'Inxeba' star Bongile Mantsai talks 'Scandal!', theatre, music
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eTV’s Scandal! has a new villain in town. Known best for his award-winning role as Vija on Inxeba(The Wound), Bongile Mantsai is thrilled to join Etv’s Scandal! as Mthunzi Mayisa.
Born in Stellenbosch and growing up in a small township of Kayamandi, Mantsai is a pastor’s kid and has a musical background which is influenced by the church.
He says his first introduction to the arts was through music, “as I use to compose music for the choir. From there I went to the University of Stellenbosch and that’s how I got into theatre."
With the days counting down until his debut on Scandal!, we chatted to Mantsai about his new role on the soapie and his love for theatre.
From the big screens to the small screens, what does this new phase of your career entail and mean to you?
Two different environments with different challenges but very enjoyable and amazing.
Tell us about your new characte r.
He is the new villain, son to Maduna who is the domestic worker for the Langa family. He’s unpredictable an character which you can’t really place him. He will do anything to get what he wants.
What can we expect from you as an actor on TV?
A fresh new approach to the art.
Your acting career, where did it all start?
I started in theatre in 1997. I was writing music for theatre plays and from there I got roles and the rest is history
What would you say is the best role you have played and what role do you aspire to play?
Theatre: the role of John in Mies Julie was my favourite. Screen: Vija on Inxeba was also my favourite. I aspire to play any role that is challenging.
Are you always playing bad boy/villain/danger inspired roles?
I have played multiple roles mostly in theatre, so on the screen I still need to explore playing a good guy.
Which point of your career can you pinpoint as the point of growth for you?
Every point of my career is a point of growth because no day is the same and there is a challenge in everything.
Taking on the role as Vija in Inxeba: How was that entire experience for you and what was your aim in portraying that character?
Playing Vija was very challenging because of his sexual orientation because that meant that I had to tap into a world that I was not familiar with. The aim was to tell a story that I have never told before, a story that is important and relevant to our society.
As a person off screens - What kind of a person are you?
I am interested in working with young people, I’m a hard worker and I love exploring new things.
What is your ultimate goal with acting?
To do an international movie.
Are South Africans ready to tackle issues through storytelling? If no - why do you think that is the case?
I would say we are scared of telling our own stories and the reason being there were few platforms for African people to tell their own stories and hence other people find it interesting to interpret our own stories and tell them in their own way.
Historically, we always felt comfortable to tell our stories to others who had resources to bring them to the masses.
Any last words?
I want to encourage young people to keep working hard towards their goals, keep following their dreams. The reason I’m saying this is because it took me 15 years to reach this point in my life where I feel a new venture has begun for me. Everything takes time but perseverance is important in life.
* Catch Scandal! on eTV, weekdays, at 7:30pm.