Shoki Mmola (Celia) reveals the real reason she left Skeem Saam after 10 years


Former Skeem Saam actress Shoki Mmola unexpectedly withdrew from the show to grow her skills in theatre.

Mmola was playing the sweet Celia Magongwa, who later turned vicious, before suddenly disappearing from the youth drama without a proper exit line.

“I just decided to leave Skeem Saam after playing the character for 10 years because I wanted a new challenge.

“It was time for me to venture into new spaces.

“I started feeling like I was in corporate because I woke up each day to wear the same face of Celia. I wanted to and had to choose something different,” said Mmola.

Soon after leaving the SABC1 drama, Mmola bagged a role in the globally recognised, award-winning play Ruined, which opened for the first time in South Africa.

Mmola plays the character of Salima, retelling the story of a real-life woman who lived in the Democratic Republic of Congo and suffered brutal treatment during the civil war.

“Salima was abducted from her own house while her husband was out on something she had asked him to do. The men did whatever they wanted to do with her in the presence of her child and then killed the baby while she watched.

“They took them to some place where they had to fight

I woke every day to wear the same face of Celia Magongwa

for their survival each day but when they left, they went to Nandi’s tavern or brothel where it was also violent but better than where they had been.”

She said playing the character had sparked her interest in the war and left her questioning how many women went

through the same thing. The characters speak Lingala, Swahili and French to retell the women’s stories authentically.

“I am in love with theatre but I cannot reveal what is on the cards for me in this entertainment industry. I love directing but I don’t have the patience.

I know that I am an excellent writer, and we will see where that takes me,” she said.

Mmola said she was enjoying theatre and had washed off Celia from her true self and was ready for the next “strong woman character” she can dress up as to tell her story.

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