Meet Hungani Ndlovu - Scandal!'s Troublemaker
How Hungani’s career in dancing transformed him into one of SA’s best loved soap opera villains.
If you are a fan of E.Tv’s weekly drama series Scandal, you are most likely a fan of Romeo Medupe, portrayed by Hungani Ndlovu.
Ndlovu is a talent that brings the character to life and leaves viewers wondering what mischief he will get up to next. Though Romeo is a troubled child no one wants to have as an enemy and one who is viewed as a pest of note, you can only love how intelligent and charming he is. Taking time to talk to the young actor, it is quickly obvious that he and the character he plays are poles apart.
Living abroad “I started dancing at a very young age in 2011 and was totally convinced that was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” Ndlovu said, explaining that he spent three years in the United States, mainly in Los Angeles, studying and working on his acting and dancing talent.
He finally graduated in Acting For Film. Ndlovu also attended classes from world-renowned choreographers, including Ian Eastwood, WillDaBeast Adams, Parris Goebel and Nick DeMoura to name a few.
“The experience in LA was great. I learned a lot and got to understand how to hustle and grow a thick skin,” he says.
“This prepared me for the acting industry. I got to learn that this industry is full of rejection.”
The 24-year-old says Scandal is his first television job, and it was a bit overwhelming in the beginning since he trained to act in films and not necessarily the small screen. “I didn’t train for TV, so working with multiple cameras was new to me, but nonetheless a great experience. It allowed me an opportunity to work with people I’ve admired for a long time and learn from them,” he says, adding that he is grateful to be among creative people such as the cast and crew of Scandal.
He explains that his first lead role was in Memoir Of An Honest Voice, which went on to be nominated for Best Short Film at the Africa Movie Academy Awards in 2015. The film was also selected in three more festivals in the US.
“People are often shocked when they talk to me and get a calm and decent response – something Romeo would never do,” he says.“Hungani is not a product of rape, like Romeo. He is not necessarily a troublemaker either,” he says. “The similarities between me and Romeo might be our dress sense, but personality-wise I’m more of a reserved kind of guy; something Romeo is definitely not.”
Ndlovu says although he started casually dancing at home, his passion for dance quickly grew into something that he saw it as a career path after meeting and interacting with South African dancer, model and presenter Shelton Forbez, best known as one of the presenters on Vuzu. “Shelton introduced me to dance and kind of showed me that I could turn it into a career,” he says.
Ndlovu says now he is the founder of Sans Group and has a studio in Newtown’s Carfax, where he educates and empowers others in the creative arena, teaching acting, dancing, showbiz and offering photography services. Although doing well in both his crafts (acting and dancing), Ndlovu says he knows he still has a lot of work to do to achieve eveything he has set his sights on. “I still want to dance for young, talented artists such as Nasty-C, act in a film where I portray a younger version of Denzel Washington and also play a serial killer role in a film or the small screen,” he says.
“I am really still trying to find my way in the industry and will probably get more into doing theatre sometime down the line.”