Tema Sebopedi spent years as a soft spoken, salon owner who also happened to be Sechaba’s wife in Isidingo, however when she suddenly left the show in 2018, there were rumours of diva tendencies having had carried her away.
But when she showed up up at the Move offices, there were no elements of diva-tendencies in her.
She was lively and happy for having had returned to the small screen after a 13-month break. Tema (35) is the face behind the character Tshegofatso “Tshego” Morule in Mzansi Magic’s The Throne. She’s the first wife of Prince Sello Morule, played by Zolisa Xavula.
She spoke about her new character; “Oh, Tshego! I’m much sweeter than she is. She is calculating and cold. I could also be that way, but I choose to not be. She is educated and refined.
“Confidence is one of the things we have in common. I would not have been able to give her the authenticity she deserved if I did not have confidence from within.
“I was intrigued by her composure and her calmness. For me, that was a challenge, because my personality is extroverted, so I had to practise how I would show emotion the way she would. Even her smiles could not be too broad because that is not how she would smile.”
Tema holds a Bachelor of Arts honours degree in motion picture performances from AFDA.
Tema said she uses Susana Bloch’s Alba Emoting tool when practicing and getting herself ready emotionally. Alba Emoting is a way of regulating one’s emotions through breathing, facial expression, and posture.
“It‘s not enough for me to say that, when I need to cry in a scene I will think of my father’s funeral when the coffin was being lowered.
“What happens 10 years down the line when I’m over that image? I need to dig deeper than that as an actor. Even the register of my voice has to be different,” she said.
Tema is an actress of all characters, she doesn’t struggle to get into different roles. “As an actor I understand that whatever character traits I must portray I must remember that I need to be real and vulnerable. I always have to be in control, not vice versa,” she said.
The set is constantly filled with seasoned actors including Tsholo Matshaba, Monnye Kunupi and Lerato Zah Moloi. At first Tema was star-struck, but did not let their presence affect her, she did not feel inferior to them.
“It has been an absolute pleasure and dream come true to work for the Fergusons [Shona and Connie]. The whole production team was extremely professional and wonderful to work with. I was given direction, but I was also allowed to interpret the character the way I understood her,” she said.
The seasoned actress recently gave a social-media class on kissing convincingly on-screen. When it comes to kissing Zolisa, Tema told Move that it was quite strange because even though they knew each other, they didn’t have a romantic relationship whatsoever.
“We had both read the script and we knew what was coming. Before the first kiss we quickly had a discussion on how we wanted it be and we were both very professional about it,” she added.
However, as fans were geared to have more of her talent, it is painful that the show is coming to an end. The show hasn’t been renewed and will go off screens soon. She has something to part way with.
“I just got there so this was such a tease, but a wonderful experience. I will not say much about what is coming, but I will say this, The Throne viewers are psychic. Tshego is there to ensure justice is served. Many people will be vindicated,” she said.
She and Tshego share identical traits, but there’s one area in which the relationship is oil and water: the love department. Tshego is hunting for love and Tema isn’t all that concerned about that. “I’m not actively looking for love because as I have grown, I learnt God is love and He lives inside of me, which means I have love in my heart. As for having a life partner, the search continues,” she said.
Since leaving SABC3’s Isidingo 13 months ago, she’s been working hard to spruce up her craft.
“I have been working on myself physically and spiritually. I have been fasting and that has even helped me lose weight, which wasn’t part of the plan. I have never felt so comfortable with myself. I like myself more now,” she said.
Tema has great hopes for her future she would love to work with Hollywood filmmakers DeVon Franklin and Tyler Perry. “I have studied them and visualised myself working with them,” she said.
EARNING YOUR STRIPES
How she got her own place in the sun, Tema said she worked her way up and believes everyone should succeed in music on merit and having the necessary qualities. She also believes that one need some form of training to do well in the industry.
“Before anyone talks about ‘opening up the industry’, they must first clean it up. I know there may be backlash for this, but there are people who don’t deserve to be in the spaces they’re in because they do not qualify to be there. Others are there because of social-media followers while others lay on producers’ couches.
“In no other industry can someone decide they want to do something, and they just do it the next day, without any training. No one can wake up and say ‘I want to be a doctor,’ and be allowed to do open-heart surgery the next day. So why is it okay in the entertainment industry?
“I know I’m an underdog in the industry, and that’s fine, because when things pop off, they will really pop off. People will truly see what I’m truly capable of doing,” said Tema.