From Sosha with love
Born and bred in Soshanguve, just outside Pretoria, Bathabile has always been the refined lady she is today. She says her childhood was pretty normal. “I played in the streets with my friends and neighbours and attended our local primary school. I had to look after my younger brother, clean the stoep and be home by the time the street lights went on.”
While in high school, the family moved to The Orchards and a young Bathabile was enrolled in Loreto Convent. Her younger brother, Kabelo, was enrolled into Christian Brothers College (CBC).
Bathabile’s high school speech teacher unknowingly set the wheels of her showbiz career in motion by suggesting to her parents that they take her to visit the then Technikon Pretoria. “My teracher thought I had something special and luckily for me my late father had given up on the dream of me going to medical school. I applied, auditioned and was accepted. The rest, as they say, is history.”
Bathabile always participated in plays at college but says her most memorable performance was in her second year when she was cast by a visiting director from San Francisco, David Blackwood. “The play was called A Crime In A Mad House and it was set in an institution for the criminally insane. I played the role of the craziest person there – a murderer.” It was during this time that Bathabile got a clearer understanding of what the performance arts entail.
Her first TV role was Magda on Generations. “We were shooting three months in advance and it turned out to be the longest three months of my life because I just could not wait for the show to air. When my first scene was finally on television, I just exploded. The pride on my family’s the faces was priceless,” she says.
But it wasn’t all fun and games. Her character was HIV positive. “I did not know anyone who had HIV/Aids, so I had no point of reference. Luckily for me, the producers allowed me to speak to some people and conduct research. I spoke to my mother, who is a medical practitioner and she put me in contact with a hospice and HIV research centre.”
After her stint in Generations and a previously unsuccessful audition for a role on e.tv’s Scandal!, Bathabile auditioned for another role and got cast as Grace Medupe.
“My character is one complicated woman. She is a single mother of an even more complicated young man, Romeo and an aunt to Kitso. She is a very successful hotel owner. She is also very kind and down to earth, a loyal friend and business partner. She might be doing well in business, but her love life is non-existent. She’s the naïve friend who leads a seemingly boring life but somehow always attracts drama,” Bathabile explains.
But, don’t be fooled by all the glitz and glamour. It takes hard work to succeed. “The work is not at all consis-tent. The industry is really congested so it’s very hard. Young artists need to understand that this is showbiz.
They should also know and understand their money – how to make it work for them and to invest in themselves because they are the business,” the actress advises.
Apart from her acting career, Bathabile and Kabelo also have their own production company called Mash Pictures. “We started in 2008. It’s still very small and not currently functioning as we would like it to, but we continue to learn and work towards making it a success,” she explains.
Being the formidable woman she is, Women’s month is a very special time for Bathabile. “It’s a time to reflect and remember the women who came before us and the struggles and the sacrifices that were made for our generation. We as women are the soil. We birth and raise children, we educate them and we have to think carefully about what kind of effect an impact we want to make,” she says.
Bathabile says her mum is her pillar of strength. “The things she’s had to sacrifice for us to ensure we have a bright future are just amazing.”
Some of the most important lessons she has learnt from her mum are to always be true to who you are and to live life as authentically as you possibly can and not to conform.
More about Bathabile:
Favourite coffee shop?
Mugg & Bean Wonderpark. The staff at this particular branch know about customer service.
Favourite make-up brand?
Favourite show brand?
Converse All Stars
Favourite holiday destination?
I love the Victoria Falls but I’m a big city girl…and you haven’t lived, if you haven’t partied in Bulawayo. Yes, I said it. Zimbabwe…that Bulawayo.