Sello Maake-KaNcube still calls himself an emerging actor
After 35 years of captivating audiences on screen and on stage, the stupendous practitioner and producer Sello Maake KaNcube, interestingly still regards himself as an “emerging actor” and at a stage where he is beginning to see how much he knows as far as the acting world is concerned.
Such would be a hard fact to swallow about the revered icon who has mesmerised audiences around the world in high profile productions on stage (Woza Albert, The Suit, The Good Woman of Sharkville, Othello, The Rivonia Trial), on the small and big screens (A Dry White Season, Bopha!, Taxi to Soweto, Othello: A South African Tale). Perhaps better known in SA for his signature role as Archie Moroka on SABC1’s Generations, or now as Derrick Nyathi on etv’s Scandal, Sello is currently bringing it on as the villain Rolex on Rockville (also on e.tv) as well.
The MA screenwriting graduate from Leeds Met University and multi award-winning (DALRO Award, Pan African Heritage Broadcast Achievement Award, FNB Vita Award, Standard Bank Young Artist Award, and a Naledi Award) star also left audiences mesmerised internationally when he played the role of Mufasa on the worldwide stage hit, The Lion King. He also had London’s West End audiences eating in the palm of his hand when he played the title role in Othello opposite Antony Sher for Britain’s Royal Shakespeare Company. Interestingly, he also reveals that he is ready to produce for TV as well after his stint as a theatre productions maker as well.
Sello says he was moved to the acting world “from the first instance I saw a play for the first time in 1975”, and kick starter his make believe career as an amateur in 1976. “I knew all I wanted is to be was an actor. So in all I have been at it for 40 years and professionally for 35.”
“Firstly: One of the great British classical actor is quoted as saying that it takes 25 years to make an actor, and with my meagre 35 years as a professional actor, I was never exposed to acting material as he was,” states Sello profoundly. “Secondly, I read recently from an acting book that: ‘An actor is a being who is endowed with the ability to see and experience things which are obscure to the average person" and that the real task of the creative artist is not merely to copy the outer appearance of life, but to interpret life in all its facets and profoundness, to show what is behind the phenomena of life, to let the audience look beyond life's surfaces and meanings. Inspired by these insightful observations by master of the craft, I can only realise that I am only just getting started,” he says emphatically.
On what the masses should still expect from him, the star says: “I don't know what calibre of an actor I am. As an actor all I know is that I am fascinated by the human condition, from the boy who smokes nyaope to presidents of our country. As for what I'm planning to do and hope to do, I am courtesan I take what is available and the highest bidder. But unlike a prostitute, I invest in the mastery of the craft and its elevation to unequivocal reverence.”
“I moved into directing so as to create stories of the life experience that has shaped me and continue to unfold. Producing makes me recognise the entrepreneurial side of our business. And yes I will be producing for television now. It's time. Ke Nako,”he reveals. “I am ready. The readiness is all you know.”
He also reveals that the international market is under his radar as well. “I had already hit the overseas market when I went to the UK with “The Lion King”. He says that that stint was short lived and he decided to come back home as “I wanted to see my boys mature into young men. Just under a year after having returned ‘I was offered to go play Caliban in Shakespeare's “Tempest” and I gracious turned it down For Dr John Kani to do. But hey, now, it's all systems go. My boys have grown into men. Now the world is my oyster.”
Not one to rest on his laurels, and keep all the attained knowledge, talent and skills to himself, the revered actor has started moving towards sharing what he knows about the industry with young people who have interest in the arts. “The most important thing in life now is the almost completion of the registration of my performing arts academy that I am convinced will be ground breaking.”
“Only when you begin to share what you believe you know can you see how much you know,” reflects Sello with pride about this move. “That comes with how much you can impart and the influence it has on the people you are sharing it with, and that is what this program I am involved in is about,” stated the former resident Director and Associate Artistic Director at Market Theatre about the initiative that will be set in Soweto.
Recently joining some 59 000 people at this year’s 702 Walk the Talk were he walked to raise the profile of sign language teachers and the need for more educators to join this profession, the iconic actor says that he will include sign language on his forthcoming stage production. A father of a deaf kid, Sello, speaking before the walk on the Gauteng radio station, revealed that his child has never had a chance to experience his work. “For once, my baby will be able to experience my work. I am doing this so that people who can’t hear can experience what we all do. All this time, deaf people could only do artisan jobs after matric because of a lack of education opportunities and practitioners to help them attain all these. Deaf people have the mental capacity to be anything that we all can achieve. The more teachers we can get, the more opportunities we can open for them,” he added. By Mandla Motau