Top actor stages big comeback

Maqashalala puts God first after ending woes, launches own TV series

“Our industry comes with a lot of challenges. If you are not grounded, connected, strongly rooted in your source, which for me personally is God, then you will be tossed around.”
This is the wisdom of KwaBhaca-born (formerly Mount Frere) Noxolo Maqashalala, who many will remember for her lead role as Viwe in the 2003 SABC1 youth drama series Tsha Tsha.
The series lasted for three seasons, during which Maqashalala continued playing the lead role.
Maqashalala has now launched her own TV series, Diamond City, which airs on SABC 1 on Sundays.
“Diamond City is about a hot-shot prosecutor who is unknowingly framed by the very person she trusted the most and must prepare for the criminal trial of her life, as she gathers evidence from inside the same jail she sent other women to. The story takes place in two worlds, each as complex and dark as the other – the courtroom and the Diamond City prison.”
Maqashalala says she was inspired to write a TV series of this nature to generate new knowledge around women, crime and incarceration.
“South Africa has been described as being amongst the most crime-ridden and crime concerned countries in the world. Much of the violence is directed against women and indeed, most women offenders themselves are victims of violence,” says Maqashalala.
“What we know about crime, justice and punishment in South Africa is based almost entirely on frameworks that have been developed to explain the experience of men.
“Almost nothing is known about women incarcerated anywhere on the African continent. Little is known about the circumstances that lead women to commit crimes and the way in which these circumstances interact, leading to particular patterns of offending,” she said.
“Not much is known about the way in which female offenders experience prison life or the impact of their incarceration on their health, well-being, and their connections to people in their lives.
“As a result of this realisation, I was inspired to highlight the nature of female criminality, thereby shifting attention from the all-male focus on crime that has characterised most South African criminology to date.”
She says she went through a dark time in her life where she was struggling financially.
“It was four or five years ago during an extremely difficult season in my life. I’m struggling spiritually, emotionally, financially you name it. With nobody around, all I did was talk to God. It was during those conversations with Him that this idea was dropped into my spirit.”
Maqashalala says after 15 years in the entertainment industry, the wisdom she would give aspiring actors and actresses is to have thick skin and be passionate...

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