By Temba Msiza: She is one of the most popular actors on SABC 1’s most watched telenovela, Uzalo. She plays the character of MaMlambo, a woman who is extremely controversial and a loyal Christian. Actress Gugu Gumede who is only 25 years old and the daughter of Honourable MP Zanele kaMagwaza Msibi, lets us into her private life as she shares more about her career, religion, family and the entertainment industry.
- Who is Gugu?
I am 25-year old, passionate and driven woman – with a deep passion for acting and business. My joy is rooted in my God, my family and the church. I lead a very simple life, but it brings me so much peace.
- What similarities do you have with the character you play on Uzalo?
It’s funny because my character and I are so different from one another. MaMlambo is very opinionated, loud, bold, a gossip and a man-stealer. I, on the other hand, keep to myself. Although I must admit, I am loud in an environment where I feel safe, but I don’t like to draw too much attention to myself in unfamiliar territory. The biggest thing we have in common though, is the love of the church – this would have to be the biggest one.
- Uzalo being the most watched telenovela in South Africa at the moment, how have people received your character (MaMlambo)?
I am incredibly humbled with the way that people have fallen in love with this character. She is flawed, but again, this makes her human and relatable to people. It has been amazing to see the response from people towards the show, and for us as the cast, we feel immensely proud of the work we’ve put in and the great reception we have received.
- What advice do you have for young actors who want to get into the industry?
HUMILITY. I simply cannot stress this enough, actors must remain humble at all times. There is a great need and importance for one to learn humility even before their careers have taken off, so that when the time comes for them to make it big, it is already a norm to them. This industry changes people, especially when they have tasted even the slightest bit of fame, they become different people. I am a firm believer in the fact that when you humble yourself, God lifts you up. Loving people, especially the ones your work with; from the cast, to the crew, to the caterers – love and respect each and every one of them; one’s actions and behaviour are remembered long after their presence.
- Your mother is deputy minister Zanele Magwaza-Msibihow did you convince her that you wanted a career in entertainment and how did she take it?
My mother is simply the most amazing and understanding person I have ever known. She adores us and has always been extremely supportive and accepting as a parent. Although it was a bit difficult getting her to understand my passion (like a lot of parents, she preferred I go into law), she supported me all the way. I am extremely blessed to have her by my side.
- Tell us about your relationship with Pastor Alph Lukau.
My biological father passed away 10 years ago, Pastor Alph Lukau took on the role of my spiritual father twoyears ago, but blood could not make us any closer. He has become my father and he is always so supportive of me in every way.
- What do you do to relax?
This will sound a bit boring, but I am an indoors person. I love a good movie indoors, although I have a slight obsession with catching late-night movies during the week where I’m usually the only person in theatre. I love it. I enjoy a good book and I absolutely love cooking – it calms me.
- What can fans expect from you in the future? (Any fun stuff coming?)
I can’t speak a lot about future projects, but people will get to see different sides of me onscreen soon. I can’t wait!
People of Mzansi, keep up with the gorgeous Gugu on Instagram