Star chooses drama over science

Growing up Cofimvaba-born Zimkitha Nyoka envisioned herself working in a laboratory as a scientist. However, her love for the arts recently saw her ditching the lab for television.

The 23-year-old has now put her biochemistry studies on hold while she focuses on her acting career. Nyoka currently plays the role of Olwethu on’s Gold Diggers every weekday at 8pm.

Speaking with the Saturday Dispatch, Nyoka said after her big debut in 2014 her studies had to take a backseat.

“I auditioned for Mutual Friends in 2014. After getting a role I had to put my studies on hold. I thought I would go back last year but I landed a role on Gold Diggers and acting won again,” she said.

The University of Johannesburg student said she hoped to finish her degree next year.

“From next week I am shooting season 2 of Mutual Friends. There was no way that I could go to school,” she said.

The mathematics and science pupil only started paying attention to drama when she was in Grade 10.

“I remember one of my teachers saying that he saw an artist in me. He even suggested that I move from Indwe High School to Lady Grey Arts Academy,” she said. A year later, Nyoka changed schools.

Even though she was channelling the artist in her, Nyoka did not stop loving science. After matric, she studied Biochemistry and Botany at UJ.

“Following science made more sense for me. Everyone at home supported science over the arts. While I was studying I did some productions but it got to a point where I had to focus on one,” she said.

Although her love for science has not died, Nyoka said she no longer saw herself working in a lab.

“I would rather be on a set than be in a lab,” she said.

Unlike many upcoming actors, Nyoka has not struggled to get roles.

“I have been blessed with roles since 2014. I haven’t been without a job. A lot of people say I look young and I guess that helps me in getting roles,” she said.

Nyoka said she would finish her degree to honour her parents.

“They have been supportive towards my chosen career choice but I still feel I should finish what I started,” she said.

Last year the former Lady Grey Arts Academy pupil shot her first film, which is expected to be released later in the year. “Every actor has to shoot a film even if it’s just once in their career. I had the most amazing experience.”

Nyoka said she hoped to one day do a theatre musical. “I’ve done theatre but not a musical. That is my next goal right now,” she said.

Catch Nyoka every week day on at 8pm.