Umlazi star – Khaya Dladla


We explore Umlazi, a township in KwaZulu-Natal, through the eyes of Uzalo actor Khaya Dladla.

Khaya, who plays the character of GC on Uzalo, was born and bred in Umlazi’s BB section. This is one of the 26 sections often described as the suburb of the township because it is quiet. “As a gay boy, I enjoyed growing up in my township because I had a happy childhood that was safe from harassment and criminals,” he says.

By: Fundiswa Nkwanyana

Pics: Khaya Ngwenya

Taking centre stage

Because he was hyperactive, his parents enrolled him for ballet classes from the age of six. They wanted a nurturing outlet for him to release his creative energy. He started to excel in performing arts, and at eight, was offered his first paying job. “I have always been on stage; I was born to be a performer,” he says proudly.


Growing up in Umlazi

When he was not on stage, he was playing with his friends. “My parents were strict, so I had to sneak out to play on the streets,” he recalls. “They are religious, and knew that I was gay from a young age. They embraced me for who I am. I used to cook with my mother in the kitchen, and mow the lawn with my father. For me, that was normal and made my childhood memorable,” he says.

Out and about

Khaya loved going to the library because it had an open area that he and his friends used for rehearsals and dance classes. “When I got to the library, I would quickly do my homework and rush off to rehearsals. I wanted to be the best and outshine the others,” he says. When he grew older, he started hanging out at a popular entertainment spot called Max’s Lifestyle during the weekends. “This spot was perfect because we didn’t have money to go into the city for entertainment. So, my friends and I would meet at this central spot and hang out,” he explains. Khaya loves music and dancing, and that is why he enjoyed going to Max’s Lifestyle because the spot had plenty of music and dancing.


Onwards and upwards

This all-round entertainer’s future looks exciting as he plans on releasing a single with his band Salt & Light, dabbling into radio presenting and growing his company – Khaya Entertainment Guru. As the Simon Sabela Best Supporting Actor 2015 award-winner and an upcoming presenter, Khaya feels that this is his time to shine, and he is ready to claim his place in the entertainment industry.

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