The Sunday Mail
Zandile Zaza Ndlovu
IT is two degrees Celsius in Johannesburg.
An unidentified woman with a heavy Nigerian accent is heard conversing with Siseko Langa, a lawyer handling a sensitive case of illegal immigrants.
She is panic stricken and refuses to reveal her identity or visit Siseko’s office. She claims to have very sensitive and crucial information to the case and convinces Siseko to seek her out alone.
Finally, her face is revealed.
With a smirk of a temptress, the calculating and manipulative Chichi is revealed.
This was the scene that had Zimbabwean fans sitting on the edge of their seats as Bulawayo beauty, Mbonisi Mahonondo, popularly known as Mbo Mahocs, made her debut appearance on eTV’s highly rated soapie, “Scandal”.
Vivacious with tonnes of energy, a designer’s dream model, the petite, ever glamorously dressed and red carpet ready Mbo Mahocs has always been destined for stardom.
The Bulawayo-born actress and arts personality has always been an entertainer from childhood.
As she walks down memory lane, she is reminded of her introduction to theatre by Richard Ndlovu, a cultural dance and musical theatre guru.
“My classmates and I had our big brother and teacher Richard Ndlovu, who taught us to dance Amabhiza. He always encouraged the drama club students to excel,” recalls Mbo Mahocs in an exclusive interview with The Sunday Mail Society.
So deep was her love for drama arts, her parents feared it would affect her academic work. They had to transfer her from Minda High School to Eveline Girls High in Bulawayo.
To their shock, this move propelled her even further into the arts.
“I was a bit rebellious because something inside me kept drawing me to the dramatic arts. And my new drama teachers Thabani Moyo and Raisedon Baya gave me lead roles in school plays. I absolutely loved it. I came alive on stage,” reminisces Mbo Mahocs.
Thespian and filmmaker Mgcini Nyoni was to give Mbo Mahocs her big break in a one-woman theatrical play at Bulawayo Art Gallery. The experience of performing for an audience solidified her love for acting.
Her initial pursuit to enter the lucrative world of acting in South Africa flopped. Sky high university fees at Wits University, the factory for most successful dramatic arts graduates, and current TV and film royalty, prohibited her entry.
Mbo Mahocs returned home to Zimbabwe and once again had to face the harsh reality of how difficult the arts industry is. Her parents fearing she was losing hope, enrolled her at the Bulawayo Polytechnic for an Architectural programme.
“I felt so lost. I wanted to please my parents but something inside me kept pushing me to re-join the arts,” she said.
Mbo Mahocs partnered with long-time friend Gilmore Tee and began the Hunnah Arts Agency. This saw her rise as not only a popular socialite, but sought-after Master of Ceremonies. She also got roles in music videos and ultimately released her own poetry and songs.
Once again, her dreams were dealt a blow as her mother fell ill in South Africa and she was forced to relocate to look after her.
“It was a trying time. I had to do piece jobs in the construction industry. I was so unhappy. I kept praying to God.”
As the year 2018 began, Mbo Mahocs decided to reclaim her life and enrolled in part time media courses, which saw her being attached to the SABC. This training would prove crucial and pivotal in turning around her opportunities. She retained the services of an agent who got her auditions, including that of the eTV soapie “Scandal”.
She was recently in the country as a host at the Bulawayo Arts Awards. Mbo Mahocs is following in the footsteps of the likes of Chipo Chung, Tongayi Chirisa and Danai Gurira, who have gone on to make it big in Hollywood.
Zandile Zaza Ndlovu is an arts and lifestyle journalist as well as a Media PR Specialist at BrandZa Communications. Follow her on Twitter & Instagram on @zazaliciousone or email [email protected]