Sandisiwe Mbhele
Lifestyle Journalist
3 minute read
13 Oct 2021
5:32 pm

Bonnie Mbuli bags another international role in ‘Wallander’

Sandisiwe Mbhele

Bonnie Mbuli also talks about nerves on set and being worthy of being in the room.

Bonnie Mbuli stars as a policewoman Grace Mthembu on crime drama 'Wallander'. Picture: Supplied

Actress Bonnie Mbuli is once again starring alongside titans, this time as a policewoman in the popular British series Wallander.

Wallander is a Swedish adaptation of the novels by author Henning Mankel. The English version stars Sir Kenneth Branagh (Thor, Harry Potter and Dunkirk) as Kurt Wallander, a detective in the small town of Ystad, Sweden. He and his team investigate and solve several murders.

Season four of the crime series is based on policewoman Grace Mthembu, played by Mbuli, who is investigating the murder of a Swedish national who worked in South Africa and Wallander gets called to assist her in the case.

Mbuli describes Mthembu as relatable, as seen in many Wallander characters, which she feels is quite important in police dramas. She adds that they don’t portray a police force that are superheroes, as sometimes seen in certain shows.

“What I really like about Grace Mthembu’s character, you could believe that she’s a career working mother in the South African climate under the pressures she faces,” she says.

Mbuli explains Mthembu’s complexities include dealing with the loss of her husband, living in Khayelitsha with her family and being a hard-working cop.

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This season was shot in Cape Town. Mbuli shares she admires Sir Kenneth as an actor and has found it in her career that actors that have big names, who have a vast body of work are usually more humble.

“It’s always a shock to me because the entertainment industry sells a story or the narrative the bigger you are, people must feel your presence or your immortality.

“Kenneth had a way of still directing well acting but he didn’t do it in an overbearing manner or in an intrusive way. He would help give a direction of a scene that he felt could help the scene in a positive way. He’s a very humble actor and performer.”

Mbuli has starred in many series locally and internationally and admits she still gets nervous on set and at auditions.

“I am always nervous because I ask myself, ‘can I pull it off this time?’ It’s adrenaline, it’s a feeling that I can never want to be without. It keeps me on my toes and it keeps me thinking how I want to make things better and how I want to be better,” she says.

The biggest thing she has learnt from other actors is confidence and that you are worthy of being in the room.

We can expect her to return to Nought + Crosses on BBC for season two as Jasmine Hadley as filming is completed.

Lead characters Sephy (Masali Bduza) and Callum (Jack Rowan) are childhood friends whose relationship blossoms into romance. The series is based in a contemporary dystopian society divided by colour, with strict race laws. Sephy, a `Cross’, is a member of the black ruling class, whereas Callum is a `Nought’ – a white member of the underclass, making their romance very contentious.

Mbuli says fans can expect more drama and resolutions from the cling hanger of season one.

Wallander is streaming exclusively on Britbox.