Veteran actress Slindile Nodangala celebrated her 50th birthday on 23 June. The former Generations star had fans falling in love with her sassy character, Mam'Ruby, ever since her debut on the show in 2011. Slindile's story is a truly inspirational one. With a career spanning over 20 years, the iconic actress has proven it takes lots of patience to reach one's dreams.
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Slindile's simple upbringing in Durban, KZN with her gogo
Like many proud South Africans, the Scandal! actress grew up under the watchful eye of her beloved grandmother. It was a simple upbringing in the hustle and bustle of 1970s Kwa-Zulu Natal. Among the youngest of her siblings, Slindile was free to explore her great passion for the arts.
Slindile Nodangala's love for music and theatre
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As a young woman, the actress found herself learning from some of Mzansi's best. The Father of Black Theatre in South Africa, Soweto playwright Gibson Kente is believed to have given Slindile her first introduction to the world of theatre. Interesting fact, Kente is the same person who gave the legendary Brenda Fassie her first big opportunity on stage!
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It seems music was always Slindile's first love. The little girl with the big voice grew up singing in her church's choir. Back in the day, she made a name for herself singing the backup vocals for legendary Afro-fusion group, Stimela. The group sold platinum-winning albums that had a major impact on the 1970s music scene in SA.
As Briefly News previously reported, the superstar singer was also a backup vocalist for iconic vocalists like Rebecca Malope, Lucky Dube and Sophie Mgcina.
Slindile Nondangala's life-changing accident and earning R40 a week
The early days of Slindile's career were full of incredible highs and lows. Nodangala had an amazing run in an understudy role at a prominent London Theatre in 2001. She also toured the world for five years during that time, exploring places like China, Malaysia and Scandinavia.
A life-changing accident put the star's fast-moving career on hold. It's not clear how or when the incident occurred, but Slindile got caught in a messy car crash that left the actress hospitalised for three months.
Slindile is grateful for her family's support during those tough times
In 2008, the former Generations star made headlines after opening up about her come-up in the entertainment industry. In an emotional social media post, Slindile shared that she would sometimes earn about R40 a week.
"29 years in the acting industry, when I started in 1989 I was earning R40 per week," she wrote.
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No job security as an artist
TimeLives reports that many of the star's fans could not believe what they were hearing. That amount of cash was barely enough to buy groceries, even back in the day. Teasing their TV fave, peeps joked that Mam'Ruby was now charging at least R40 000 per episode.
Laughing off the compliment, Slindile shared that she actually thought about becoming a nurse or cop because of the job security those careers had to offer:
"I toyed with the idea of becoming a nurse or Zulu police cause at least they have benefits, but your calling is your calling," she joked with one of her admirers.
Getting real about the lack of work actors sometimes experience, Slindile said there were times she'd literally go eight months without any work. It was during these rough patches that family and friends showed their true colours:
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"I’ve been an actress for 28 years, so the lack of jobs wasn’t new to me. In theatre, there are times where you won’t get jobs for as long as eight months. It’s through those tough times that I realised I had good friends because my friends and family were there for me and carried me through," she touchingly shared.
Slindile Nondangala parts ways with Generations
Since starting her TV acting career, the 50-year-old has had starring roles on some of Mzansi's favourite soapies, including Generations (2011-2014) and Rhythm City (2017), and is currently playing Nomvula Kubeka on e.tv's Scandal!
The actress was also part of the brave group of stars who walked off the Generations set after a disagreement over wages. Since then, the soapie has seen many changes to its cast and crew.
In 2016, she laughed off claims that she went "begging" for her job back, Sowetan Live reports.
“They so wish they can have us back. Proof that you can own 8 o clock but not people’s talent. You’re not God‚” Slindile said.
“This is sad and pathetic, shame‚ I think they thought we will never work again‚ no one would ever hire us and we would come back crawling. When I joined that show, I had been in the industry for 20 years and had done bigger and better shows‚” she added.
And this has definitely been the case for Slindile Nodangala. Productions may come and go, but talent like hers sticks around forever. Today, she's the star of the hit Netflix show, Savage Beauty, and has also featured prominently on the Mzansi Magic telenovela, Lockdown.
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Source: Briefly News