'I take pills to calm me down' – Isithembiso’s Nandi Mbatha struggling with anxiety disorder


Fame has made some people great in life, others it has destroyed as they got too big for their shoes, but that is not the case with Nandi Mbatha, she is aware of the dangers and is making efforts not be carried away by it, in fact she suffers from the fear of being in crowds.

For her, being an actress in a popular TV calls for some form of personal discipline and mental stability, as you’re often recognised wherever you go, at times people mobbing you.

Nandi (22) plays Simi on the Mzansi Magic telenovela Isithembiso, suffers from anxiety and struggles to cope with it, especially when she’s in crowds where fame plays part.


She was diagnosed with the disorder 2009. Nandi recently opened up on how she was coping with it while making a name for herself in entertainment industry.


Usually, her anxiety starts when she is stressed, or in enclosed spaces, like lifts and on flights.
“If I’m in a stressful situation, I take Rescue Remedy pills to calm me down. I take them at least three times a week,” she explained.

However, her best remedy is to avoid places which triggers her anxiety.
“I don’t go to the shops without preparing myself mentally,” she said.
At one time, she suffered a sudden uncontrollable fear while filming a scene on a rooftop.

“Luckily the crew knew of my situation and gave me Rescue Remedy. I used to be very quiet and reserved and people would think I was arrogant but I was just shy,” she said.


Auditioning for the role of Simi was her major debut entry into entertainment sector. “I had a few modelling jobs after school and a few adverts, nothing major. When I read about the auditions for Isithembiso on social media I jumped at it,” she recalled.

She was the last person to audition and had to kiss Zamani Mbatha, who plays Zamani on the show.


Only after the audition, the two noticed they share the same surname, and it sounded like a taboo for them, good enough, their sharing of the same surname was only coincidental as they found out later.
“In Zulu culture people who share the same surname are usually from the same clan and they’re related.

“My dad is a very traditional Zulu man and he wouldn’t have been happy if we were related,” Nandi said.

Her family is supportive, her teacher mom, Zandile, and dad Mduduzi, a magistrate, are her biggest fans. While her sisters, accountant Pamella (33) and marketing student Azanda (21), are also possessive is as far as their sister is concerned.

Nandi was once rumoured to be dating Zamani, but this is what she had to say in response to the gossip; “We’re like brother and sister. We’re not dating.”


Meanwhile, Nandi is seeing vocalist and producer Tellaman, whom she met through a mutual friend, they have been dating for almost a year.
“It’s weird dating someone in the industry because people are always watching you,” she said; adding that Tellaman has some calm energy that also helps her manage her anxiety.


Playing the character Simi on the Isithembiso set helps her keep worry out. “Simi is such a juicy character it’s impossible not to give your all when playing her,” Nandi said.

The character ‘Simi’ depicts a young rural girl who left her home in KwaZulu-Natal to study medicine in the City of Gold. Simi lacks good judgement she fails to see the bad in people and is soon sucked into the dark underbelly of the concrete jungle.

The show is so thrilling– and Nandi is catching up. “I love Simi’s innocence. But she trusts too easily,” she said.


Like Simi, Nandi also comes from KZN and left her hometown, Newcastle, to study public management and governance at the University of Johannesburg, but she hated it.

“I initially wanted to study law, but there was no space. I dropped out during second year and enrolled to study law at Unisa instead,” she said. She has since put her law degree on hold and at least for now, she is here to stay.

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