Gia Kaplan | Dec 5th, 12:44
JOHANNESBURG – Los Angeles–based actress and singer Nondumiso Tembe says perceptions of black people and Africans in Hollywood are still very narrow–minded. The South African born actress, who joined the cast of popular soap Generations this week, said black actors, writers and producers are taking ownership of how their stories are told, ensuring that perceptions slowly begin to change. She added there is also an extraordinary community of passionate open–minded artists in Hollywood.
Tembe, who has previously starred in Hollywood shows such asTrue Blood and NCIS, is playing the role of Phumelele Miya, aka Miss Mya, in Generations.
Miya is an accomplished and worldly fashion executive who was raised in New York, but is originally from South Africa. She said while she doesn't want to reveal too much, her character will bring an exciting element to the soap. “She is feisty, sexy and confident and a whole lot of trouble! She also has a wild, dark side.” Tembe said she took the role on the popular soap because she feels it is important for South African actors to contribute their talents to the local industry. “I always want to keep one foot firmly planted on African soil. What is the point of achieving success and finding opportunities abroad, if you don't plough back into your own community?” The Yale School of Drama graduate said her first big break in her acting career was her recurring role on True Blood. “Each character I have played has come with its own unique challenges and lessons.” She said her most recent role as the feisty young lawyer Susan in a South African tour of David Mamet's provocative play Race was one of the most intellectually challenging and meaningful roles she's ever played. “What was so rewarding was that it was such a socially relevant and pertinent piece. My love for theatre will always run passionately through my veins, it is home for me.” She said working on Generations has been an adjustment because she is not used to working in a multi–camera medium but adds she is learning something new everyday. “I am used to single–camera dramas. I am learning to work with the camera in a way I never have before and I am learning so much. I feel like my craft is deepening and expanding in a way I didn't expect.”