Mapula Mafole talks about life after ‘Rhythm City’, battling depression. When the opportunity came to star in Season 3 of Unmarried that airs on 1 Magic Mapula Mafole grabbed it with both hands .
Not only did she feel she was ready to showcase her range as an actress but she had put in the work to perfect her skill after her departure from Rhythm City.
Though many South Africans got to know the actress on Rhythm City, she had starred in many roles before.
“My very first acting gig was Intersexions, I think it was Intersexions 2, way back in 2012, and I had a cameo role. The character’s name was Beauty. It was exciting because I was still in school.”
Added to her CV were productions like Z’bondiwe and Saint and Sinners.
“They weren’t really big roles. Then I had a part in Generations: The Legacy just after they changed it to the Legacy, I think that’s were people started to recognise me more and then from there, I got a call that they like to see me at Rhythm City.”
Now Mapula plays Rea on Unmarried Season 3 as a lead alongside Khanya Mkangisa and Florence Mokgatsi.
She says with Unmarried everything happened quickly.
“By the time we were getting scripts and the ball was rolling, I started to see this character and how she was developing, and I was shook, I was like shook. But from a performance perspective it was really nice because it challenged me a lot.
“This character she is not who we would call a nice person (we are not supposed to judge characters and I’m not). Things she does is not nice to her friends. But it was good for me to come out of my shell, also to remind myself that I am capable of doing more than what I’ve always done and I’m hoping that people watching get to see that I have a bit of range. I’m not just a schoolgirl type cast, I can be cast for more mature things. I can be cast for things that have more mature subject matter.”
Though she has moved up, Mapula says she will never forget her character on Rhythm City.
“I would like to believe that I have a very long career ahead of me but I feel like that character is one character that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. It was such an impactful role in so many ways. She went through so much. Anything that you can think of, she went through and that opened my eyes personally to some of the things that people out there go through. I’ll always be grateful for that opportunity and that journey. I grew a lot as a person, it was really a privilege to play such a character.
“I struggled with depression a lot in those years, with my own things but I also think some of it was the character. Because sometimes I think I would forget it’s not me.”
After six years of being on the show, Rhythm City was canned.
“To be fair and honest, I did slip into some depression again after that. Our industry is not easy and being an artist is so difficult. Work wasn’t coming as fast as I would’ve liked and hoped so I took some time to go do some training at the Market Theatre, I’m still busy with that, even now. But I will be finished soon. That really did help keep the fire burning and sharpening my skills. As an artist you can’t say you have arrived you always have to be learning and any day things can go back to ground zero and you have to hustle again like you haven’t been working every day.”