's delivered a sterling debut performance in his role as Pule
on e.tv's soapie Rhythm City.
He's also delivered starring stuff in SABC2's brand campaign ad
and since his burst onto the scene I've wanted to know more about him.
On Thursday I caught up with him for us in between him being at school - he's in Grade 11 - and his filming for RC.
Here's what he had to say:
You've been wow in both SABC2's brand campaign ad
and as Pule in Rhythm City
- where have you been all our lives?Themba:
With Rhythm City I have to say I was at the right place at the right time. I went to a workshop that was set up by my agency and I rubbed shoulders with the Creative Director Rolie Nikiwe of Rhythm City.
He said he'd like to work with me - I don't know what influenced him - he spoke to us about what he does on the show, how he writes and after the workshop he said he wanted to write something for me.
After I finished the SABC2 ad - which I got from a casting for a Sunlight ad - I got a call from him saying that I must come to start shooting Rhythm City.
Pule's aged 11 yet you're actually 17 - it's not possible. Themba
: *laughs* Yes in most of my commercials I play a kid - when you look at me on screen you really think: "That boy might be 11," but in my mind I know I'm older. I'm glad I'm able to do it - I have a brother who's 10 so I know how they think and I use my height to good advantage. God gave me this body so I use it to my advantage to entertain and lure people into thinking I'm a kid. Tashi:
Yes you can bring your mature intrepretation to the character for added depth. Themba:
Yes, for me it's easy, I can get into the character really quickly.Tashi:
Do you find people speak to you as if you're younger?Themba:
Yes, when they start a conversation they look at me and go "What's up?" as if I'm younger but then when they speak to me they see I'm more mature and realise "This boy is older." I used to be very shy when people asked me but now I've accepted it and when people ask I'm much more open. Tashi:
With your presence all over TV - what are things like in the real world - at school?Themba:
You don't want to know. When I go to the local Spar shop to get things for my mother ... to think that so many people recognise me. At school people are like: "Themba's doing Pule," and people I don't know are coming up to me asking "Can we have an autograph?" Everyone's like "Themba-Themba, Pule-Pule, Rhythm City. Okay
. " Tashi:
What are your plans for the future?Themba
: I want to try to get a bursary to study acting at AFDA - it's a school for acting and production - and then when I'm in my early to late forties I'd like to go behind-the-scenes. Tashi:
Tell us more about you - where do you hang out, what do you get up to when you're not filming?Themba:
I live in Ekhuruleni on the East Rand and I go to school in Germinston. I play a little soccer but I've been acting since primary school - most of my life. When I got to High School I did drama from Grade 8 to 10. At the moment we don't have a drama teacher, she left, Miss Cunningham, I think she did a really good job with me - she said I had the potential to carry on, to direct a school play too.
At the moment we don't have a lot people who are enthusiastic about drama and it's a bit quiet so I'm doing a teenage campaign documentary with teenagers on my street. I'm just giving it a hand, trying to see if I can do it.Tashi:
TVSA'ers have been very impressed with your tsotsi taal - are you a tsotsi by night? How did you manage to master it?Themba:
I live in a township and I've heard the slang words and language for most of my life. For me I'm used to it - I speak it with my friends - but when I speak to my parents I speak in an appropriate manner. *laughs* Tashi:
*laughs* What's the most challenging thing about acting?Themba:
Adapting to your character - getting to know your character in such a way ... for me I have to be aware of not putting my own age onto the character - that's the challenge. I've never faced the challenge of needing to do a lot of research and so on - a street kid, I've seen them around all my life so it's not that hard to act.Tashi:
What's the best thing?Themba:
Being around everyone that I'm acting with, them giving me the courage that I can do it. What you've said - that people say I'm doing a good job with the tsotsi taal, I enjoy that; adapting my character and becoming it. Tashi:
Can you give us a scoop on Pule's storyline - what can we expect over the next couple of weeks?Themba:
I can say, Pule is going to run away and then Suffo's going to look for him. He's going to find him and that's when you're going to hear the real story about Suffo's life. I'm sorry but Pule's story might be coming to an end soon - I'm shooting my final episode on Monday (today - 9 June).Tashi:
The final-final one? Is it definite or is there the chance you'll come back?Themba:
It's for now, so he might come back.Ends