Whether it is on stage or on screen, Didintle Khunou has fast made an impact in the South African acting industry with the roles that she has chosen to play. From ‘Janet Weisz’ in The Rocky Horror Show and ‘Celie’ in The Colour Purple to now ‘Esther’ in BET’s first African original telenovela, Isono which is set to air at the end of July 2020.
As the actress continues shooting the new telenovela under lockdown conditions she reflects on her start in acting, the role of entertainment in the current climate and how the industry continues to be opened for young talents.
Q: How did you first get into acting?
DK: I realized my passion for performing at 16 y/o after performing in a school production. Once I matriculated, I decided to study Drama. I attained my Honors degree but I felt I needed to continue training so I began training at ActorWIze and Indigo View Advanced Actor’s Academy. While training, I’d busy myself with cameo roles on TV shows, industrial theatre, children’s theatre and short films, voice over gigs and voice acting projects. With time, I worked my way up to bigger roles and I’ve been at it since 2016.
Q: Have you always wanted to be a performer and what is your earliest performance memory?
DK: Initially, the plan was to become a geologist but after my first experience on stage I knew that telling stories and performing was something I really loved and grew passionate about.
The earliest memory I have of performing was playing with my sister when we were children. We’d play games where we’d perform for each other. Apparently, I’ve always expressed my self through music and song and dance.
Q: You’re currently shooting on BET’s first original African telenovela – how challenging has that been during Covid-19 and lockdown regulations?
DK: You have to be mindful of every single thing you do to protect yourself and those around you. Wash and sanitize your hands frequently. Social distancing feels strange as it is a behavioural change but it’s essential.
Q: What do you think is the role of entertainment in our current climate?
DK: It’s important to support and watch local productions. The arts play an integral role in moulding the moral fabric of a society. It does more than only entertain – supporting our local artists and productions grows our industry. The focus right now has been to showcase African narratives to the world because it opens up more working opportunities for South African creatives.
Q: #OpenUpTheIndustry has been a trending topic for a few years now in SA entertainment – how do you feel the industry has been opened up for you and what advice would you give to aspiring performancers from your lessons learnt?
DK: The industry is opening up. Many young, beautifully talented performers like myself are working. Having a career in the creative industries isn’t easy and like most careers, you have to work your way up. I’d say develop a work ethic that will give you a competitive edge because talent will only get you so far. Stay committed to your dreams, everyone faces rejection, if you give up you will never get to build the future you desire.
Connect with Didintle on Instagram and Twitter
Watch Didintle as Esther in ISONO on BET (DSTv 135) from 27 July 2020 at 21:30 CAT
ABOUT DIDINTLE KHUNOU
Award-winning actress, Didintle Khunou, is formally trained and holds experience as a screen actor, theatre performer, voice actor and as a session vocalist.
The actress is best known for her portrayal of one of the most coveted roles in musical theatre, Celie, in the Grammy, Tony and Naledi award-winning musical, The Color Purple Musical directed by award winning director Janice Honeyman at the Joburg Theatre and The Rocky Horror Show most recently, as Janet Weisz.
Didintle has been honoured with a Fleur Du Cap Nomination for Best Lead Actress in A Musical for her performance as Janet Weisz in The Rocky Horror show and before that, Naledi and BroadwayWorld South Africa Awards for ‘Best Lead Actress In a Musical – Female’ for her performance as Celie.
She played Yerma in an adaptation of Yerma, directed by award winning director, playwright and actor Rajesh Gopie. Khunou was also in Joburg Theatre’s Bertolt Brecht’s epic play, The Caucassian Chalk Circle. Khunou has had numerous television appearances, such as Mamello Season 2 & 3 on SABC2, directed by SAFTA award-winning director Zuko Nodada. Single Galz Season 2 on SABC 1, directed by award-winning actor and director Rea Rangaka and The Throne, a telenovela on Mzansi Magic, produced by Ferguson Films.
Didintle is a Wits School of Arts graduate, having obtained a BA Honours Degree in Dramatic Arts. She’s trained at ActorWize, a professional acting course for film and TV facilitated by respected teacher, actor and director, Rajesh Gopie. She has also trained at Indigo View Actors Academy, founded and driven by one of South Africa’s best directors and acting coaches, Steven Feinstein, facilitated by award winning veteran actors, directors, casting directors such as Sylvaine Strike, Pamela Nomvete, Fiona Ramsey, Greg Homman, Craig Morris, Louise Saint Claire, Craig Friemond and Christa Schamberger. Didintle has trained at the Duma Ndlovu Academy which is facilitated by the highly established producer and director of Word Of Mouth Productions, Duma Ndlovu. She is currently training with Indigo View’s Actors Summer Programme. Didintle strives for excellence and is committed to her growth as a performer. She is constantly finding new ways and platforms to expand her skill set.
Talented, determined and industrious, Didintle looks forward to feature in successful South African productions in film, TV and theatre. Her main mission is to use her artistic agency to collaborate with artists from all over the world to produce art that is educational, spiritually uplifting, displays honest representations of the human condition and inspires mankind to move toward a place of healing and spiritual progression.