The Deep’s Zak
Isidingo’s newest cast member is setting tongues wagging. Alyssia Birjalal chats to Fikile Mthwalo.
We were introduced to her as Rajesh Kumar’s trusty PA. Not only will she go beyond the call of duty to make sure that her boss has everything he needs, but even Barker Haines wanted to poach her from Rajesh. Ntombizakhe Khumalo, called Zak on the show, has gone from trusty PA to, well, trusty mistress. After her romp with Rajesh this week, lines have been blurred and the drama will be intensified. We chatted to Fikile about her role, viewer reception and the steamy love affair with Jack Devnarain’s Rajesh.
When did you first appear on Isidingo?
I started shooting on July 24 but made my first appearance on October 2. So by the time I got on to screen I was already over two months with the cast.
Tell me about your character?
|Fikile Mthwalo PIC: RIKKI HIBBERT PHOTOGRAPHY|
I play Ntombizakhe Khumalo, affectionately known as Zak. She is a new resident in Horizon Deep and PA to Rajesh Kumar. She comes in as a bright, efficient and prim and proper woman. She grew up in Lesotho because her dad had a job as a lecturer at the National University of Lesotho. Zak is well travelled and has been PA to other high powered businessmen, so Rajesh is not the first. But he is happy to have snapped her up.
Tell us more about your affair with Rajesh.
Rajesh and Zak shared a good working relationship. Zak looks up to him and is inspired by him. Rajesh is her role model. Aside from their working relationship, Rajesh opened up to Zak about his personal life and took her as his confidant. This is when the dynamics of their relationship changed.
How is your relationship with the rest of the Isidingo cast?
They all are amazing. They have been of great support to me. And they are kind and patient. We get along really well. And it’s very hard being serious. It’s almost like being in a circus and minutes before going on set I literally need to calm myself down and switch to being the serious PA. They have made me at home and I’m privileged to work with such fantastic people.
And the viewers’ response?
It has been phenomenal. And has exceeded my expectations. People have been so engrossed in the show and with my role. I always get comments like who is this woman who has finally got Rajesh off his straight and narrow path. I’m absolutely grateful for all the good reviews that I’ve got so far and I hope to keep viewers entertained.
What other acting work have you done prior to Isidingo?
I have been in the industry since 2009, I have acted in many commercials, I’ve acted in one episode of Soul City and in a short film titled Through Her Eyes – but I consider Isidingo as my “big break”.
|Fikile Mthwalo as Zak (Picture: RIKKI HIBBERT PHOTOGRAPHY)|
Who is Fikile Mthwalo?
I am an all round creative. I write scripts for film productions and am involved in other aspects of film making as well. When I’m in Cape Town I record vocals. I love singing, however Zak doesn’t sing so viewers will never hear me sing. Not many people know this, but music is a big part of my life. In the future I do want to pursue a music career but right now I am focusing on my acting and have put music on the back-burner.
What type of music do you enjoy and who are your favourite singers?
I like fusion – anything different is always good. I’m kind of like a hippy in that way. I listen to Beatenberg and Goldfish.
Where were you born and raised.
I was born and raised in Maseru, Lesotho. My dad is from Lesotho and my mom is from Tanzania. I moved to Bloemfontein where I completed my Grade 11 and 12, thereafter I lived in Cape Town from 2009 to last year and then moved to Joburg to pursue my acting career. I also took a gap year when I visited Amsterdam for a year in 2008.
What’s next for Zak?
She and Rajesh get closer and closer. Zak is all alone in Horizon Deep, and Rajesh is having problems with Priya so naturally they fall into their romance. Their love affair evolves and they do fall in love eventually.
Catch Fikile on Isidingo, weekdays at 7.30pm
This article first appeared in the SMtv issue of 02 November 2014.