The film and television industry is made up of talented individuals, their vibrant personalities and talents captivating our imaginations.
One such individual is Bheki Sibiya, a man whose talents have seen him become a well-known South African producer, director, cinematographer and become known for his role as Bheki Sotobe on Muvhango, a soapie aired on SABC 2. He has also starred in other series such as Going up, Sorted and the police procedural drama series Zero Tolerance.
Acquiring his diploma in Speech and Drama from Natal Technikon, which is now known as the Durban University of Technology, in 1997, as well as taking part in a film course at AFDA, before landing his first starring role in the Mzansi Magic drama series eHostela, not many know that Bheki hails from Section 5, Madadeni.
Through his perseverance, dedication and love for the film industry, Bheki is a nominee for favourite actor on Mzansi Viewers Choice Awards. A nomination which he is exceptionally proud of.
At first, I was shocked and surprised; but happy at the same time. It was unexpected, but I am happy that I am recognised as an actor; to the extent where people nominate me as their favourite actor,” Bheki says.
Bheki explains his career in the film industry which spans over 20 years, began through the various struggles and exploitation he came across. “I started at the theatre and I grew from there, before deciding to start my own company.”
Throughout his years in the film and television industry, Bheki explains he has seen both himself and the industry develop; while helping others along their way in the industry.
“I was able to develop a lot of people who are now well-known artists, some of whom are working under big production houses. But the industry has not developed into the standard I wanted. I would have loved to have an art centre in Madadeni/Newcastle, something I had hoped to achieve by this time. But based on the challenges we have as a country, especially under Arts and Culture I am unable to develop my town.”
With a deep-seated passion for the film industry, what led Bheki to take up a career in the sector?
“The passion and love I have for art have both played a role. I’ve been an actor throughout my upbringing. Even at school, I was involved with drama. Growing up, I used to perform at schools and churches, even in supermarkets,” he smiles.
What are some of the highlights of Bheki’s career?
“I don’t even know where to start. Firstly, I was one of the actors of Muvhango, Bay of Plenty and other productions as well. I also received an international award for best director. Furthermore, I did and still do a lot of productions for Etv, Mzansi Magic and SABC. I also recently appeared on Uzalo, The Herd, Ifalakhe and I won best Actor award on Samuel Sabela Mabhumu Awards,” he explains.
Throughout the years, Bheki explains he has also learned valuable life lessons.
“I’ve grown so much, and I am able to help others grow as well, and to me, that is growth in itself. My advice to youngsters in Madadeni and Newcastle is respect. Respect not only your elders but everyone else, including your peers. Stay away from bad things, such as Wonga and other substances. One of my biggest wishes is that the government intervenes and give the youth something to keep busy with. For example, an arts centre or sport and recreation centre.”
With his sights set on developing others, while he grows in the film and television industry, Bheki Sibiya is a true local icon, who is set to go the distance.