Uzalo’s Gugu Gumede: There’s no place for my twang when I play Mamlambo

It’s hard to miss Gugu Gumede’s American twang, which she developed after years of studying in Los Angeles, but when she gets into character for her role as Mamlambo on SABC 1’s popular soapie Uzalo, it “disappears”.

During an interview with TshisaLIVE, the actress said that she wasn’t aware of ever being judged for her accent because she was able to switch between dialects so easily.

“It has never prevented me from getting any roles because I am able to speak in many dialects and so when I get into character it goes away. Normally when you audition for a role you have to go into the audition in character. So for me, there’s no place for my twang when I play Mamlambo. I don’t play Mamlambo with an accent. In fact, I don’t even speak Zulu like Mamlambo,” she said.

The former Generations actress has become a major part of the Uzalo cast as a middle-aged woman and said that people often assumed she was older than she is because of the role.

“This is probably the biggest misunderstanding about me and it stems from me playing an older woman. They are surprised when I tell them that I am a 25-years-old. They get the shock of their lives.”

As the daughter of National Party leader Zanele Magwaza-Msibi, Gugu has also had to fight the misconception that she got her roles because of political influence, and that she may have political ambitions herself.

“I have only ever wanted to be an actress and I don’t think my mother ever wanted me to go into politics because she had seen that it was such a messy game. She wanted me to go into law. She wanted me to be a lawyer. She is the most supportive person in the world and when I told her I wanted to be an actress she tried to convince me otherwise but then told me to go do my thing.”

Gugu said that despite her family’s careers in the spotlight, she has no interest in being famous.

“People think that because I am an actress, I want to be famous and I don’t. I am really shy and I would rather spend my time at home with my family or dog. So, when I walk in the mall and people think that I am loud like my character I go into my cocoon. I have no desire to be famous. Before Instagram I was an actress. I just want to do my job.”

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