Kagiso Modupe: 10 years on Scandal! and all grown up

Written by TVSA Team from the blog Interviews on 12 Oct 2015
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Kagiso Modupe is one of only two cast members who've been on Scandal! since the very start. 

Kagiso and Sandy Mokwena (Bra Eddie) are the last men standing of the original cast and Sandy's become Kagiso's second dad as a result.

Here's what Kagiso had to say about Mangi's milestone when I caught up with him recently:

Tashi: Let's talk about your feeeeeeeeeelings. How do you feel about being on the show for 10 years?
Kagiso: You know, it's how it all started. That's what I treasure the most. I went for an audition for Scandal! and I got the part of Mangi but he was off at boarding school so I didn't start shooting when everybody started and I was told that my character would only be on the show in a couple of months.

So I waited... I think it was four months - and then I found out that they were re-auditioning for my character so I had to go back and re-audition and stand in line with everybody else. It was a new production company and they didn't know me - and I still got the part.

Tashi: Crazy but cool.
Kagiso: It's very special to me and it was meant to be. That's why I hold Scandal! close to my heart.

Tashi: Is it true that you didn't have any formal training before you got on the show?
Kagiso: No I didn't.

Tashi: How did you hear about the audition? Did you get an agent? How did that work?
Kagiso: I had an agent and I was already doing other shows in theatre and at The University of Johannesburg, which was known as RAU then, and I was quite active in the industry.

Scandal! was the breakthrough for me because I did Home Affairs - I did five seasons with them - and then Scandal! arrived so I didn't have formal training but it's such a wonderful thing that I take with me. Your hobby can turn into your way of life. Not everybody's supposed to be a doctor because I was studying towards my BSc and I completed that but not everyone's going to have a 9 to 5 job.

I grew up on Scandal! and I continue to grow as an individual through the show. I finished my studies through the show, I put my siblings through school, I got married while I've been on the show, I started other businesses, I became a parent so the show is basically a part of me.

Tashi: Have you ever considered leaving?
*Takes a breath and laughs* I don't know how to answer that question because contract times are coming *laughs*.

I have, but I think it was just emotional stuff. Things you go through on the show, you think about it, and I've also been approached by shows that I can't mention. Some of them have started and some have ended but I decided to stick with Scandal! because I believe in loyalty. I wouldn't just pull out - I'm all about loyalty and the show has been loyal to me.

Tashi: Was your wife Liza a fan of the show? Is that how you met?
Kagiso: No, no, no - I met Liza two years before we actually started dating, at university, and I liked her. I fell in love with her. For me, at that moment, my energy was somewhere else - I had to survive, I had to focus on my family back at home.

My sister had just finished matric and there were no funds for her to go to school with - the same as what happened with me - so I had to focus and decide, "Do I go for it now or do I do what I have to do?"

Then later on our paths crossed again and I decided, "This time, if I don't do it now, I'm never going to see this girl again." Two years later. When we started dating we moved in together immediately.

Tashi: Wow, she was obviously waiting for you.
I'd like to think that! She also knew... she could tell from the way I looked at her two years before when our paths first crossed - she knew, "That guy likes me."

I met her at RAU and she was with friends and I was just staring at her. I don't know why because its rude but I just stared at her the first time I saw her. Then, the next time I saw her was two years later -  because she wasn't at RAU -  she was at Wits and when I saw her again I thought, "I can't let this girl go." The next day I met up with her and the rest is history. Eight years later.

Tashi: Is she taller than you?
*Muffled sound*

Tashi: Did you say "Yes?"
Yes *laughs*. She has to compromise and not wear heels.

Tashi: You have a daughter?
Kagiso: Yes, I'm hoping to grow my family but we're still weighing our options.

Tashi: How many do want?
I'd like three. I grew up in a family of three kids and there are three in her family so we'd like to get it there.

Tashi: How has Mangi changed you?
You know, there's one lesson I learnt through Mangi, is that life happens. He's a good guy, he always cares about people, he wants to see people happy.

This is a guy with morals and values but life happens hey so he found himself killing people, he found himself getting into drugs, being an addict, an alcohol addict, a sex addict - he's found himself right in the middle of these things and he doesn't know how he got there and what happened.

I learnt the lesson from him that life happens.

Tashi: What are things like behind the scenes on Scandal!? Have they changed in the 10 years?
I've watched people come and go, I've seen people create friendships and there are those true friendships that were built and there are those that are friendships because we work together. So once the person left or was fired or isn't part of the show, the friendship died out.

I learnt that with friendships, you can commit, and then once they leave the show you realise that it was just us hanging out as companions through their journey on their show. Then, once they've left the show it became awkward to have conversations.

Tashi: Who have you been the closest to out of everyone who's been on the show?
I'm still very close to Stephina Zwane who played Lolo. I think it's because we hustled together as kids. She's started her own TV channel now but we're still very close.

Bra Eddie for me is also... he's like my dad on the show.

Tashi: What's your most memorable scene of the 10 years?
There are so many. You have the fun scenes and the sad scenes. I'd say the most memorable partnerships I've created are with Nhlanhla and Bra Eddie. I've created partnerships where the storylines became big and they've worked.

But I think my best would still be my first drug storyline. I think that defined me and my range as an actor. It was difficult for me and I put so much into it because I needed to do it right. I wanted a drug addict to say, "Yes, that's how it is. If you're taking coke, that's how it is."

I've seen that happening a lot in the industry - where someone takes coke and they react as if they've taken heroin or something else so I put so much into it to avoid that. I did my research and went to a rehab and spent a night with someone going through cold turkey.

Tashi: Was that your most challenging time on the show?
It was. I had to ask for time off so I could sit inside the rehab and I remember that before I started with the storyline - it was meant to be a storyline to write me out of the show!

I was going to be written out because producers come and go and when they come in they have their own people so it's one of those things where my character had to go because he was also going through a lot.

Remember Luthuli (Dlamini) left the show and Siyabonga Thwala left so the Nyathi's were supposed to be demolished - I was the only one left. The success of the storyline saved me.

Tashi: What's the craziest fan response you've ever experienced?
*Laughs* I've had people flash me, I was once beaten up -

Tashi: By who?
I was in Cape Town and went to the V&A and it got hectic so I slipped out and there's a hospital behind the V&A - I think there's a park too?

I walked through it and there were these two nurses walking and as we passed each other I could tell that they recognised me and two seconds later I had a handbag on my head and this woman was beating me up because of my character.

He was quite a naughty person at the time, a naughty teenager who was doing all these things and was giving his parents grief. She did it because she had a son who was doing exactly that so I got beaten up with a handbag and I don't know what was in it!

Tashi: Did she nurse you afterwards?
She didn't, she walked off! Also, during the drug storyline, I was standing in a supermarket, at the till and as I was paying a woman came over with her bible and she started praying for me right there so I'm holding up this entire line while she prayed, out loud.

Tashi: Is it the same now or do most people respond to you as Kagiso now?
Over the years people responsed to Mangi but as time has passed they've started responding to me as Kagiso because I'm quite in touch with the public, even on social media, good or bad I interact so people know me as Kagiso.

I also do motivational talks and my construction company so they've gotten to know me personally.  I think for the past four/five years, people react to me as Kagiso and not Mangi.

Shows in this post: Scandal!

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1 Comment

Zingaphy Zeeeeee
12 Oct 2015 13:56

Ohhhhh man haw I lav dis guy especialy wen he laughs thrz just innocence in him samhaw.... He's one f da few actors I lyk 2 mit n tok 2 someday....Not es a groupie of course just 2 sey **kip up da gud wek boy**

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