Known as “the guy with the laugh” from the Leon Schuster films. Ntombela is actually quite a bit older than many people think, born on 3 April 1972.
Ntombela has made himself a house hold name to almost every South African in the country.
With Alfred Ntombela having so many wonderful moments on screen, so let’s take a look at five favourite real-life facts.
1. Such a tragic childhood
Been very open, Mtombela shares how he had to overcome so much sadness during his childhood to bring in joy.
Alfred’s mom abandoned him just a few weeks into his life after she left his father while pregnant. He was taken in by a family member and raised as her own.
“My real dad died when I was three years old, so I never had the chance to get to know him. Only years later did I discover that he had other wives and I have stepbrothers,” Ntombela told PEOPLE magazine.”
Been the size he was and that fact that his birth was never officially registered, starting “big school” was a challenge. On his first day of school, teachers wanted to deny him access because they thought he was “too young”.
“Shorty” had all the answers
“I am small but I am old enough to come to school’. They’d drill me with question after question but I had an answer for every one!”
2. Career before Leon
With the passion and drive Ntombela had for acting, he used to knock on the door of the late actor Ken Gampu. With Gampu living only a few blocks from Ntombela’s childhood home, it made it easy for Ntombela to pluck up the courage to tell him about his dreams and desires to act.
Gampu listened to Ntombela’s pleas and said he would see what he could do. Not too long after, Ntombela ended up on kids program called Ikhaya Labantwana. Becoming a hit in the early 80s this show ran for five years.
3. The audition with Schuster
The chemistry and friendship between Schuster and Ntombela spanned multiple movies and decades, but how did it all begin?
Rumours were going around that Mr Schucks was looking for an exciting young child star. Gampu came to hear of these rumours and was told that actors auditioning so far were either too young to read the script or there was just no spark.
Showing up for the audition, Ntombela read the script. Schuster was not impressed by his performance and put the script aside. Then everything changed! Oh how we can picture this.
Ntombela showed up and read the script. His performance didn’t impress Schuster who put the script aside. Then, this happened. We can picture it so clearly.
“At the end of our meeting, Leon cracked a joke and I just burst out laughing. Leon screamed ‘yes’ – and his eyes lit up like a firework. I got the job.”
By the way, Ntombela fondly describes his laugh as “a gift from God”.
4. Son and daughter
Ntombela has been blessed with two children – a teenage son who lives with his mom and daughter who is just 7-years-old. With his childhood long behind him, Ntombela has often spoken about how he strives to give his kids the life he didn’t have.
“Through them, I feel like I’m having my childhood over.”
5. A joke taken too far
In 2017, speaking to MTV, Ntombela shared a rather grim memory where Schuster without a doubt took a joke just too far.
Ntombela and Schuster were alone on the 22nd floor of a building in Durban. Schucks decided to open the window and peer down. Schucks started telling Ntombela about how terrible life was, and then the situation only got worse.
“He put his foot through the open window, then another foot. I pulled him in. He said; ‘leave me alone, I want to die’. He exited the room but left the window open. Suddenly, he returned to the room to make a run for the window again.”
Schuster ran up to the window and stopped a second before. He turned around and delivered his usual “you’ve been schucksed!” line.
“I felt so small. I just left the room and couldn’t speak to him. I locked myself in my room and just slept. It was so bad.”
It did not take long before the pair were back on speaking terms. Shorty describes Schuster as like a “father” to him after all.
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