5 minutes with Gabisile Tshabalala


Actress and TV presenter Gabisile Tshabalala talks to us about her career and how her first television role earned her a South African Film and Television Award (SAFTA) nomination.

By Kwanele Mathebula

Image courtesy: Gabisile Tshabalala IG

1. I was raised by my grandparents in Soshanguve, Pretoria. I was shy but always knew that I was going to be famous. My mother remarried when I was in primary school, and my stepfather’s outgoing personality encouraged me to come out of my shell. This is how I started gaining confidence in myself. 

2. I wasn’t keen on attending classes in high school. I participated in extramural activities such as athletics, singing and cheer leading but had no interest in school. I spent my days either practicing with my singing group Urram or learning how to play the piano. In matric, I stopped attending school regularly and only went to classes to write tests or exams and submit assignments. My mother understood that my talent and interest were in the arts.

 3. After matric, I enrolled at ATS Helicopters because I wanted to be an air hostess and for performance classes at the State Theatre in Pretoria. Although I initially wanted to be an air hostess, I took my mother’s advice and pursued being a pilot instead. I juggled school and theatre classes for three months and then dropped out to focus on theatre full time. A month later, I saw an advertisement for auditions for SABC youth drama series Hola Mpinji. I went for the auditions and two callbacks later, landed the role of the main character, Pinkie. I received Best Supporting Actress in a drama nomination at the SAFTAs in 2011 for the role.

4. My big break came through SABC 1 TV drama series Intersexions. The show opened many doors for me. These included roles in productions across the SABC such as Fallen, Single Guys and Generations, as well as on e.tv soapie Scandal!, where I acted for two years.

5. I decided to pursue presenting because I have learnt not to limit myself. When I received the call about SABC1 variety talk show Throwback Thursday – #TBT, I had no presenting skills. But, I knew that it was something I could learn and do. When I found out that comedian Skhumba was the co-host, I felt even more comfortable because we knew each other. The show served to showcase my fun side.

6. I am looking forward to shooting the second season of #TBT. I have also just shot a movie with comedian David Kau, which will be coming out on DStv soon.