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Who Is Masasa Mbangeni? | Biography/Profile/History Of South African Film Actress and Television Award-winner Masasa Mbangeni

South African Film and Television Award-winner Masasa Mbangeni speaks about finally getting recognition for her acting and the challenges of the industry

Known for her phenomenal portrayal of the conniving and ruthless Thembeka on Scandal!, Masasa says winning a SAFTA is confirmation that she’s on the right track.

“Winning this award is a beautiful affirmation that I am on the right path. Often one thinks that the work happens in a vacuum. That no one sees it or engages with it. Then this happens and you’re reminded that everything is worth it,” she says.

When she started out on Scandal! almost five years ago, Masasa was still a newbie in the industry, but it was not long before she made her presence felt, becoming one of the most hated — and perversely loved — characters on Scandal!

You have to learn to train that little voice in your head that tells you: ‘you’re not good enough’ While she enjoys her convincing portrayal of the character, she admits that the misconceptions about playing such a character can be hurtful.

“Some people often think that you are what you play. On the one hand it’s a huge compliment to be that convincing but on the other hand misconceptions, can be very hurtful. South African audiences have evolved since the days of legendary female villains, played deftly by Pamela Nomvete, so thanks to her, I don’t get any physical abuse,” she says.

Amongst other challenges she’s encountered in her career is the pressure to stay relevant in an ever-changing industry, as well as over-coming self-doubt.

“You have to learn to train that little voice in your head that tells you: ‘you’re not good enough’. You have to get so good at not listening to that voice and persevering through the doubt,” she says.

While she’s ecstatic at winning the SAFTA, she says she’s been blessed to have worked with incredible actors such as Sello Maake ka Ncube, Nomhle Nkonyeni and Nthathi Moshesh — all whom inspired her decision to become an actress.

And although she loves acting, Masasa would also like to try her hand at producing and directing, and is already working on a few projects through her company Bokamo Productions.


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