Skeem Saam actress Nompilo Mwelase is accused of being “rude and heartless” towards aspiring actors who attended auditions organised by Black Brains Pictures.
The production company, owned by esteemed actor and producer Mandla N, spent a weekend in KwaZulu-Natal scouting for IsiZulu-speaking actors and actresses.
The auditions kicked off in Newcastle and wrapped up in.
Mwelase, who plays the role of Nokuthula on SABC1’s weekday drama series, was a casting director during the auditions staged at a packed Batcentre in Durban on Saturday.
Hopefuls sent packing
Some hopefuls alleged that they were not afforded time to showcase their talents because they were rudely cut by Mwelase.
Sizwe Mbanjwa, who said he borrowed money from friends in order to get closer to realising his dream, was among 2 000 aspiring actors who allege that they were subjected to ill-treatment.
“Right now I am questioning my credibility and worth in this entertainment industry, I have never been so embarrassed,” said Mbanjwa.
“Just when I was getting started, that lady from Skeem Saam curtly cut me by saying ‘next’.
Another dejected hopeful Nozizwe Mdletshe accused Mwelase of being impatient, alleging that she showed preferential treatment to people who are already in the acting industry.
“It was heartbreaking to see some kids walking away in tears after that harsh rejection. Imagine being turned away like that after having gone through grueling preparations and sacrifice, said Mdletshe.
“What I also picked up is that some people were allowed to bypass the long queue at the expense of others who had endured the scorching sun.
“That was unfair because some of us arrived in the early hours.”
Approached for comment, Mwelase said she feels the social media backlash on her is unfair.
“People must work on their craft. I’m not gonna be having bosses not happy with my work trying to please people,” said Mwelase.
“I had a judge having to do pre-screening after me because I was being kind and letting people go through, but judges complained that they were getting only ‘wooden mics’ instead of people they were really looking for.
“Having been an actor for a while, I can easily spot one with a potential.”
She advised aspiring actors not to give up after the rejection.
“I have been down this road myself, but I dusted myself up and kept knocking on doors until my break came.
“This year is the fourth year I am working with Mandla N because I had to go through phases. As much as some people were desperate for opportunities at the auditions, I was also doing my job to the best of my ability.”
Some people on social media say it was not the first time that Black Brains Pictures subjected aspiring actors to bad treatment in Durban.
The production company is among leading storytellers in the country having produced Lockdown, Isitha: The Enemy, The Back Door and Diep City, among others.
Mandla N was not available for comment.