Rewind to 2006, the year Zikhona Sodlaka landed her debut role on season four of SABC1’s Tshatsha as a tomboy named Zukiswa, starring alongside some of SA’s greats. This was the role with which she won the hearts of many and which paved the way for what’s been a remarkable career . . . and the best is yet to come.
After obtaining a Diploma in Business Administration, she took on Computer Programming (IT) at Havtec, but soon realised that the arts were where her heart was. Sodlaka then pursued her passion aggressively.
“It’s been a very interesting 11 years in the entertainment industry,” says Sodlaka. “Now that I think about it, I’ve worked on almost all of the SA soapies: Rhythm City, Muvhango, Generations, to name a few, so I wouldn’t pin it on one thing. It’s been a snowball of adventures for which I am really grateful.”
Being in the industry for this long certainly doesn’t come without its challenges. She admits that one of the biggest lessons she’s been learning is how to say no, which is something one can only do when you know what you really want.
“We have different designs and tend to settle for anything if it’s in front of us, for the sake of having a job”, says Sodlaka.” “But as much as you get the no’s, you give the no’s. You learn that rejection is not the end of the world, and that being an actor is about getting some acceptance and many rejections.”
Fast-forward to 2016 and Sodlaka will be hosting the second season of Top Actor Africa, a Pan-African reality competition that sees 12 aspiring actors strive over 13 weeks to prove why they’re the best. The victor scores a career-boosting prize. The show will be broadcast from Tuesday 1 March on BET, at 7.30pm.
Sodlaka admits that the competition is stiff: “The contestants in this season have the advantage of knowing what to expect because of the first season, but I cannot take away from how hungry and how talented they are.”
“Besides their drive and determination, they have a very unapologetic sense of knowing who they are, trying daily to grow as artists. A competition like this advances you leaps in your career. What would have taken you years to achieve in your personal life, you now have instant access to.”
With a production company of her own (and its first film on the way), we know successes like these can only be achieved with bucket-loads of self-discipline and motivation. So, what keeps her going?
“I’ve realised that fear is a lie and it’s crippling. You get to wake up every day and chase your dream! Forget the ‘how on earth am I going to be the greatest I can be?’ and just be! You fulfill yourself tremendously.”