Two of South Africa’s prolific television personalities from the popular ETV soapie “Scandal!” graced our shores with their inspiration this week. The couple; Hungani Ndlovu (22) and Stephanie Sandows (26) have teamed up to reach out to underprivileged kids, educate and unearth new talent.
After struggling to execute his brainchild ideology of having a company aimed at packaging the performing arts curriculum, Ndlovu popularly known as Romeo for his ‘spoilt brat’ role on etv’s soapie, Scandal has finally acquired courage to roll up his sleeve in the cutthroat showbiz industry. The budding actor recently opened up about his prospects and has simply teamed up with his girlfriend and colleague Sandows who plays Ingrid, also on Scandal to reach out to young and upcoming actors.
“It didn’t help me much when I wasn’t on television but I kept the dream alive. I knew there were people who held the same vision. In the beginning I would occasionally hold these engagements with kids and as anticipated people would RSVP, and I’d be expecting a full house only for two people to turn up.
However, this did not deter me. Mind you, this initiative was formed in August 2015 and things then were a tad slow. Luckily, I got a gig on etv’s Scandal and bingo people started to believe in me,” said Ndlovu adding that, “I then met and asked Sandows who is very knowledgeable on casting and acting to join me. We then conceptualized the curriculum that is normally run over a period of 8 weeks. However coming to Botswana we will try and squeeze it in four days and hope at the end these kids would have grasped all the content.”
The duo had been invited to Gaborone, Botswana courtesy of The Dreams Alive Club – where they were engaged as guests and facilitators at several performers workshops which according to the organizers seek to equip artists to use their creative craft and platform in the arts (in Acting, Dance, Presenting, Modeling, Showbiz) towards social and community development- with HIV/ AIDS prevention and Health promotion as the primary subject matter for this series of workshops.
Speaking on the sidelines after a press engagement in Gaborone regarding his four days visit in Botswana, Ndlovu said the expectation is for him and Sandows to unearth, educate and entertain among others; aspiring dancers, models, actors through his company Sans Group courtesy of The Dreams Alive Club. Despite his tender age, Ndlovu seems destined to share all the knowledge he has with budding and aspirant actors.
“I am just a young man looking for results. It’s not like I am impatient. The rest is history. For now I am excited to be in Botswana so as to help open doors of opportunity that were nearly shut on me when I first started. I have brought my
partner too; Sandows who has worked with kids throughout her career. Botswana sure feels like home. Our greatest vision is to empower unprivileged kids by offering them the coveted platform to shine.”
Oozing nothing but positive energy, Ndlovu said his coming to Botswana is simple; “to share his talent particularly with kids. This is actually what we do when we are not in front of flashing cameras. Through our company, Sans Group we seek to bring hope to the younger generation that yes indeed they can both make fledging careers in performing arts.” Furthermore, Ndlovu said, “We are here for the edutainment in the dance, acting, casting and behavioral change. There is talent that goes unnoticed simply because it’s in the wrong place.” Asked how aspiring actors in Botswana should do in order to reach the elite platform, Ndlovu said individual performers should be brave enough to face the vexing industry wrath especially during auditions and trials.
“At the end of the day, it all boils down to good association or networks. Having a good or switched on agency is also critical. One can always be signed to South African agencies whilst staying in Botswana. The likes of Pearl Thusi have managed to get signed in the United States while staying in RSA. It’s possible. The other is just talent and language. I have been to numerous auditions with no luck simply because others looked for a particular language.”
The Dreams Alive Club patron and Specially-Elected Gaborone Councillor, Kagiso Ntime extoled sincere appreciation to the RSA duo for having taken time out of their tight schedules to make such a noble trip to Botswana.
“I am extremely happy to host you here. I am a very firm supporter of the arts as I have multiple heads in this industry. I am the patron of Botswana Music Union (BOMU) and also the Vice Chairperson of the Ministerial Task Force on the Arts, so I am well vested here. We all know the impact of The Dreams Alive Club, and we have hosted Hollywood stars too through this initiative. I know you won’t be strangers here as we are aware of your roles in the South African soapie. I too like some of the productions. You coming to share your experiences in Botswana is highly welcome.”