Actress Ayanda Nhlapo returns to our screens in the new film Isimangaliso, which premieres December 23, 2023 on Mzansi Magic. Nhlapo portrays Zinzi, an accomplished young mother who raised her son independently. Zinzi’s love for her son knows no limits, and she ensures his happiness and well-being through great effort. Despite challenges as a young mother, Zinzi fought to provide through sacrifices. Nhlapo is known for roles in Isono, Mtv Shuga down south season 2, and A-List on BET Africa. She took a near two-year step back from acting. I spoke to Ayanda about the movie and upcoming projects.

I’m curious what inspired you to do a holiday film this year?

At the beginning of this year, I set a clear intention to delve into movie acting.  When the prospect of auditioning for “Isimangaliso” arose, I grasped it eagerly. The fact that it is a Christmas-themed movie served as an added bonus, fulfilling a long-held aspiration to contribute to a festive film. Watching Christmas movies has been a treasured tradition since my childhood, making it incredibly fulfilling to now play a lead role in a proudly South African Christmas movie

There are so many great Christmas movies out there. How different is this movie?

What distinguishes this Christmas movie is its atypical nature. It possesses a profoundly touching and heartwarming storyline centered around family bonding, even amidst differences. The narrative revolves around a father seeking a second chance with his son and a devoted mother caring for her son since day one. The emotional depth arises from the realisation that this might be their son’s last Christmas

You always seem to have your hands in so many things – TV presenting, acting gigs, influencer work. Not to mention running your own fashion business on the side. How do you manage to juggle it all so well?

Yes, I’m a multi-talented creative, immersed in TV presenting, acting, and fashion. While I occasionally undertake influencer work, I wouldn’t strictly label myself as an influencer. Managing these diverse roles efficiently often prompts questions about my balancing act. The answer is simple: Energy flows where energy goes. Dedication, time management, and discipline are key. By pacing myself and refraining from comparisons with others’ journeys, I navigate my path at my own pace.

One of the most important things we can do as people is taking time to reflect, what are you most thankful for this year?

Reflection holds significant value in my life. Creating moments of solitude to slow down, pause, and reflect is crucial. In these quiet moments, I center myself, listen intently, and honour my feelings. Solitude and reflection serve as a check-in, allowing me to stay true to myself and provide what I need to continue stronger and wiser.

My gratitude extends to my family, especially my mother, who acts as my constant source of encouragement, wisdom, and support. She is my manager, therapist, and best friend. I’m also thankful for the remarkable people I’ve collaborated with and the continuous opportunities that come my way. Above all, I’m grateful to myself for resilience, hard work, determination, and growth. Thanks to everyone supporting my journey, and ultimately, my deepest gratitude goes to God’s grace.

Hopes for 2024?

My aspirations for 2024 are to elevate every aspect of my life. I desire growth and improvement in all that I do. Great health, abundant blessings, and positive vibes encompass my hopes. Ultimately, I envision 2024 as my best year, notwithstanding the inevitable challenges and downturns it may bring.

Isimangaliso, Saturday 23 December at 20:30pm on Mzansi Magic, channel 161


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