- Bonko Khoza is probably one of the most talked-about actors in South Africa at the moment for his role as Mqhele Zulu on the Showmax drama series The Wife
- It is no surprise that the actor absolutely kills the role of the taxi driver everyone loves to hate as he spent months living as Mqhele to help prep for the role
- The Wife is only the beginning for Bonko, with so many new exciting gigs coming up, the 30-year-old is surely one to look out for
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Bonko Khoza went from being a commercial and cameo guy to being one of the best leading actors Mzansi has ever seen in such a short space of time. The celeb, who was introduced to Saffas as Mqhele Zulu, sat down with Briefly News to chat about everything it takes to play such an intense character, his biggest inspirations, his favourite part of being on The Wife as well as the most difficult scene he's ever had to film.
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Born and raised in the south of Johannesburg, 30-year-old Bonko Khoza says that for the longest time he treated acting as a sideline hobby. Bonko's first love was never acting but he always found himself being pushed onto the stage. The celeb studied fine arts at the National School of the Arts and had plans to become an illustrator before he finally gave himself over to performing.
Bonko has always dreamt of playing a villainous character. The first villain that the actor ever got to play was Captain Hook in his school production of Peter Pan. From there, Khoza drew a lot of acting inspiration from childhood bad guys such as Jack Mabaso on Generations and a lot of the late Menzi Ngubane's characters. Little did he know that all of that admiration would one day help him play one of the biggest roles of his career.
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As can be expected, a lot of preparation goes into playing someone like Mqhele. Bonko told Briefly News that he started prepping his character months before he began filming. Khoza is a firm believer in method acting and so to play Mqhele he lived as Mqhele. Bonko said:
"I spent a lot of time at the taxi rank. I walked like him, talked like him and even drove like he would. I woke up early and went to bed really late, I was in the thick of it. I wore tracksuits and bought a guitar and a piece (fake gun) and carried it around with me to get the real feeling. I watched how people reacted to me when I was Mqhele and not Bonko. My wife got involved. I was really faking the taxi driver life."
As much as Bonko had to make a full transformation, putting himself into Mqhele's world was not all that difficult. The story was set in the south of Joburg, which is where the actor lived most of his life. The Spar described in the book is the exact one he shopped at with his own family and the little spots and corners are places he did not even have to imagine. Bonko says that aspect made it easier for him to wear Mqhele as a coat rather than an accessory.
Getting to play a character completely different to your personality is all fun and games until there comes time to film a scene that goes completely against your character and Bonko felt that first hand. The actor recalls one of the most difficult days on set being the scene where Mqhele hit Hlomu.
"When I'm on set, I have Mqhele inside of me, I'm no longer acting. It becomes emotionally taxing because I really have to be in the moment. Bonko becomes Mqhele's accomplice, so I need to make sense of his actions, I need to be in the headspace, I need to get him. I need to have that passion, the guilt, completely sincere emotions."
Bonko said that getting himself out of those emotions after filing is a difficult task and he has to remind himself to compartmentalize Bonko and Mqhele. Khoza would then go and check on his co-star Mbalenhle Mavimbela and knowing she is okay after the scene helps him unwind.
Since Bonko has given so much of himself to his character, one would imagine that Khoza has been able to find some parts of himself hidden in Mqhele. The Showmax star says that playing Mqhele has helped him call out some of his own behaviours. Unlike his character, Bonko is not confrontational, however, he does share the same sense of emotional vulnerability and that helps him understand Zulu's tendencies to act out of emotion.
Playing Mqhele has not been all about heavy emotions. Bonko told Briefly News that he genuinely enjoys getting to play the kind of villain that people can't help but like a little bit. Speaking about being on The Wife, Bonko said:
"I am honestly pleased every day I go to work. Getting this part was an affirmation that dreams do come true. I work with such a talented cast and we all push each other to stay on our toes and always bring our best. It's never the same thing twice. The best part has honestly been set days with the Zulu brothers."
The Wife has certainly built itself a massive following and some fans have said to wake up as early as 5 am to catch the latest episodes before they go on about their normal Thursdays. Bonko Khoza says that Thursday's are just as exciting for him as they are for the fans. One of Khoza's favourite things is seeing how the community comes alive.
The drama series is just the first of many exciting projects for Bonko Khoza. The actor has a few supporting roles in some big movies coming out, a comedy special on SABC 1 coming out on 16 January 2022 and another lead role in a Netflix series that will air as early as next year.
‘The Wife’: Peeps can’t get over Hlomu ignoring all of Mqhele’s red flags
Briefly News reported that The Wife has been topping Twitter trends since early Thursday morning as things get heated on the show. The spice got real when Hlomu uncovered one of Mqhele's biggest secrets moments before she walked down the aisle. Her move after confronting her secretive bae is what has peeps talking non-stop.
Hlomu's investigative journalism skills almost cost her her life this week. The main character of the Showmax drama series has been trying to unmask ATM bombing syndicates and little did she know that the culprits were right under her nose.
The curious sleuth pieced her mystery together moments before saying "I do," making her lose all trust in her husband-to-be. When Hlomu locked herself in her dressing room while her wedding guests waited for her, the infamous in-laws came to assess the situation.
Source: Briefly News