You may have seen Imani Nkosi on Muvhango, well before she died in the soapie, now… get to know Zonke Mchunu, the actress who plays her.
Here are 10 things we discovered about her when we chatted to her recently:
1. She’s currently studying drama at the Durban University of Technology. She’ll be graduating this year in April. Before her character died in the soapie, she was juggling her modules with her roles on Muvhango. Asked how she managed, Zonke said: “It’s not very easy but when you have people helping you with what’s going on in class, submitting assignments and all that, it becomes a bit easier. Every chance I get I go to Durban to see if I’m behind with school work.”
2. She landed her big break as a direct result of Uzalo. , she’s a singer in the Uzalo choir – which is how she met Duma Ndlovu. Uzalo and Duma ran workshops for newcomer actors before Uzalo premiered and she met Duma at the workshops. He told her about the role of Imani, encouraged her to audition and she landed the role after multiple screen-tests.
3. She grew up in the rural area of Kwamaphumulo near Stanger in KZN and moved to Durban in 2010.
4. She didn’t start her studies in drama. After school she went to Berea Tech to study Civil Engineering but she couldn’t finish because of financial problems at home. She applied for financial aid at the Durban University of Technology and they accepted her for drama.
Zonke: “Civil Engineering is something I’ll look to as time goes on. I really love it. I wouldn’t mind going back to finish it but you know, drama is my first love. I wanted to do drama even when I was doing Civil Engineering. I think I might go back to finish it when the time is right but for now I just want to focus on acting.”
5. She was raised by her mother – her father died when she was 11. She has four older sisters and one brother, who’s the youngest of everyone.
Zonke: “It wasn’t very easy. There were a lot of us in a very tiny shack but we went through everyday – it was okay, I was happy. It was one of the things that drove me to be hungry for success and that drove me to give it my all at school, to achieve success to get my family out of poverty.”
6. Her mother works as a cleaner at Zonke’s former high school.
7. Zonke’s full name is: Siziwe Ntombizonke Mchunu.
8. In her free time she likes to dance (at dance studios), hang out with her friends and cook for her family. She loves the movement and storytelling of dance.
Zonke: “Dance heals me. It makes a lot of the worries of the day go away.”
9. She’s single.
10. She flew to Durban on the eve of her Muvhango debut to watch her on-screen arrival with her family.