Sophie Lichaba talks Lockdown

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Sophie Lichaba talks Lockdown

Actress Sophie Lichaba has joined the stellar cast of award-winning prison drama, Lockdown. She chats to us about her new role and future plans. By Kwanele Mathebula

Image: Sophie Ndaba IG

I joined Lockdown because it is one of the best local dramas at the moment. South African creators are often too afraid to show gritty drama. But, the show’s creator and director, Mandla N, went all out in telling the reality. That is what attracted me to it.

SEE ALSO: A first look at Sophie Lichaba in Lockdown

It took a month to shoot the show. It’s quite rare for a drama series set on location to shoot that quickly. But, the cast and crew are good at what they do, which made things easy. Also, the way the set is designed went a long way to ensuring that we shot in a short space of time and met the timelines without compromising on the quality. I enjoyed my time on set because the cast and crew welcomed me with open arms. It was as if I had been a member since season one. Also, it was great to catch up with Pamela Nomvete, whom I worked with on Generations years ago.

Working with Mandla N was an incredible experience. This is because working with a director who’s committed, open-minded, prepared and understanding is an actor’s dream. He consulted his cast, allowed input and shared the glory with his entire team. He also wasn’t just focused on making the actor look good, but also on telling the story. That was a great learning experience because some directors are afraid to tell actors if they’re not happy with certain scenes.

My character is going to shock audiences. I play Palesa, the head nurse at the Kgotsong Asylum where two other characters are transferred to. Palesa is broken, and a lot of women will identify with her. She’s in love with the head of the hospital, who also happens to be her ex-husband. He abused her during their marriage and continues to do so even after they’ve separated because he knows how much she loves him. Palesa is also dealing with the results of a near-fatal accident that left her body scarred. I drew a lot of inspiration from her character from my own life because I’ve also went through a major physical change due to my struggle with diabetes. So, I drew from my personal pain of being attacked by people as well as what they said. A lot of women are going to see her pain and see themselves in her, even though their stories are different.

SEE ALSO: Sophie Lichaba joins Lockdown

I didn’t have a challenge playing this role because we went through similar experiences. Palesa was written with me in mind. The writers tapped into what they knew about me, and then matched it to the character. This made it easier for me to play her because it was personal. A lot of actors have to go all out when playing characters that are completely different from themselves. Luckily, this wasn’t the case for me.

This year, I’m working on rebuilding myself. Last year was about everybody else, but this one is about me. When you’ve lost your mind and body because of an illness, it’s not easy to regain them. You can only do so when you have a safe space of confidence, not worrying what people think and knowing that you’re fighting for yourself. Nothing is going to stop me from rebuilding myself. I’m looking forward to more amazing opportunities, working on more amazing shows such as Lockdown and building my events business.

Lockdown has moved from Mzansi Magic and is coming only to Showmax from 30 January 2020, with two new episodes every Thursday.