- Long before Lunga Shabalala joined the star-studded cast of The River, he had to make ends meet with odd modelling jobs
- The actor didn't always have it good and often had nothing more than noodles to eat
- Shabalala has learned the hard way how to be smart with his money
Lunga Shabalala is known for his role in The River, where he acts alongside many famous faces. Shabalala is now a face often seen on our screens and has finally "made it big".
Life wasn't always easy for the hunky actor. There was a time when the actor didn't have food and had to survive on nothing more than 2-minute noodles a day.
Shabalala remembers that when he first decided to pursue his dream and become a TV presenter, his father was very disappointed.
In fact, he told Shabalala to pack his things and leave his house because he didn't want a "proper job".
I had just finished my diploma in town planning and property development at Maritzburg College. But I wasn't interested in that career.
In 2011 he did pack his bags, and he left for Johannesburg, still very young at 21.
When I got here I squatted with a friend for about two weeks before things started taking shape. I got cast in a Coca-Cola TV advert.
After his first "gig", he moved out of his friend's home and got a small flat in west Johannesburg. But because he had only had the one gig, he didn't really have money. He soon ran out of food.
I would go through a day without proper food. I survived on two-minute noodles.
And although his parents were just a phone call away, he did not want to call them and ask for help. His pride wouldn't let him, because he knew they would say "We told you so!".
For a while Shabalala did random modelling jobs before he got approached by a retailer for TV campaigns.
He had finally gotten a stable income.
I started making a decent living because I had clinched a long-term contract. I became self-conscious when I took taxis because people saw me on TV.
Things soon got even better for the actor - he got a the Selimathunzi job.
Not everyone was happy about my progress though. Two bloggers wrote that I had slept my way into Selimathunzi. Easy come, easy go, they wrote.
They also said I was gay but that didn't bother me because I knew who I was and if I was gay, I would be open about it because there's nothing wrong in being gay.
Soon fame followed and along with it the many people who wanted to be Shabalala's friends. He spent ridiculous amount on these friends.
One night I spent more than R13 000 and it wasn't the first time because I was living a party lifestyle. One day I decided to take stock of my spending habits.
Shabalala remember how his late friend Akhumzi Jezile taught him how to be frugal with his money because he, too, was not a big spender.
I'm financially savvy now and I'm investing and saving my money with a primary goal to focus on property.
Six years after his debut on Selimathunzi, Shabalala decided it was time for something new. His road led to The River, where he is now.
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