Rising East Cape star shines in new telenovela

Amamkele Qamata's talent was recognised while she was still at school.
Amamkele Qamata's talent was recognised while she was still at school.
Image: Supplied

Aged just 21, Eastern Cape actress Amamkele Qamata is cementing her name with notable roles in television.

Mzansi Magic viewers will soon witness the young star's talent in the new telenovela, Gomora, debuting on March 30.

Qamata hails from the Eastern Cape village of Cala in the Sakhisizwe municipality.

In the show, Qamata plays 15-year-old Buhle, the outspoken and snobbish daughter of a wealthy Sandton couple whose lives are set to take an unexpected turn from riches to rags.

She was handpicked for the role by executive producer Kutlwano Ditsele after they worked together in Netflix's second African original series Blood and Water, for which Ditsele was casting director.

The actress also plays a lead role in the Netflix series, which is yet to be aired.

Qamata, a University of Cape Town theatre and performance student, has put her studies on hold and moved to Johannesburg to shoot Gomora.

Having been on set shooting for about three weeks now, Qamata said she was enjoying the dynamics of her character.

“Buhle is a very interesting character and, what stands out for me is her confidence and ability to go for whatever she wants, which is something I can relate to because I'm also like that.

“A lot of people will view her as a brat but what I've learnt from playing her character is that people are complex. Nobody is one dimensional, and everything about Buhle is a result of the life she's always known and how she was raised,” Qamata said.

The Reddam House School alumnus acts alongside seasoned actresses such as lead Katlego Danke, Port Elizabeth's Zolisa Xaluva, Themba Ndaba, Thembi Seete, Connie Chiume and newcomers NtobekoSishi and Siphesihle Ndaba.

Qamata, however, is no newbie to the camera as the rising star has already graced Mzansi's TV screens on SABC 1's My Perfect Family while she was in high school. She has also acted on E.tv soap opera Rhythm City and is in the international film Commandos: The Mission.

Her interest in acting was ignited in primary school when she played the character of Snow White in a school play and received critical acclaim from teachers and fellow pupils for her performance.

Though she had always enjoyed being the spectacle of her family, her Snow White performance was the defining moment for her, she said.

“My drama teacher gave me an award for that performance and made a speech, saying she believed I would go on and win an Oscar one day but she wanted to be the first person to honour me with an award,” Qamata said.

Gomora, named after the Johannesburg township of Alexandra, tells the story of two families who lead different lives on opposite ends of the economic spectrum. Their worlds collide when the breadwinner of the wealthy Sandton family's life takes an unexpected turn.

The brainchild of Ditsele, the show is written by Emmy-nominated telenovela The River's producers Phathutshedzo Makwarela and Gwydion Beynon.

Introducing the show's fresh talent on Twitter earlier this week, Ditsele said he looked forward to seeing viewers' engagement with Qamata's character.

“This young actress plays Buhle on the show & I’m pretty certain she will trend regularly with the amount of spice her character has,” he tweeted.

Qamata said she and her fellow young actors received a lot of support from the more experienced actors on set.

“They are teaching us a lot about the industry and  how to balance humility with professionalism.

“Everyone has just been intentional about opening up the industry and I'm excited to be a part of this new generation of actors that get to work with such amazing performers,” she said.

Gomora debuts on March 30 and will air at 7.30pm on weekdays on Mzansi Magic, channel 161.

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