Kaunda Selisho
Lifestyle Journalist
4 minute read
16 Nov 2021
2:11 pm

The Ntombi effect: Soapie actors known by their on-screen names

Kaunda Selisho

Considering how long some of these actors have played these roles, we understand why they are more popularly known by their soapie names. 

Sonia Mbele played the character of Ntombi Khumalo on the SABC1 soapie 'Generations', from 2003 to 2011. Picture: Instagram

Soapies are a big deal in South Africa. So much so that the characters on these shows become a major part of audiences’ lives.

Actress Sonia Mbele was recently reminded of this when she realised that her social media followers still call her “Ntombi”.

Mbele is an actress who played the character of Ntombi Khumalo on the SABC1 soapie Generations, from 2003 to 2011, and people still call her by that name an entire decade later. 

Take a look at the other actors who are more popularly known by their soapie character’s name. 

Karabo Moroka – Connie Ferguson

carol bouwer and connie ferguson
Carol Bouwer and Connie Ferguson on the soapie ‘Generations’ during the ’90s. Picture: Screengrab, Instagram @CarolBouwer

Ferguson played the role of Karabo from the very first episode of generations in 1994. She announced on 30 April, 2010 that she was leaving Generations after 16 years to “go out into the world”.

Her final appearance in the soapie was in October 2010. She returned some years later after Generations was revived as Generations: The Legacy to help save the show following the “Generations 16” drama. She left again to devote herself full time to her own production, The Queen on Mzansi Magic.

Charmaine Meintjies – Vinette Ebrahim

Much like Ferguson, Ebrahim has been part of the 7de Laan cast since its inception in the year 2000. She starred in the soapie until 2019 and only bowed out because producers had run out of storylines for her.

Kenneth Mashaba – Seputla Sebogodi

South African soapie actors
Left: Seputla Sebogodi as Kenneth Mashaba on ‘Generations’, Right: Seputla Sebogodi as Kenneth Mashaba on ‘Generations’ alongside his on-screen wife Dineo Mashaba (Katlego Danke)

When Sebogodi joined Generations, he came on board to shake things up and he did exactly that between 2005 and 2014 when he slayed the role of the Sepedi-speaking Kenneth Mashaba. The only thing more iconic than the character’s name is his hilarious one-liners and the pet name he had for his wife, Dineo “Little Dinny” Mashaba. 

Queen Moroka – Sophie Ndaba 

Ndaba took on the role of Queen Moroka with no professional acting training and pulled it off so well, she will go down in history as one of the most unforgettable soapie characters. She single-handedly inspired the use of the word “darling” in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Dr Steve Abrahams – Clint Brink

This former Backstage actor joined the cast of Binnelanders in 2015 and hasn’t looked back since. Fans of the show often find themselves forgetting that his name isn’t even Steve because of his acting on the soapie.

Khethiwe Buthelezi – Winnie Ntshaba

She entered the show as a mild-mannered girl from rural KZN and blossomed before the audiences’ eyes into one of Generation’s most popular (and dramatic characters). These days, she can be found embodying a new role on e.tv’s House of Zwide alongside fellow Generations alumni, Vusi Kunene (who is also known by his Generations character’s name Jack Mabaso).

Thandaza Mukwevho – Sindi Dlathu

Although she played Nomfundo on SABC1’s Soul City between 2001 and 2008, she is best known for her role of Thandaza which she played from 1997 to 2018. After leaving the soapie, she breathed new life into the role of Lindiwe Dlamini-Dikana on 1Magic’s The River.

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Maryke – Marijke van der Westhuizen

Chief Azwindini – Gabriel Temudzani

Temudzani has played his role on Muvhango for 20 years with no apparent signs of slowing down. It is no wonder his character’s name comes to mind first when fans see him anywhere else other than the show. 

Dr Conrad Bester – Hykie Berg

Despite playing a ladies’ man on Egoli, Berg is best known for his Binnelanders role which he has been playing since 2009. He played a character with the same name in the SABC2 soapie 7de Laan.

Fafa Beltrame – Altus Theart