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A look into Mpho Sebeng’s last project before his death

South African Film and Television Awards nominee Mpho Sebeng passed away in May, but his memory lives on as Whiskey, a radio DJ in the series '016FM' that premieres later this month.

South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTA) nominee Mpho Sebeng (Saints & Sinners, Ring of Lies, Savage Beauty) starred as DJ Whiskey in his final role before his untimely passing in May.

To save their much-loved community radio station in the Vaal from closing, two polar opposite DJs prepare to compete in a kwaal, a radical battle on-air. They know it will be a fight to reclaim the hearts of listeners and advertisers, but don’t realise they will also have to oust a dangerous, shadowy syndicate that has infiltrated the station.

Joseph Sedibo (Rhythm City, Empini) co-stars as DJ Tsietsi in the Showmax Original drama series, which premieres on June 26, with new episodes every Wednesday.

016FM’s star-studded cast also includes four-time SAFTA winner Nthati Moshesh (Saints & Sinners, Isono), SAFTA winner Sophie Ndaba (Lockdown), Sello Motloung (The Wife), Katlego Mabote (Outlaws), Mapula Molefe (Rhythm City), Noni Mafani (1802: Love Defies Time), Mapaseka Koetle (Lenyalo Ha Se Papadi) and YFM DJ Caddy Tsotetsi.

In his final interview, Mpho shared with Zibuyile Dladla what 016FM meant to him.

Why did you want to be a part of 016FM?

In addition to my character, DJ Whiskey, and most importantly the storyline, what piqued my interest about 016FM is that it’s a story that is about the Vaal. I feel like there haven’t been many stories that have shed light on this particular part of the country. For me, the Vaal is such a melting pot of culture, fashion and language, which was something I was very drawn to while doing my research about the area.

What research did you do for this role?

There is a big pop-cultural movement in the Vaal that is highly influenced by Italian high fashion. DJ Whiskey is an Italiana as well, so I immersed myself in understanding this movement to have a better understanding of the character. So I had to take the time to hang around with the locals, especially the people who started the culture of ama-Italiana and izikhothane.

I also watched a lot of videos and skits online. I would purposefully look for skits made by people from the Vaal going about their day.

I’d also link up with friends from Sebokeng and Sharpeville [which form part of the six townships in the Vaal] and that helped with fleshing out this character.

The research gave me a deep appreciation and respect for the area. This place has so much history and so much to offer. I feel like a show like 016FM shows the great potential that is within the people of the Vaal.

How would you describe DJ Whiskey?

He is someone that likes the limelight and wants to be number one. It’s all he knows. He wants to be the alpha of every room that he steps in. He’s also a lone wolf that has to fend for everyone.

Sometimes when you read characters on paper, it’s difficult to humanise them, so I tried by all means to show that, although DJ Whiskey comes across as an intolerable human, there are underlying reasons why he is like that.

Why do you feel 016FM is a must-watch show for South Africans?

My stance as an actor is that the majority of the time it isn’t necessarily characters that I’m drawn to but mostly the story – the storyline has to stick. I want to always be on a set where the story that we tell has a strong resonating message that everyone can connect with and a story which people can somehow find healing from. So I implore people to watch 016FM because it’s not just entertainment but a story about community and holding each other accountable.

Watch the trailer:

Also see: SA mourns young actor Mpho Sebeng

The post A look into Mpho Sebeng’s last project before his death appeared first on Bona Magazine.

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