Actor Masoja Msiza says that he took a risk by joining the cast of Uzalo knowing his Zulu was more Joburg Zulu than “perfect Zulu.”
But he still wants people to stop judging his use of the language on the show.
The star‚ who plays Nkunzi on the popular soapie‚ moved to Durban several years ago to join the show and told TshisaLIVE that people almost immediately picked up that the Zulu he was speaking was different.
“There are people that detect that I speak Joburg Zulu and criticise it. It doesn’t bother me because even if I know only Joburg Zulu‚ at least it is still Zulu. I think that people must stop criticising it because I taught myself and many (people) have embraced me.”
Some of the other criticisms Masoja says he has heard are related to his dress sense‚ acting and him joining an “amateur soapie”.
He hit back at each one.
On his character’s clothing: “People say the dress code on set doesn’t cut it. It is something that is easy to fix. Rather focus on your life or other things.”
On his acting: “I read a lot to sharpen my tongue and look after myself so that I can be in character. I know that I can act. I know I can even just give people a look and that is enough to show my presence.”
On joining Uzalo when it first started: “A lot of people were saying that Uzalo was an amateur show‚ a creche for actors‚ but I thought they were on to something and took up the job. Something told me this was the right platform for me. It leaves me emotional when I think of what this show has done for me.”
On criticism in general: “I always say you are the one criticising me‚ but let us look at our gravestones. Mine will have all my accolades‚ yours will say ‘what are you looking at?'”
He said Uzalo helped him achieve his higher purpose of being able to reach out to people and touch their lives through his art forms.
“I visit prisons and even mines to perform for them and so I see this as an extension of what I do. The fact that I am on TV opens doors for me. Not that I want to be famous. I want to give back.”