The lovely Zethu Dlomo chats with INFLUX Magazine

by Martin Hafer

When I was recently asked if I could interview Zethu Dlomo, I had no idea who she was—nor should I as she’s a South African actress and her work has not yet been seen here in the States.  However, after seeing her film debut in Fanie Fourie’s Lobola, which I recently reviewed for Influx, and learning that this wonderful film is being released here, I see her as being a real star in the making. Not only was she amazing in this leading role, but she was a joy to interview.  Her laugh made me laugh and she had a wonderful way of making me feel at ease.

Martin Hafer: I feel so honored to get to talk with you.  Your film is wonderful and I could go on and on about what I liked in Fanie Fourie’s Lobola

Zethu Dlomo: Thank you, thank you.  That means a lot to me because I am just out of film school and it’s my first film!

Martin: …and you are the STAR!

Zethu: It was a real surprise to me…’you mean I got the role?!?!’.  I was amazing!  It really helped because the chemistry was so good between me an Eduan [Eduan van Jaarsveldt—who co-starred with Zethu in the film] and when we were auditioning it worked out so well.  When they told me I had the part, I said ‘what about that guy who auditioned with me?  Is he in it too?’.  We both seemed to have a lot of energy together and it really worked out.

Martin: You are sweet together—which is so important for a romantic comedy.  But, there was one thing I didn’t like about the film … that “Dinky” song at the end of the movie was so very catchy it wouldn’t get out of my head!!  I keep hearing Chris Cameleon’s song from the closing credits—even two days later!

Zethu: Imagine how we must have felt!  We were singing that song for WEEKS!  He’s a really cool singer!

Martin: And I should be too old for this type of music … but I loved it.  What did you love about the film?

Zethu: l loved how the film talked about all the cultural and historical differences that take place in South Africa.  I also like how it shows how much things have changed—black people are now moving out to the suburbs and now the film talks about equality.  Are we equal?  Are we becoming equal?  Where do we go from here?  The film raises some great political questions—but is still very entertaining.

Martin: How common is the ‘lobola’ in South Africa? [This is a dowry paid to the bride’s father by the groom for the right to marry the bride]

Zethu: It’s very common in South Africa—and not just among Zulus.  The black South Africans still believe in the lobola—it’s a very global thing, like in India and many other countries.

Martin: So has anyone paid a lobola for you?

Zethu: No, no, ha, ha, ha … not yet!  I am not yet married.  For the character of Dinky, I needed to consult people around me about their lobola before we even shot the film.  Nobody had done this in my immediate family.  It’s a part of our culture that I would like for myself…

Martin: And your father would love to receive the Lobola but I don’t know if me really wants to have cows [the traditional item given for the lobola]—especially since he lives in Johannesburg!  I loved seeing the cows in your film … being driven right into a township near downtown Johannesburg!!

Zethu: Yes, yes!!  But it was also quite a beautiful image because it doesn’t happen that way anymore.  There is no way we can ask for cows now [this is the tradition more in rural South Africa—money is usually exchanged in the towns instead]!

Martin: I loved your father in the film!  He was so wonderful!

Zethu: I guess dads will be dads—across cultures dads love their daughters.  It’s a very strong love—regardless of race or culture.  You don’t see a lot of those relationships in films.  I came to realize how much Zulus and Afrikaners had in common despite their different colors—not just the fathers but in so many other ways.
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Martin: Yes.  There is so much that is universal about this film.  Have you gotten to see my article yet about your film?

Zethu: No, not yet.

Martin: Well, there was one actor in the film who I mentioned was my favorite—someone I really could believe was real.  Who do you think that was?

Zethu: I have no idea … ha, ha.

Martin: Well, it was you.  For a film debut, you were incredible and seemed so natural and so real.

Zethu: Thank you.  Maybe this was because I didn’t see myself as acting…I really just got into the part.  We all experience emotions like Dinky—we’ve all cried and loved. So, the more I am real to myself, the easier it is to be the character.

Martin: What things are you passionate about in your life?

Zethu: I am a newly born again Christian.  I am very passionate about the youth of today…they have gone astray and through my acting I can do more than just put on a show—we hold a critical mirror we hold up to society.  I also watch a lot of films, read, watch The Game of Thrones and go to the gym…otherwise I am working—which is probably my greatest passion.

Martin: What’s next for you?

Zethu: In December, I am moving to Los Angeles to attend the New York Film Academy [yes, they have a location in LA … which is a bit confusing because of the name].

Martin: So perhaps we’ll soon be seeing you in some American productions…I sure hope so!  Thank you very much—it’s been a pleasure.

You can see Zethu in Fanie Fourie’s Lobola—and it’s a terrific romantic comedy—just the sort of picture to see with someone you love.  And, it’s coming out in the States right now—so keep an eye out for it. Attached is a short behind-the-scenes video where you can see Zethu talk about her role in Fanie Fourie’s Lobola.