Shaka iLembe’s Lemogang Tsipa revels in new role as journalist

Actor Lemogang Tsipa, who played the role of Shaka Zulu in Shaka iLembe, will star as a journalist, Sol Mojalefa Phiri in a brand new Mzansi Magic drama series Killer Front Page.

Speaking to Sunday World this week, Tsipa said a close friend of his who is a journalist helped him prepare for the role of Sol.

Friendship with journalist prepared him

“I have been preparing for the role unknowingly. And [my friend] does have a lot of similar character traits similar to Sol the character that I am playing. There are similarities in the positive aspects. There are a lot of dark sides of Sol, which we will discover,” he said.

“Having a close friendship with a person that really lives that life, who is quiet an open book, I feel like I know a lot from the journalistic world.”

As an actor who has played the role of a journalist, Tsipa said his opinions on journalists have not changed. He has always liked them and believes they play a necessary role in society.

Different in real life

“It’s a needed profession in our world, it’s the truth tellers. The people who go out of their way to find the stories that we as regular citizens aren’t skilled enough or [don’t] have courage to find. I found respect for them, mostly because of some of the trials and tribulations they go through. This project taught me how real investigative journalism can get, especially where it is life threatening.”

Tsipa said he has had positive encounters with journalists and does not think he has lived a tabloid-worthy life.

“It has always been based around my work and nothing on my personal life. So I respect the fact that most of them, respect the boundaries.”

The actor  balances multiple roles that he plays by trying to pick characters that are similar to each other. As a result, when he steps in and out of the different ones, there are clear definitive lines. This make each one a stand-alone individual.

“My biggest highlight in my career was playing the role of Shaka Zulu. It was quite a monumental stepping statement. Career wise it has been one of the most challenging things I have done to date. I had to play the king as a teenager and as an adult. That transformation meant losing weight and putting on weight again while shooting.”

Being at the peak of his career, Tsipa says he never knew that his career would reach this height. He said he has only dreamt of it. However, he could not have known that the opportunities given to him would allow him to shine.

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