Siphesihle Ndaba on playing Mazet on Gomora, getting her second degree and respecting her craft

Actress Siphesile

Actress Siphesile “CeeCee” Ndaba says that playing Mazet allows her to get out of her comfort zone.

In the Mzansi Magic telenovela “Gomora” she plays the role of the township car hijacker and fearless Kasi chic.

Mazet’s township flair, smart jargon and fearlessness are qualities that have won the hearts of many South Africans.

Actress Siphesile “CeeCee” Ndaba says that playing Mazet allows her to get out of her comfort zone.

“Mazet is the Kasi girl next door,” she says to Drum. “I know them. If you’ve been or lived in the township before, you know a mazet,” she says.

Developing her character’s gestures and posture meant observing people’s behavior.

“When we’re shooting in Alexandra township, I meet different types of people and I met a girl who’s a mazet, smart, pretty but also daring,” she says.

“So Mazet is a real person, he exists.”

Siphesihle also took inspiration from some family members that enrich her character.

“I also took pieces from people around me. My uncles, my brothers and my aunts. I took bits of it and created this person out of people I had access to.”

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Gomora is her biggest role to date and every day she learns something new about acting.

“Working on Gomora has been an amazing journey,” she says.

“It’s nice to be in a place where you can grow. I learn something new every day. When I’m in the studio, the main thing I do is understand as much as possible and talk to as many people as possible, I become a sponge and go in and learn,” she says.

“A lot of film sets you just shoot and go, but we have a lot of time to talk and learn, which I can fix and try to master. I sit and ask questions.” Before Gomora, she studied and worked on a few theater productions.

“I did some shows at the National Arts Festival in Makhanda. I’ve done shows in the Rhodes Drama Department.”

Born and raised in Soweto, Johannesburg, the 25-year-old is the granddaughter of Mzilikazi James Khumalo, one of the composers of South Africa’s national anthem and the play Princess Magogo.

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Theater and art are in her blood. After enrolling at the Oprah Academy Leadership School, Siphesihle received her Bachelors of Social Science, Psychology, Economics, and Drama and BSS (Hons) in Dramatic Arts.

She was among 1300 Rhodes University students who were unable to graduate physically in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid-19 restrictions. She is also one of the recipients of the Abe Bailey Travel Bursary, with which she traveled to Ethiopia and the UK.

Siphesihle recently announced that she received her second degree from Rhodes University.

“Education is very important to me, it is at the heart of my work,” she says.

Balancing work and early-morning call times and looking gorgeous on red carpets isn’t easy, but Siphesihle says she makes time for what makes her happy.

“You have to take your time. I show up, support, do my part and move on to the next thing.”

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Being new to the mainstream acting industry, Siphesihle has a bigger vision and sees herself thriving as an actress.

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“I see myself choosing what to photograph,” she says.

“I want to produce, direct and write. I feel like there is so much to explore in the South African film industry. There are many genres and themes. I would like to get into science fiction and imagine what African science fiction would look like. We have a lot of texture in African storytelling and I think as we explore the different sides the possibilities are endless.”

As a young actress, Siphesihle learned a lot by watching more experienced actors and talent.

“I’m learning so much about myself. Not everyone has the ability or privilege to close completed roles or turn down opportunities. We live in a tough economy and with the standard of living it’s important for me to work on projects that inspire and resonate with me because when you come to work it doesn’t feel like a chore,” she says.

“Coupled with an always humble attitude, I have learned that this industry needs an open-minded, curious and constantly learning student. Type spaces and ask questions,” she says.

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