Since Rhythm City first started (two years/four months ago) I've been intrigued by actor Mduduzi Mabaso.
At first I thought it was because he plays Suffocate on the show and Suffocate's got such an edge to him but then I briefly met Mduduzi at this years SAFTA's and discovered that it's true - he's as much of a sultry enigma in real life.
When I first heard that the casts of Rhythm City and Scandal! were going on a roadshow (see a link to pics below!) I thought it would be a perfect time to catch up with him for us to unravel more about him - except he ended up being so mysterious he didn't actually go on the roadshow to Cape Town.
A long story short: I chatted to him in a mystery meeting last week. Here's what he had to say:Tashi:
What are the similarities between yourself and Suffocate?Mdu:
Well mostly, eish - the thing is Suffocate’s very quiet and Mdu’s very quiet himself. Also, Suffocate’s got a soft spot for kids and so does Mdu. Those are the similarities I think I know.Tashi:
Do you have kids of your own?Mdu:
Yes I do, two boys: Miabulo (21 months) and Ntokozo (7).Tashi:
What’s the biggest difference between yourself and Suffocate?Mdu:
Suffocate, he’s a man who has a mind for business and a gun in his pocket, whereas Mdu isn’t business minded, he just loves his work and he’s passionate about what he’s doing - all the time. Suffocate doesn’t want to fail.Tashi:
No, you wouldn’t want to.Tashi:
I don’t, sometimes it’s okay when I’ve learnt something when I do, but it always sucks.Mdu:
No, you won’t give up.
A screengrab of Mdu as Suffocate in the very early days of the show
What do you do to get into character?Mdu:
It’s one of those things - I think I tend to be so close to this guy that it’s not a physical thing to go back to him. I think I’ve set the standard in such a way that it isn’t difficult for me to get into the character.
I know what life he has, what type of music he listens to so I don’t need to do anything like go and think about him or have a moment before I play him.Tashi:
At the beginning - was it more difficult?Mdu:
Yes it was because each and every director had their view of Suffocate and I had my own view as well. So one would come and say “Suffocate has to change,” - and then I had to know that he was mine without losing the hard-core thing that he had - but I managed to put Suffocate where he is now, and he’s managed to be a big softie.
What’s been your best Suffocate storyline across the show? That you’ve ever played?Mdu:
The first time I played a lovey-dovey romantic story. The story of Khanyi and Suffocate - it was a nice one for me. Tashi:
Is it because it was very different? Do you just like getting lovey-dovey?Mdu:
Yah, ‘cos I haven’t played that for quite a while - the last time I played it was in a theatre piece.Tashi:
Your wife - does she watch Rhythm City?Mdu:
I don’t have a wife at the moment.Tashi:
At the moment?Mdu:
I have someone that I love.Tashi:
Ah okay, because when I saw you at the SAFTA's this year you were with your wife but I didn’t get her name.Mdu:
Oh, that’s over, let’s not
even go there.Tashi:
What impact, if any, did winning the Best Supporting Actor SAFTA have on your career?Mdu:
I think it made people recognize my craft, how good it is - seeing me as a good actor as they say. What I’ve also realised is that I do have a lot of respect for what I’m doing.Tashi:
Who’s your ultimate actor of all time? Who inspires you?Mdu
: Meshack Mavuso
- he’s so good, so smoothe, so soft - he does his craft so well that it looks like he doesn’t put in any effort. He looks so natural.Tashi:
And your fave TV shows to watch - besides Rhythm City obviously?Mdu:
The most recent show was Zone 14
- not because I was in it, but it was one of my favourites. The way it was done, people can relate to it - to the stories, the characters, they’re there in everyday life.Tashi:
What do you for fun in your free time? Mdu:
I’m always working, I love it. I sometimes go out - I teach drama, I have a play called Tasha On The Rocks - it’s going to be on at the Windybrow soon - I wrote it and I’m directing it. Tashi:
Are you a workaholic?Mdu:
Yah, that’s the problem for me, because I never get enough of what I’m doing. I just want to see other people doing it too so I try to give what I can.
Mdu with Mpho Molepo, who plays Fats
Can you tell us something about yourself that no-one else knows?Mdu:
The thing that people won’t know about me is that I’m gay. *laughs* No, I don’t know ... no,no wait it’s that I’ve never been a tsotsi or gone to jail. Sirrrious.Tashi:
*laughs* What can we expect from Suffocate’s storylines in the future?Mdu:
Pule’s coming back ...Tashi:
And Suffocate’s love life?Mdu:
No he doesn’t have a love-life and I don’t think he’s going to have one anytime soon.Tashi:
No more lovey-dovey scenes. How many months in advance do you film? What’s the time difference between when you film and when it’s on air?Mdu:
It’s three months to four months. Tashi:
Tell us more-more about the mysterious you - where did you grow up?Mdu:
I was born and bred in Alex, I grew up in Alex the whole of my life. I went to a small village when I was very young, I stayed in the Transkei for three years and then I came back. I’ve been in Alexandra for more than 27/28 years. EndsPS:
Next on the agenda methinks: a date with Mdu, to find more about his lurrrvey-dovey side, ha!
SCANDALOUS MOVES AT THE E.TV ROADSHOW: