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TVSA Interview: Portia Gumede

Written by Tashi from the blog Interviews on 20 May 2008
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Actress, producer and writer Portia Gumede's currently got two shows on the go on SABC1 with her production company Paw Paw Films.

There's the Shakepearean Izigane ZoBaba on Tuesday nights - which she also stars in - and the legal eagle drama Sokhulu & Partners that premiered on Thursday, two weeks ago.

I caught up with her for us on Friday morning to snoop out what makes her tick. Here's what she had to say:

Tashi: First Paw Paw Films released Izingane zoBaba and now Sokhulu & Partners - how did your production company happen?
Portia: I'd been working with Roberta Durrant, who's a producer for Penguin Films - we'd been working together for five years, me as a freelance writer writing for her.

She understood my ideas and I understood her vision so we said: "Why don't we open a sister company to Penguin?" - where I would get to create my own concepts and have her as a backup in terms of infrastructure and also to learn from her as a producer.

Tashi: What advice do you have for someone wanting to start their own production company?
Portia: I'd say it's a great idea to do it - as with everything in life, one needs to work hard and really be disciplined to do it. If you can get someone to mentor you throughout the process you're lucky because it's difficult and the rules of the game always change.

Tashi: What have you found the most challenging?
Portia: Coming up with an idea that the broadcasters will love but that fits in with the budget they give. It's a budget thing that's been going on for years, from before I was even born, it's not something that can be sorted overnight. Working within the budget and coming up with a high-end product's very challenging.

Tashi: With Izigane, what made you choose to tell the story of King Lear?
Portia: It was more or less inspired by my late father. There were three daughters at my home and when I looked at King Lear I was fascinated to look into it because I had such a great relationship with my father.

I also wanted to ask: what would a woman - who's been given the power of wealth in a corporate world - do? Will she self-destruct in the end?

Tashi: Is King Lear your fave Shakepeare?
Portia: Yes, it is because it's ridiculous for a father to ask any of his daughters: "How much do you love me?" I was very fascinated to see what it's all about - also because culturally, in the black community, we don't do that.

Tashi: Before I saw the show my attitude was that the Kholekile character in the story is the only essentially good one but watching I've had moments of feeling for Buhle and Thembeka.

There's no ways they're justified in their evil doings but for the first time it's dawned on me that they really got a raw deal when it comes to their ability to deal with what's right from wrong - which they got from their father.

Portia: Yes I mean he's raised them to be kickass business woman. He's never connected with them as women, he's raised them as boys and then suddenly he changed the rules on them. He's never shown them emotion - he's only ever shown it to Khokekile - and suddenly he wants Buhle and Thembeka to respond emotionally to him.

Tashi: Yes, Kholekile got a much better chance to be what he's suddenly demanding of them. I don't have any siblings so I'm not familiar with sibling rivalry but as far as I can tell parents - either one or both - are always responsible for it.
Portia: Yes, I come from a family where it's more about business - since I was 10-years old I was a cashier behind a till - but luckily for me, the love was always there. That's what also fascinated me - if it had gone another way, what would have happened? Would we have ended up killing each other for the power of it all?

Tashi: How many siblings do you have?
Portia: Eight of them.

Tashi: Ha - *laughs*
Portia: *laughs*
Tashi: - that could have been interesting! Bongi Ndaba, who plays Thembeka - she's doing such an excellent job.
Portia: She is - and this is like her first leading role. We started together at Natal Tech - she was just a year ahead of me. We started writing together for other things - what we're shooting now, I bought the rights for her play - and she's just been known as a writer so I said: "Come give it a shot," and I'm glad I did.

Tashi: Her eyes and how they tell her story, it finishes me up every episode.
Portia: I know, she's got this comic element without even knowing it.

Tashi: She does and yet it's still tragic.
Portia: I know, yes - she was a beauty working with and I realised, "Oh my goodness, I've met somebody who's really doing it, I must pull up my socks."

Tashi: You say you've bought her play - what's happening with it?
Portia: We're already filming and it's going well so far. It's called Shreds and Dreams - I acted in it as a play and I just fell in love with it and wanted to make a series. SABC 1, when we pitched it, took it.
 
portia_bongi
Bongi and Portia out and about in Cape Town
 
Tashi: When's it going to be on?
Portia: Oooooh, I don't know - they always change their TX date. Right now we're going to be on in 2010, can you believe it? So I'm like "Oh well, maybe it'll be on next year, who knows?"

Tashi: Are you acting in it?
Portia: No, I had to decide, in terms of the journey I'm on of producing - I have to be really hands on to walk away and say "I'm a producer". Even now when I say it I feel like I'm back in school so I need to put aside my acting and focus on my producing - once I feel I'm equipped enough I can focus on both again.

Tashi: Who's in it?
Portia: We've got Linda Sikhulu (in Sokhulu & Partners too), Lerato Moloisane and a newcomer Gugu Masondo. They all came to audition and Gugu - she's going to play the role I played in the play, Nonto - and after I saw her I said: "I'm definitely not playing this role - she's too brilliant, I cannot compete with her. She's brilliant - I have to be the bigger person and accept it."

Tashi: Besides Shreds, what other stories are you gonna be telling next?
Portia: I'm buzzing with ideas but I have to wait to see what other briefs come out from SABC so I can tweak around with ideas to fit the brief. Right now there hasn't really been anything that's tickled my fancy so after Shreds and Dreams I'm jobless. *laughs*.

Tashi: *laughs* If you weren't an actress and producer - what would you be?
Portia: Full time writer. Without a question. Right now I'm writing a children's book - I've set myself six months to finish it.
 

Tashi: When I first saw the news about Sokhulu & Partners my first thought was that it was going to be grey and "educational" in the same way that terrible 90 Plein Street was but it's turned out the opposite.
Portia: *laughs* I'm glad. You know, I believe you can really only write more or less what you know and I wanted to follow the journey of the two brothers.

They're so contrasting to each other - the one's sensitive and the one's all about money and I wanted to see how that would turn out. Again being inspired by my family - I've got these two brothers in my house - the one's more about the community and the other's more about money.

Tashi: Are the characters your family members or are they springboards for them?
Portia: It's a mix of people I meet and my family and my history. It's cathartic for me because through the characters I get to understand my siblings much better and I can go: "Okay, now I get it."

Tashi: Do they know this is happening?
Portia: No - they go: "Oh my God, you've mellowed over the years." So I'm like, "Ya ..."
Tashi: "... watch TV and you'll see why!"

Ends.



61 Comments

sweetie my baby
19 May 2008 22:39

wow - talk about your all rounder, she's such an inspiration! keep it up, porsche!

Best-Achiever
19 May 2008 23:39

Waaw ... inspiring indeed.

Hlehle
19 May 2008 23:49

She is super

Nonny
20 May 2008 00:17

OMG, what a fantastic interview Tashi. As I have said in other blog Izigane Zobaba and Sokhulu & Partners is absolutely phenomenal. It even restored my faith in our loal Fo Sho productions ngoba phela SABC1 was in need of these kind of productions and the Skakespear Mzansi has done allot for SABC1, not to mention the quality of our SA actors, it's really high. Portia is such a great actor and she has an eye for great talent. Keep it sisi, uza kahle kakhulu!!!!!

LM
20 May 2008 00:23

I will read the interview later but what I can say about this woman is that she is fantastic, she is going places. She is a brilliant producer and actress. She used to model for Donna Claire and I loved her to bits, still do....Okay I'm getting carried away now!!!

belz
20 May 2008 00:24

Awesome!!! love these dramas, would neva miss an episode, we need more people like these on tv and production, she's really doing a good job!! thanks Tash for the interview.

Cande
20 May 2008 00:37

Good producer...

fikz
20 May 2008 00:45

she is FAB, keep up the good work Portia.

pastor chic
20 May 2008 00:47

Sokhulu & Partners is absolutely phenomenal, love is to bits and portia love that woman.

ximatsatsa
20 May 2008 00:50

Toxic
20 May 2008 00:54

I like that chic in blue in the picture.......Linda's eyes are so fierce LOL.

Thanks for the interview, enjoyed reading her responses.....

monchooza
20 May 2008 00:57

Very good producer, but i love her more on stage, she is just phenominal

Nonny
20 May 2008 01:01

"I like that chic in blue in the picture"
@ Toxic, that chic *kambe ubani igama.........LOL*.........neway she is also a good actor I loved on Isidingo as Pappa G's galfriend, she used to make me LOL coz they were such extreme opposites!!!!!

Renegade
20 May 2008 01:03

Yeah, Sokhulu and Pic is fabulous, am not a fan of Izingane zobaba though. 
I must say though, her acting is really good, plus we share a slave name...hehe.

Weiss
20 May 2008 01:03

I must say I luv her work a lot - she's really dedicated and talented. Her writing skills are phemoninal. She can also get in to a character very well and like Nonny said she does have an eye for great talent - look at people she's bring on screen!

I luv her, she really does belong where she is. Keep it up, gal.

Renegade
20 May 2008 01:07

@Nonny: loved on Isidingo as Pappa G's galfriend

Funny coz I dont have a clear pic in my mind of what his g/f looks like, I forgot her, but for some reason, I think the chic in blue was the daughter, the one who had some sort of relationship with Cherel...isnt that so?

Nonny
20 May 2008 01:07

"am not a fan of Izingane zobaba though"
@ Rene, but why??? It's really good if u give it a try, how about u watch the last two episodes that are left of it, I am sure u will still enjoy it even if u haven't been following. *tonight on Mzansi fo sho straight after Generations Rene, vele u'll still be seated.........LOL*

Toxic
20 May 2008 01:10

@ Toxic, that chic *kambe ubani igama.........LOL*.........neway she is also a good actor I loved on Isidingo as Pappa G's galfriend, she used to make me LOL coz they were such extreme opposites!!!!!

Nonny, i loved her on Mzantsi (i think that's what it was called) playing a prostitute...eish i can't recall the name of the lead actor there but that guy from Shift acted on it as a taxi driver, eish i think it was called mzantsi.

Simmone
20 May 2008 01:10

Great interview, she is one of SA's unsung talents

@ Nonny and Toxic.Lady in blue was Thandeka in Isidingo. She was Cherel’s cellmate and was released only to try and con Gorgie into believing she was his long lost daughter when Papa G was on a mission to find his missing twins.

Just want to know what happened to the lady with a chiskop (bald head), she was beautiful when she was on City Sesla as Phumzile now she has a boozer face. 

and is there an interview with Warona Seane, she was in Home Affairs and now currently on Hillside. she is a great actress

Nonny
20 May 2008 01:11

"Funny coz I dont have a clear pic in my mind of what his g/f looks like, I forgot her, but for some reason, I think the chic in blue was the daughter, the one who had some sort of relationship with Cherel...isnt that so?"
@ Renegade - Eish u are right, she was the daughter, I jinx her character with the galfriend, but atleast I was right ukuthi she was on Isidee and she was good!!! Oh now I rember Rene, she was really the daughter!!!!

Renegade
20 May 2008 01:13

Funny thing Nonny is that after generations, i do sit and watch it, i've never missed even one episode, but i really dont like it. But I must say, i'm curious to see whats gonna happen after the dramatic end last week.
I dont know why i dont like it coz i can stand the acting (except for Buyile and Nkosi), maybe its the whole "camera" approach, I dont know.

Toxic
20 May 2008 01:14

I think the chic in blue was the daughter, the one who had some sort of relationship with Cherel...isnt that so?

Yes!! Papa G's girlfriend was some cross-eyed girl.

Back to Portia, i remember her welcoming Amazing Race contestants when they were in South Africa.....back when Rob and Amber took part.

Nonny
20 May 2008 01:17

"Just want to know what happened to the lady with a chiskop (bald head), she was beautiful when she was on City Sesla as Phumzile now she has a boozer face."
LMAO @ boozer face, but I get ur point Simmone usenobu'nkwezela & a phuma sliwe look, perhaps it's the bush cut that has made her "image" change???.........LOL

"@ Nonny and Toxic.Lady in blue was Thandeka in Isidingo. She was Cherel’s cellmate and was released only to try and con Gorgie into believing she was his long lost daughter when Papa G was on a mission to find his missing twins."
Thanks Simmone, no more load shedding, everything is crystal clear, I remember here very well now!!!!

Renegade
20 May 2008 01:19

Yes!! Papa G's girlfriend was some cross-eyed girl. a

Lol, thso Tox, I think the image is coming back to me, and I remember she used to speak really slowly and clearly too.

Toxic
20 May 2008 01:20

Just want to know what happened to the lady with a chiskop (bald head), she was beautiful when she was on City Sesla as Phumzile now she has a boozer face. 

Oh Simmone, i've been wondering where i know her from!!!!

Weiss
20 May 2008 01:20

Renegade:maybe its the whole "camera" approach, I dont know. That's what make's me luuuuvvv the drama - it is very different. Not your very usual.

Toxic
20 May 2008 01:22

I dont know why i dont like it coz i can stand the acting (except for Buyile and Nkosi), maybe its the whole "camera" approach, I dont know. 

I like Buyile's acting as well. The vernac and slick acting make him look good. Nkosi?? Magic Hlatshwayo? Kiss-kiss dude? LMAO!

Nonny
20 May 2008 01:22

"Funny thing Nonny is that after generations, i do sit and watch it, i've never missed even one episode, but i really dont like it.
Ok Rene, just say it, u enjoy the show, but somehow the camera lady ticks u, it's understanable, she tends to have that effect with most of her characters........LOL.......and the whole "Inside Access" story is a bit too annoying, kodwa ke everything else outshines that, so watch and enjoy manje!!!

Nonny
20 May 2008 01:25

"Kiss-kiss dude? LMAO"
Toxic, u are takinge me back manje, I used to love the kiss-kiss dude on Kwkhalanyonini *his wives used to drive him crazy*, he is good naye!!!!

Renegade
20 May 2008 01:29

@Weiss: That's what make's me luuuuvvv the drama - it is very different
Yeah it is, but it it just doens't appeal to me the way it comes through in the end product, i wish i could explain more clearly. 

@Toxic: Nkosi?? Magic Hlatshwayo? Kiss-kiss dude? LMAO
Lol, no Nkosi is the guy who's going mad, the one who told his daughters to tell him how much they love her in order for him to decide who becomes CEO. 

@Nonny: Ok Rene, just say it, u enjoy the show, but somehow the camera lady ticks u, it's understanable, she tends to have that effect with most of her characters...
Hehe, ok honestly, I only sit coz that time is usually bath time for me, and I get lazy to get up, but at 9, when everyone wants to watch Muvhango, I have to stand and go, coz thats one show I cant stand. 
Hehe , Inside Access, thats what they call the show konje...hai, mina I think we must agree to disagree on this one.

belz
20 May 2008 01:30

Rene: nami sometimes i cant stand Buyile but i love Izingane so bad i jsut brush his acting or is it his talking off. Eish i wonder who died in the car that day, cant wait for today's episode.

thinLine
20 May 2008 01:39

I've never watched these shows, good to see sistas doing it themselves big ups to the interviewee.

carino
20 May 2008 01:44

loved her on Isidingo as Pappa G's galfriend

She was Papa G's daughter (well, she pretended to be one), not galfriend.... Haai...
There's just something about her that chick.. I've never seen a woman's hands that big.

Sokhulu & Patners is quite a killer. Good storyline right there... I was thinking actually that it must have been written by a woman.... there's just that feminine touch to it.

Eish that Inside Access business gets to me too.  I keep thinking... "wasnt there any other way?"

carino
20 May 2008 01:47

Can i ask one question...  hands up in the air


what are those 30 minutes things that SABC 1 plays on Mondays at 8:30?? 
Are they school projects? 

Toxic
20 May 2008 01:50

I've never seen a woman's hands that big.

now that you mention it, and now that i've looked at them .....all i can say is LOLOLOLOL!!

Nonny
20 May 2008 01:51

"what are those 30 minutes things that SABC 1 plays on Mondays at 8:30??
Are they school projects?"

kwa kwa kwa, those school projects are pathetic yazi Carino.........LOL......I watched and watched izolo, yet I still had difficulties tryna grasp the message they were trying to send home.

Nonny
20 May 2008 01:53

"Haai... There's just something about her that chick.. I've never seen a woman's hands that big"
Carino my dear, u pay TOO much attention to detail yazi nami just noticed now that unezibhaxalazi (huge) zezandla...........LOL

Toxic
20 May 2008 01:58

kwa kwa kwa, those school projects are pathetic yazi Carino.........LOL......I watched and watched izolo, yet I still had difficulties tryna grasp the message they were trying to send home.

what happens on sabc1 at 8.30? Zone 14? i watch TBL on etv so fogheev me for being ignorant...

Hlehle
20 May 2008 01:59

Did i see on TVSA Blogs or archives that Tsha Tsha is cuming back 05 May 2008 was that true or what?

Yehake!
20 May 2008 02:00

2 words Portia I LOVE YOUR TEETH.. ok ke maybe more than 2 but still   your teeth just cater 4 mina!

Nonny
20 May 2008 02:17

"what happens on sabc1 at 8.30? Zone 14? i watch TBL on etv so fogheev me for being ignorant..."
@ Toxic, iZone14 iphelile and now there are some riduculous "school projects" as Carino puts it on Mondays, just when the weekdays 20:30 line-up improves SABC has to put a damper on it.

P.S - I'm so happy Girlfriends are back *Fridays 20:30*, even though without Jill Marie Jones who used to play Toni Childs the production is not the same, she was my favourate character yazi........mxim......!!!!!

Nonny
20 May 2008 02:18

I meant ridiclous!!!

Nonny
20 May 2008 02:18

I meant ridiculous!!!

stovu
20 May 2008 02:22

Keep the Gud work Posh much luv Gal!!!!!

carino
20 May 2008 02:39

Did i see on TVSA Blogs or archives that Tsha Tsha is cuming back 05 May 2008 was that true or what?

I also waited with baited breath yesterday for TshaTsha, only to be put through a 30minute long AFDA first year assignment.

Worse it was even in the Sunday Times TV guide that TshaTsha will be playing yesterday.

Talking about Sunday Times, "The Jozi Journal" happened to their magazine this sunday. They had a picture of Loyiso Bala for which the caption read Lorato ZA Moloi. Struu...

Nonny
20 May 2008 02:45

"Talking about Sunday Times, "The Jozi Journal" happened to their magazine this sunday. They had a picture of Loyiso Bala for which the caption read Lorato ZA Moloi. Struu..."
@ Carino, I am LMAO @ the Genrubbish and Sunday Times comparison.........so I guess afterall Generations is a picture of Mzansi fo sho afterall..........LOL

kokibee
20 May 2008 02:52

I love her to bits

Toxic
20 May 2008 03:15

Talking about Sunday Times, "The Jozi Journal" happened to their magazine this sunday. They had a picture of Loyiso Bala for which the caption read Lorato ZA Moloi. Struu...

And in the magazine, they had a picture of Bouga Luv and called him
Paul and Lerato Moloi.....

Yesterday in The Times they apologised for reporting (on Friday) that Mbeki was silent about the xenophobic attacks WHEN he had spoken out about them the night before. 

What are the editors smoking nna?

Nonny
20 May 2008 03:26

"What are the editors smoking nna?"
@ Toxic, whatever they are smoking is not DH, coz they would be thinking straight if they were..........LOL

carino
20 May 2008 03:36

And in the magazine, they had a picture of Bouga Luv and called him
Paul and Lerato Moloi.....


Thats the one i'm talking abt, Tox... looks like nami I have snuffed the stuff.

ximatsatsa
20 May 2008 03:38

Thumbs up to Portia,good work!!!

Toxic
20 May 2008 03:39

Wena you must be supplying them with the stuff cause u even wrote struu!

Tashi
20 May 2008 04:45

!Just added a cool pic of Portia and Bongi together.

carino
20 May 2008 04:50

!Just added a cool pic of Portia and Bongi together.

LOL @ the caption ofthe pic.....  "...out and about..."


Yehake!
20 May 2008 04:51

Cool Tashi...nice

Toxic
20 May 2008 04:59

Portia looks comfortable in her body and Bongi looks like she isn't....hmm.

Nonny
20 May 2008 05:09

Thanks for the pic Tashi, Portia looks cool and Bongi has a aunty okathele look.........LOL

carino
20 May 2008 05:23

@Toxic Portia looks comfortable in her body and Bongi looks like she isn't....hmm.

@Nonny Portia looks cool and Bongi has a aunty okathele look.........LOL

You two are baaaadddd...

Nna I didnt wanna offend anyone.. thats why I just so maar LOLed at the caption. 

But now you guys are making me comfortable to say waht i actually thought when i saw this pic.

Ok here it is.

I thought there's nothing "out & about" about the look on Bongi's face.

It's like she walked past Portia and Tashi... then Tashi just ceased the moment and said "Quick, a picture.." and Bongi had to pose with Tashi's cup of coffee. 




Nonny
20 May 2008 05:28

"It's like she walked past Portia and Tashi... then Tashi just ceased the moment and said "Quick, a picture.." and Bongi had to pose with Tashi's cup of coffee."
lMAO @ Carino's comment, I'm glad to see the comfortability to say what u felt ekuqaleni...........LOL

monchooza
23 May 2008 03:40

le stori samaLoya (sokhulu and what what) singibonise kahle ukuthi u Cleo aka Pamela aka dlozi something.......Mubi futhi she has ama Gums athusayo...hi hi hi hi

carino
23 May 2008 03:52

@Monchooza  You are right about Nomasonto's gums...

And there's just some "dlala ngobuso" that she does when she speaks.  


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