of July 2020.
As the actress continues shooting the new telenovela under lockdown conditions she reflects on her start in acting, the role of entertainment in the current climate and how the industry continues to be opened for young talents.
Q: How did you first get into acting?
DK: I realized my passion for performing at 16 y/o after performing in a school production. Once I matriculated, I decided to study Drama. I attained my Honors degree but I felt I needed to continue training so I began training at ActorWIze and Indigo View Advanced Actor’s Academy. While training, I’d busy myself with cameo roles on TV shows, industrial theatre, children’s theatre and short films, voice over gigs and voice acting projects. With time, I worked my way up to bigger roles and I’ve been at it since 2016.
Q: Have you always wanted to be a performer and what is your earliest performance memory?
DK: Initially, the plan was to become a geologist but after my first experience on stage I knew that telling stories and performing was something I really loved and grew passionate about.
The earliest memory I have of performing was playing with my sister when we were children. We’d play games where we’d perform for each other. Apparently, I’ve always expressed my self through music and song and dance.
Q: You’re currently shooting on BET’s first original African telenovela – how challenging has that been during Covid-19 and lockdown regulations?
DK: You have to be mindful of every single thing you do to protect yourself and those around you. Wash and sanitize your hands frequently. Social distancing feels strange as it is a behavioural change but it’s essential.
Q: What do you think is the role of entertainment in our current climate?
DK: It’s important to support and watch local productions. The arts play an integral role in moulding the moral fabric of a society. It does more than only entertain – supporting our local artists and productions grows our industry. The focus right now has been to showcase African narratives to the world because it opens up more working opportunities for South African creatives.
Q: #OpenUpTheIndustry has been a trending topic for a few years now in SA entertainment – how do you feel the industry has been opened up for you and what advice would you give to aspiring performances from your lessons learnt?
DK: The industry is opening up. Many young, beautifully talented performers like myself are working. Having a career in the creative industries isn’t easy and like most careers, you have to work your way up. I’d say develop a work ethic that will give you a competitive edge because talent will only get you so far. Stay committed to your dreams, everyone faces rejection, if you give up you will never get to build the future you desire.
Watch Didintle as Esther in ISONO on BET (DSTv 135) from 27 July 2020 at 21:30 CAT
Picture: Justine Munitz