Soapie star Musa Ngema worries about how he portrays himself in public.
Ngema plays Mazwi Moroka in the soapie Generations: The Legacy. Quiet and shy, he believes living the life of his flashy on-screen character would send a wrong message about his true self. “As actors we start behaving as if we are bigger than other human beings,” he says. “When I introduce myself, I don’t tell people I am an actor.”
Durban-born Ngema, a reserved, polished man, is indeed totally different from Mazwi who tends to be arrogant as he thinks he’s smarter than other people.
Speaking to Time Out, Ngema said he does not embrace the growing culture of celebrities who attend all industry parties just to be seen. He said instead of attending such parties, he would rather relax and read a book. Ngema admits that having two powerful women in his life – his mother and girlfriend of 13 years – has kept him grounded and focused. “My mother and my girlfriend always remind me that I am Musa not Mazwi. “Even when I am at home, I try to be away from this madness that makes you think that you are better than other people. I don’t like to attend events where I know I will be glorified because of my status.”
Ngema refuses to discuss his personal life further because he prefers “to keep it private”. Switching back to his character Mazwi, Ngema says the role has evolved in the past year. Mazwi was first introduced to viewers as Archie Moroka’s long lost son who has come back to claim what is rightfully his. Unlike his brother Smanga – an original Moroka – who grew up with a silver spoon in the mouth, Mazwi is a kasi man who has turned into an intellectual overnight.
When Mazwi was introduced to viewers, he had morals and values, but these had since changed. His quest for power has turned him into an arrogant person who often gets under people’s skin. Ngema admits that Mazwi has grown to become arrogant because of his background.
“Mazwi grew up poor and suddenly finds himself in a rich and powerful family. This makes him arrogant.
“When you give a poor man money, he can easily become arrogant because he believes that he is untouchable.”
Generations: The Legacy’s storyline has changed, exposing Mazwi’s weaknesses especially to those who want to manipulate him into wrong doings.
“He has this sense of entitlement. He thinks that he is entitled to power and hates those who belittle him.”
“Since he wants to be the chief executive and leader of the Moroka business and clan, he wants to appear decisive,” he says. Ngema’s wish is to see Mazwi losing it all and starting all over again. “Right now he has lost himself. It will be a big lesson if he had to start all over again.”
Ngema studied drama at the Durban University of Technology. He has had a few roles on 7de Laan and Rhythm City before joining Generations: The Legacy. He has also played Othello in Shakespeare’s Othello, multiple roles in both The Crucible and Animal Farm and the prince in Cinderella.
For now, Ngema is happy where he is and just wants to focus on perfecting his craft.