A CHAT WITH ISIBAYA’S BHEKI MKHWANE
By: Afrika Ndlovu
Born and raised in the dusty streets of Kwa-Mashu, Bheki Mkhwane has made a name for himself in theatre as a director, producer, play writer and actor.
Mkhwane fell in love with acting at an early age. With a rare God given skill in soccer, many thought he would end up on the soccer field as a professional soccer player, but his destiny was to entertain people and to keep them glued to him.
The modest actor says that the Gods of Africa wrote his story for him. They gave him a gift to be all the characters he portrays which are mostly from different backgrounds compared to his- these Gods gave him different stories to share with the world.
Never in his wildest dreams did he think he would travel the world with big theatre productions and have critics single him out for his acting skill. But 32 years after starting theatre, he joined television as mega villain Samson
Ndlovu on Mzansi Magic’s telenovela turned soap, Isibaya. After giving the director, Angus Gibson, a run around for almost four months he eventually fell in love with the script.
His character has kept millions of viewers glued to their television screens due to his impeccable acting skills and catch phrases such as “number one” and “uyisiphukuphuku” (you are a fool).
Inspired by the incomparable Gibson Kente he says; “I did not choose acting, acting chose me.”
He’s worked on numerous theatre productions all over the world with the likes of Ellis Pearson and Mark Fleishman.
He was quoted in Destiny Magazine saying, “I don’t respect actors who are too focused on being celebrities, who are not disciplined and do not respect their craft.” After a huge turn out and a standing ovation for his latest production “Have We Been Heard?” at the Durban ICC, he refused to walk the red carpet when he was begged by the premier of KZN and fans.
“Being a celebrity is not something one should look forward to, because the moment you are a celebrity, arrogance walks in and the skill of acting walks out,” shares Mkhwane.
“I am a tributary, the art of acting was given to me by the Gods of Africa and it’s my responsibility to teach those who come after me. Life is a relay and every generation needs to pass on the baton whilst there’s still applause and not hog work.”
Mkhwane is currently working on a 5-part series with Mzansi Magic called “Belly of the Beast” that will hit our television screens in about a year or so