Eastern Cape actor Sisanda Henna lands plumb role in new TV drama

Eastern Cape actor Sisanda Henna plays the villian on new M-Net show 'Trackers '
Eastern Cape actor Sisanda Henna plays the villian on new M-Net show 'Trackers '
Image: Supplied

The much-anticipated M-Net thriller Trackers will hit television screens on Sunday and with it the return of Eastern Cape actor Sisanda Henna to the small screen.

An adaptation of SA author Deon Meyer’s 2011 crime novel of the same name, the six-episode series boasts a  star-studded cast including Thapelo Mokoena, Sandi Schatz, James Gracie and Henna as he takes on a role like none he has played before.

The channel hosted an exclusive pre-screening of the series’s first episode at Montecasino on Thursday night.

An excited Henna said: “I honestly can’t even tell what will stand out for people once they’ve watched this show because it’s all so amazing.

“I’m a big fan of Deon Meyer’s work and everything about this series is intriguing.” 

Widely known for his breakout character, Andile, in the classic SA drama series Tshatsha, Henna has shown his versatility since the early 2000s. 

He has stretched his talent from playing Andile, a young rural Xhosa man with a kind heart and calm spirit on Tshatsha to a pastor on Etv’s Hustle and several other roles before taking a hiatus and exercising his directing skills behind the scenes of some of SA’s most memorable TV stories.

A crime boss living the high life, Shabangu is often referred to as Inkunzi. He is portrayed by South African actor Sisanda Henna.

For a number of years off screen, he directed and produced shows such as SABC1’s InterseXions, Gauteng Maboneng and Mzansi Magic’s Greed and Desire.

While he most recently played Samson on SABC1’s 2018 miniseries Emjindini, Henna’s character on Trackers is the ultimate comeback role.

On Trackers, Henna plays Nkunzi, a ruthless mercenary smuggler in cahoots with a terrorist organisation.

This role feeds into his long-contained hunger to play the “bad guy”, the actor from Dutywa said.

He had first come across the character of Quinn, an intelligence officer played by Thapelo Mokoena, and felt he had played enough good guys.

“When I was introduced to Nkunzi, the goal I set and what I knew would be most difficult, was to make people actually experience him as though he is a real person.

“Just like they held on to Andile from Tshatsha like he was real, I wanted them to watch Nkunzi and see him alive,” Henna said.

This explosive return did not come without much preparation both physically and mentally, he said.

“I had to transform myself and get into gym  for a while to portray the person Nkunzi is,” he said.

“There was a period where I focused on directing, writing and producing a little bit and more than that I needed a time to find myself as an artist.

“But after going on that journey there was this urge in me so I started auditioning again and started taking acting classes, which I believe in now more than ever before,” he said.

When he was first welcomed by viewers into their homes through TV, Henna had never set food inside an acting school and was self-taught.

“I learnt acting from the streets by studying people and spending as much time with them as I needed to understand the core of who they are and their lifestyle.

“I couldn’t go to acting school even though I wanted to, but when you really love something, you go out of your way to make it happen,” he said.

Trackers premieres on October 27 at 8pm on M-Net.

Intrigue, suspense, and drama abound in the heart of Cape Town in new local drama Trackers, based on the book by Deon Meyer.