Character Biography

Information on key members of the cast and the production team

Cast

  • Nozipho: Thando Dlamini
  • Sipho: Gift Mokhampanyane
  • Kagiso (KG): Thabo Mlangeni
  • Zingi: Josellyn Fember
  • Tshidi: Florence Mokgatsi
  • Thami: Gift Kubheka
  • Hamilton: Shaughn Reyneke
  • Kylie: Claire Zijlestra
  • Pule: Serai “Stoan” Seate
  • Gogo: Aletta Majola
  • Prins: Obed Baloyi
  • Brenda: Carmel Fisher
  • Brett Neel Classens
  • Clinton: Mortimer Williams
  • Cath: Lee Ann Sheperd
  • Brooke: Tamia Ameen

Bios of key cast members

Thando Dlamini (Nozipho)

As active in the arts as she is on the sports field the multi-talented Thando Dlamini is a real credit to Sacred Hearts College. When she’s not on stage singing, dancing or acting you will find this energetic 16-year old enjoying herself in the great outdoors where she’ll be playing either netball, volleyball or basketball. She also speaks three languages - Zulu, English and Sotho. Thando’s early career in drama has already seen her in a lead role in District Six, a school play, and she has one of the major roles in Soul Buddyz. One of three siblings, she plays the marimba to the delighted audience of her brother and sister.

Nozipho in the series

Nozipho is a likeable, energetic young girl who writes and sings (as part of therapy). She also loves to sing and combines this with a beautiful voice and an independent spirit. She is at the core of the Soul Buddyz, and is a powerful role model to her generation of friends. She is a dreamer who dreams of a whole lot of things and wants it all at the same time. She wants to be a singer, a writer, and probably also to study electrical engineering in the future. While she dreams of the future she must in fact learn to embrace the joy of the moment. She has come to terms with the trauma of the rape and her HIV status. She has been forced to grow up sooner than her peer group and has learnt to celebrate living for today. She needs to learn to slow down, take it easy, and just live for today.

Gift Mokhampanyane (Sipho)

Apart from a handful of school plays Gift Mokhampanyane, had no other acting experience when he landed a part in the all-popular Soul Buddyz by showing his talents at the audition. A drama and art student at the National School of the Arts, this 16-year old speaks English and Sotho. He is a continuous source of entertainment to his mother who says he is, “cute, funny and makes me laugh.” He is a fan of local music, movies, soccer and watching TV.

He admires Isidingo’s Zeb Matabane, Karabo and Simphiwe from Generations and Doris Mokoena from Muvhango. Gift plans to make it big in Hollywood by winning an Oscar for best actor, but for now he’s content to learn some skills from great movie stars like Martin Lawrence, Will Smith, Jackie Chan, Mel Gibson, Chris Tucker and Sean Connery.

Sipho in the series

Over the years Sipho has grown taller than Nozipho and fancies himself the older of the two, and with his protective attitude toward her, causes tension with his twin sister. He’s a virgin and though he feels committed to staying one until he finishes school he does struggle with how to deal with the peer pressure amongst some of the new guys he hangs with. His greatest fear is losing his sister which results in him fussing over her

His dream and talent is to be a professional soccer player. He’s a soccer player and wants to be a famous soccer player. He carries a soccer ball with him a lot of times. He’s a free-kick specialist and his friends has given a soccer nickname - Mgaga (a township slang for ‘keeping serious’). He gets his inspiration from his father, who is supportive and who always gives him a very hard training before every game he plays for his school. He is handsome and aware of it and he flaunts it. He is the funny one amongst the buddies and always tries to be funny. When he gets agitated he taps his fingers on something and that’s how his Buddyz know that he’s getting impatient. By the end of the series, when his sister goes to high school he will go off to a soccer school of Excellency!!

Thabo Mlangeni (Kagiso/KG)

Thabo Mlangeni hails from Albertvilles and is in Grade 5 at IR Griffiths Primary School in Blairgowrie. His favourite subject is Maths and he’s into athletics. His favourite colour is blue and he is into jazz and rock. He says his musical influence comes from his father, who is a music enthusiast. He was chosen from hundreds of hopefuls at the Soul City Search or a Star auditions As part of the winning prize, Thabo won and has undergone an intensive acting course that will cover basic acting, dance and television acting techniques to prepare them for the lead roles in the Soul Buddyz series .

KG in the series

KG has been living with his grandmother since his mother died of AIDS. His early years where spent in a rural village and her grandmother is his guardian and they live in Soweto,

KG’ is an .adorable boy with sparkly eyes and a brilliant smile and loves saying “Wang’thola?” (Which means do you know what I’m saying) and at his coolest walks with a bit of a bounce in his walk. He is a people pleaser, outgoing, friendly and bubbly but occasionally recoils and buries the feelings of loosing her mother. He regrets not spending as much time with mum before she got confined to the bed. His saving grace is that he is a lyricist and expresses his emotions in his rap lyrics. One of his role models is Hip Hop Pantsula because he expresses himself.

He idolizes Sipho and is cool with the other guys. His motto is: ‘Life is short, enjoy it’. Part of his philosophy of life is that we must make as many people happy because no one knows when they’re going to die.

Josèlynn Fember (Zingi)

Josèlynn Fember was born in Springs and is the second child of three. Josèlynn is presently in grade 9 and attends Rand Girls high school in Braamfontein, Johannesburg and has the habit to imitate people. Josèlynn was discovered in the Soul City Search for a Star audition, after begging her mother to take her to the auditions. Her favourite subject is Arts and Culture. She has undergone an acting course that covered basic acting, dance and television acting techniques as part of her prize

Zingi in the series

Zingi is Pule’s lovechild, though he is unaware that he fathered a child. Her mother decides to ask Pule to take care of her while she goes to set up home in the UK.

Zingi and Pule are both confused and angry and struggle to build their relationship in the beginning. Pule tries to make things easy for her by organizing that the Buddyz take her in as one of them. Zingi is not impressed and wants to do her own thing. She takes her frustrations out by painting graffiti on the school wall and making friends with an older boy who proves to be dangerous for her. She quite rebellious and has a very active character.

Florence Mokgatsi (Tshidi)

Florence was born in Meadowlands, Soweto and started acting professionally 2005. She is in Grade 10 at Forte High School in Dobsonville and also studying drama at the Youth in Trust Performing Arts in Marshalltown. She is appearing on 90 Plein Street, which is currently broadcast on SABC 2. She was features a lead actress in a stage play called Everyday and Mafia Kids and also performed at the Windbrow’s Childrens’ theatre and at the Wits Great Hall theatre with Youth in Trust. Her ambition is to become the best dancer and actress and feature in Hollywood film.

She has won best actress in 2006 for Kongkoriko Productions and her hobbies are reading, writing and modelling. She believes in hard work and discipline and her advice to the youth is to make use of their God given talents and set themselves goals

Tshidi in the series

Tshidi grew up in a rural community with her older brother Thapelo. They became orphans when their parents died of HIV and struggled for a while to come to terms with their new circumstances. But the community was supportive and after their selfish and gambling aunt left, an elderly woman took on the role of guardian.

Tshidi is extremely close to Thapelo and when he leaves for an athletics bursary, she become lonely and experiences hardship, even though the community and Gogo are supportive. Tshidi finds herself uprooted from her familiar rural surroundings and has to move to the township with relatives. She joins the urban school and struggles with speaking English. The original Soul Buddyz remain her role models even though she experiences bullying in the but just like them, she wants similarly active in her community.

Tshidi decides to keep a diary, not only to improve her language abilities but also to keep track and express her feelings.

Gift Kubekha (Thami)

Gift is 15 years old and the last in his family. He has a brother and two sisters who, and is the outspoken one in the family. Acting is his passion and when he is not on the Soul Buddyz set, he likes watching TV, reading and playing soccer and cricket.

He is fluent in English, Zulu, Venda and Tswana. His mom and Madiba are his role models and they inspire him to become a better person. He plans to run his own production house in future and is motivated by directors, Bobby Heaney and Muntu Zwane.

Thami in the series

Thami is an idealist, perfectionist, obedient and very diplomatic. He always tries to avoid conflict and sees himself as a problem solver. He wants to help others and almost always puts himself last.

He was abandoned as a child by his mother but recently reunited with his mother. Thami had high expectations for the reunion it turned out to be a disappointment. He now lives with his adoptive family. For the first time he has a sense of belonging after years at an orphanage. He felt unwanted when he watched his friends from the orphanage get adopted and he didn’t. Although Thami gets along with his new family at times he doesn’t totally feel he belongs.

He tries to be good and respects authority. He has some lessons to learn as he tries to get recognition which he feels he does not have. He is a good orator and has presence. His dream is to someday be a politician because he wants to help people and to give them a better life. His role models are Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi.

Shaughn Reyneke (Hamilton)

The youngest of four siblings, Shaughn Reyneke began his stage career in grade 1 when he played a ‘thirsty boy’. This led to a variety of roles in Sunday school plays like Alice in Wonderland, Humpty Dumpty and Robin Hood. He has spent three and a half years at the Children’s Theatre, which he describes as a ‘wow’ experience.

He has learnt to sing, dance, and mime as well as how to be a professional clown but his biggest break has been Soul Buddyz. He gets to play the spoilt rich kid who is chauffeur-driven to all school functions and has an abundant supply of money. “It’s so lekker,” he says. He aspires to writing scripts for children’s television but for now enjoys funnyman Martin Lawrence and high-kicking Jackie Chan, who are among his Hollywood heroes.

Hamilton in the series

Hamilton is the lovable comic character that he was before. He is from an affluent family and lives in a Houghton type area. He attends a private school. His parents, Desmond a high-flying consultant and Batsi, a lawyer (returned exiles) don't have much time to spend with him, but heap material things on him. They are not intentionally negligent but are very focused on their careers.

He has matriculated and is unsure of what to do since leaving school. Though not immediate and it is part of his own journey he becomes a mentor the Soul Buddyz. He is a youth dealing with issues of what to do with his life. His adopted brother Thami draws him into the world of the Soul Buddyz.

Claire Zijlestra (Kylie)

Claire studies at the National School of the Arts in Braamfontein where Arts is her favourite subject. At 15, Claire is older than the 12-year old Kylie who she plays, but shares some of her personality traits. While Kylie amuses herself with puppets, Claire makes puppets and also knows how to keep herself busy.

Soul Buddyz has given her the opportunity to act for the first time without pushing her too hard. At home she has learnt a lot about kindness and understanding from her 24-year old sister. Claire has plans for a career in graphic design and acting. “I’d like to be a presenter on K-TV and also act in some movies because I want to be known for more than just one character,” she says. Her heroes of Hollywood are Will Smith and Mel Gibson, but she chooses Oprah for deeper motivation and Charlize Theron for homegrown inspiration in facing big challenges to bring home the Oscar.

Kylie in the series

Kylie is a very likeable young girl, but is very reserved, timid and introverted. She is very sensitive and hates conflict and is therefore distraught by her family life which is characterized by conflict as a result of her father, Brett, having lost his job and becoming abusive toward her mother Cath. In this series, Brett rehabilitates, comes back into the family but soon the relationship between the parents falls apart and the fall-out throws Kylie into a spin. She starts to become a bully and feels she has no control over her life. She feels powerless and begins to try and control others. The relationship split also makes her feel rejected. She begins to target Tshidi. In this series she accepts that she can’t control her world and to be accepting of the change in her parents’ relationship.

Tamia Ameen (Brooke)

Tamia Ameen is 9yrs old and attends Grade 4 at EP Baumann Primary School. She is one of three children in her family and is fun loving yet always nurturing and caring. She enjoys the spotlight and comes alive in front of the camera and equally thrives in a team effort. Her personal vision is focused on activity in the arts. While enjoying fashion and maintaining an interest in modeling, she has achieved third place in dancing. She has a compassion for those less fortunate and underprivileged and is keen to find ways to help.

As a hard working, natural born leader, she excels at academia and aims to be among the top 20 highest achievers at school. Tamia pursues netball as part of her healthy lifestyle and loves healthy foods. Her current favourites are sushi and prawns!

Although she has changed her career goals from time to time she aspires toward a career as a scientist. She has appears on Soul Buddyz 2005 and 2006. Her hobbies include free style dancing and reading.

Brooke in the series

Brooke is unusually eloquent for a girl of her age, and is very outgoing and effusive in her gestures, like a stereotypical prima Donna, earning her the nickname Princess. Her parents are Brenda, 29, a vivacious hairdresser and Clinton, 31, a friendly, easy-going Maths teacher. She is a pretty girl – and she knows it and her parents always compliment her on her beauty. Her parents adore her and she usually goes to school with her dad after they drop off her mother at work. She loves accompanying her mom as they go shopping for clothes in downtown Jo’burg. She likes to be in control of the situation and in control of others. She likes making a big deal of all ceremonies, especially birthdays. Brooke is a victim of the tragic car crash that takes place outside the school

Serai “Stoan” Seate (Pule)

Serai “Stoan” Seate most well known for his part in highly successful band, Bongo Muffin, has dreams of owning the biggest record label in South Africa. At present the record label is only one and half years old but Stoan says he has signed himself as a solo artist, Bongo Muffin, Dogs of War and there are others in the pipeline. No stranger to the entertainment industry for the last ten years, Stoan derives his name from his rap days when he was known as ‘Stoan Kold-T’. He was called to a screen test for Soul Buddyz claiming the part of teacher, Pule, with whom Stoan says he shares his pragmatic nature and ability to maintain a positive outlook.

Apart from a cameo in Molofish, his other TV work includes presenting Castle Loud from 2001 to 2003 and Lillizela the music game show, during 2004. He admires Tumisho Masha, better known to some as Dumisani in Isidingo and his Hollywood heroes are Robert de Niro and Al Pacino.

Pule in the series

Pule is a single, attractive, seTswana speaking, man who is young at heart and loves kids as he knows their world. He is charming – the kind of man women want to take home to meet their parents. However, he seems to enjoy his bachelor status and may be afraid to commit to a relationship. He is the Inner City School’s star English teacher and choir master and enjoys poetry. He can be vulnerable, but is able to express his feelings. At school he tends to take on too much, which may land him in trouble with colleagues. However, because he is very persuasive in an argument he tends to get away with things that others can’t. He lives in a bachelor flat in Berea.

In this series Pule’s life is in turmoil, having made the decision to ask Pabi for her hand in marriage, Pabi leaves suddenly with Tumi to go and look after her ailing mother and nieces and nephews. She later indicates that she is unsure that she can commit and later decides to stay in Mpumalanga with her mother. Pule also is offered the position of acting principal, which he accepts but finds it difficult to manage the school democratically and when Zingi, a daughter he never knew arrives on his doorstep.

Alleta Majola (Gogo Constance)

Alleta Majola is not new to acting and has acted on popular series such as Hlala Kwaba Fileyo, Emzini Wezinsizwa, and The Res, Hard Copy, etc. She can speak 5 languages. She has shot TV Commercials like Vicks, Sunlight and Telkom. Her special talent include story telling and she also sings in the church choir

Gogo Constance in the series

Gogo aged 65 has been a domestic worker and has strong connection to ‘home’ where she was born in the rural areas. She has lost all four of her kids and their partners to AIDS, remaining only with one – and this have made her to become very bitter and angry. In this series, she goes though emotions, from feeling powerlessness to acceptance and finally understanding, elderly are treated.

She loves gospel and has spent much of her free time practicing with her church choir. She has to take care of her grandchildren including KG and Tshidi KG’s cousin and is under an enormous amount stress.

Obed Baloyi (Prins)

Obed formed Mangava Drama group in 1996, and wrote the play Ga-Mchangani which was staged at the Market Theatre Laboratory 7th Community Festival which led to Zwakala Festival. The play won a main stream at the Market Theatre. He has appeared in popular television series such as Izoso Connection, Heartlines, Yizo Yizo, Emzini Wezinsizwa, etc. He has also appeared in several stage productions and directed plays such as Via Soweto and Ga-Mchangani at the Market Theatre.

Prins in the series

Prins is a very quirky, charismatic school taxi driver who carries the township kids to and from the school, which is in the city. When he is not driving the kids, he does a normal route for his boss, who owns a fleet of taxis. He is Nozipho and Sipho’s uncle.

He has a very casual ‘kasi (township) approach to live. He speaks his mind and has little regard for the law. This is because he has not seen the law have much effect in the world that he lives in. He likes kids, and the best part of his day is the number of hours that he spends with the kids. He does not let the kids let on that he is a softie underneath. He likes to appear to be a hard ass. In the beginning, he succeeds and the kids are a bit wary of him, but as he gets to know the kids, his hard veneer starts to crack. He sometimes comes across as insensitive, but in his gruffness, his kindness comes through all the time.

He is very stubborn and does not like to be told what to do, so he hardly ever listens to the kids. His stubbornness is his Achilles’ heel. He was raised to believe that he is the man and should not be questioned.

Carmel Fisher (Brenda)

Carmel has appeared as a lead in Roxanne in Backstage. She also appeared in Generations. Over and above acting, her special skills include dancing, singing, MC work, public speaking, poetry writing, presenting and fashion designing

She has appeared in theatre plays such as Makhavane, Annie and recently on Fiddler on the Roof and popular commercials such as Clover, MTN, Cell-C, Coca-Cola, Wimpy etc.

Brenda in the series

Brenda is Brooke’s mother and a vivacious character with a great sense of humour and show does not mince her words. Her humorous nature was born out of her rather tragic circumstances when she was growing up. She is an entrepreneur, and owns a hair salon and thus quite fearless and a risk-taker. She is creative and is often looking for new, innovative ways of doing things, be it cooking, dressing or doing people’s hairs. She gets bored easily, but finds new ways of entertaining herself, her family and friends.

Because she had Brooke when she was very young, she lost out on being a young, carefree woman. She lives for being a mother, and does not know much else. Her life revolves around Brooke’s needs

Although she has been to therapy, she was not raised to believe in it as a way of dealing with one’s emotional problems. She grew up keeping deep emotional matters to herself. This is evident when she goes through her daughter’s death and she finally falls apart.

Mortimer Williams (Clinton)

Mortimer was born in Cape Town and his stage career began in 1995, where he performed in David Kramer and Talip Peterson’s show “Poison” at the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town and later in Malaysia and Singapore. Later in that year he performed in “Fiddler on the Roof” at the Artscape in Cape Town, as well as “Grease” the musical. In 1988 he performed on Fiela’s Child. In 2000 he performed as one of the Aristocrats in the Artscape production of “Evita’ and wrote and co-produced a production entitled “Still Crusin”, a tribute to the Beach Boys.

He has performed the lead role in Anthony Drew’s “Honk” for which he received a Vita Award Nomination; played the role on Roger in Grease and employed as a singer in Richard Loring’s African Footprint, which he traveled with to Atlanta, China, India and Australia. In 2003-2004 he continued performing on African Footprints as well as 7de Laan. Mortimer is currently on SABC’s Isidingo and has completed “That’ll be the day- the legend of Buddy Holly” at the Globe Theatre. His career highlights include performing with artist such as Bon Jovi, Judith Sepuma, Johnny Clegg, Jennifer Jones and Vicky Simpson.

Clinton in the series

Clinton is a maths teacher, and is therefore quite a logical person. When he is in distress, he finds it easier to carry on with work, rather than to deal with the deep emotional hurt he is going through.

He loves sport, and this is a pastime he engages in. He plays and watches sport religiously and his conversation is peppered with sports trivia and detail. It is a quirk of his.

Clinton is a very loyal person. He loves his friends and family deeply and once he trusts someone, it is hard for him to see anything bad about that person. He is loyal for life. He loves his family and surrounds himself with them. He is a doting father to Brooke, and a great, caring teacher. He has difficulty accepting change, but once he does, he embraces it and runs with it.

Neels Claasen (Brett)

Neels Claasen matriculated attained his BA Drama degree at the University of Pretoria. He has appeared on a number of plays which includes amongst others Cinderella, 70’s Revolution, Three Dozen Roses, and presently performs in the popular musical, We Will Rock You.

His has also featured in several popular television programmes, including Egoli, Sewende Laan, Zero Tolerance etc. Neels has been involved in all aspects of the performing arts and has also directed a few plays. He has written several educational shows, done countless radio voice-overs, and have also written shows covering all genres. He has been a part time lecturer at T.U.T in Creative Movement and is currently in the process of buying a warehouse in the J.H.B Inner city to be used as studio space for artists and a rehearsal space and corporate event venue.

Brett in the series

Brett is the archetypal white South African male - sports, boerewors and rock and roll. He hates the new order and what he thinks it has done to him. He was a great athlete and star in high school and joined the police force as a step up the ladder to success. With the arrival of democracy and changes in the police force, he became increasingly frustrated. He assaulted a fellow officer, which resulted in him getting fired. He believes he is entitled to a retrenchment package and is constantly complaining about this and the escalating crime in the country. In the meantime he has to work as a security guard at minimum wages and sometimes moonlights as a car guard far from home. He no longer participates in sports, but remains an avid rugby and sports fan. He dotes on Kylie, but doesn’t know how to show it. He was once caring and charming, but his recent life experience has eroded these qualities.