Soul City Buddyz 3-B Cast

  • Nozipho: Thando Dlamini
  • Sipho: Gift Mokhampanyane
  • Kylie: Claire Zijlestra
  • Thami: Gift Kubheka
  • Tumi: Mathapelo Matseke
  • Bonnie: Tertia Cotzee
  • Hamilton: Shaughn Reyneke
  • Thapelo: Japhta Mamabolo
  • Pule: Serai “Stoan” Seate
  • Pabi: Tumi Morake
  • Clinton: Mortimer Williams
  • Brett: Neels Claasen
  • Bheki: Dominic Fundam
  • Ntombi: Nomathamsanqa Baleka

Bios of key members of the cast

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 14-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 recites poetry (as part of therapy). She also loves to sing and combines this with a beautiful voice and an independent spirit. She is bright, with a wry sense of humour. On the inside she is vulnerable, and displays the traits of a traumatized survivor. However she is very realistic about social and material things and tends to be wise beyond her years. She tries to hide her sadness in order not to be a burden to others. Her trauma has resulted in her tending to wear over sized clothes to protect her body from the prying eyes of male predators. She may have trust issues with males as a result of her rape two years before. She is not as close to her father as she used to be and feels guilty about it. She also has a very close relationship with her brother. Her dream is to become a great singer and to meet her idol, Musa Njoko.

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 14-year old speaks English and Sotho. He is a continual 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

Sipho is, in some ways, a carbon copy of his father - quiet and responsible. But he can become irrationally angry (aggressive), outwardly rough yet privately sensitive. Although he sometimes resents being responsible for Nozipho, he loves her dearly, even more so because of the trauma she has suffered. In protecting her from “unnecessary” attention on the school grounds, he can easily resort to violence. In spite of his short fuse, Sipho has a magnetic personality with leadership qualities - and is potentially a good sportsman.

He is not as close to his mother as he used to be and tries to get her attention by doing everything she asks of him in relation to Nozipho. At some point he realizes that his actions are not paying off and he becomes resentful. His dream is to play soccer for Bafana Bafana.

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 drives a “babe” car, but can’t really afford the payments, as he is really bad with money. He lives in a bachelor flat in Berea.

Tumi Morake (Pabi)

Tumi Morake was born 22 December 1981, in Free State. She is currently a Jo’burg resident who came to Gauteng in 2000 to seek gold…

She studied Drama at Wits University and started working in the industry at Arepp Theatre for Life, a touring educational theatre company, working in Free State, North West and Gauteng. She has worked as a puppeteer, actress and facilitator. After two years of giving back to her community, she came back to Johannesburg, attending whatever writing workshops she could, and working on her stand-up routines.

She entered the comedy scene officially in July 2005 with Parker Leisure Management and performs regular stand-up gigs in Johannesburg and Pretoria. With one foot in the theatre as well, she recently returned from the ‘Danse l’Afrique Danse!’ festival in France, performing a dance piece choreographed by Hlengiwe Lushaba (Winner of the Young Artist Award for dance 2005).

Her passion for acting began when she saw her first musical at Mmabana Mmabatho aged 5. Writing is her second love and Kenny Makenzo (sole writer) and Nomzamo (seven episodes) were her debuts into the tv industry. She is currently working on For Sale, a drama series for SABC.

Pabi in the series

Paballo (Pabi) is a SeSotho-speaking single mother of a visually impaired daughter, Tumi, to whom she gave birth in her teenage years. Although she is a very responsible mother and determined to let her daughter have the best opportunities in life, she carries some guilt for not having raised Tumi in her early years in order to complete her studies and find a good a job. She managed to obtain a degree and a promotion from the rural bank where she started working to the city. In her work environment she is ambitious and combines this with the careful management of her finances. This is something that suits her well in her job as a client consultant with a bank. She is rational and extremely logical, but has unresolved baggage with Tumi’s father, Andile, who is inconsistent with his maintenance payments. He also initially denied that Tumi was his child, but promised to stick by her, only to do a run after her birth. This baggage leaves her with trust issues as far as men are concerned and has led her to lose touch with her own emotions and how to have fun. However, much of her energy is devoted to mainstreaming Tumi and engaging her school to make the necessary adjustments to the environment to accommodate her daughter.

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.

A distant cousin of Batsi's, Jackson, is the chauffeur employed to drive Hamilton. Jackson and Hamilton are very close as Hamilton spends a lot more time with him than he does with his parents. As he is the child of exiles, he doesn’t speak a black language but feels the need to learn SePedi and Jackson teaches him. Hamilton loves chess and is not very sporty. The Buddyz often call him Milto. His mother calls him sweet pea and occasionally pumpkin.

Claire Zijlestra (Kylie)

Claire studies at the National School of the Arts in Braamfontein where Art 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 has a strong fantasy life and plays with puppets as a means of accessing her own inner thoughts. Her fantasy life causes her to fabricate an ideal home life that doesn’t exist in reality. She is very sensitive and cries easily. She 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 as a sergeant in the police force. This, however, doesn’t prevent her from imagining him as a brave and heroic crime-fighter who loves his family. She dreams of being an actress as it allows her to be someone else and comes alive when performing a role.

Tertia Cotzee (Bonnie)

Tertia Cotzee who plays the part of Bonnie in Soul Buddyz says she identifies with her character because Tertia is also a dancer. Unlike the quite and introverted Bonnie, Tertia is loud and outgoing. In the 15 years of her life, Bonnie is her second acting part, as she played Yolandi in Molofish.

When she’s not studying at Greenside High School or doing her homework, she is in front of the TV taking acting tips from Pam Andrews of Backstage and Menzi Ngubane of Yizo Yizo fame. Closer to home her role model is her mother who is strong and strict, keeping her out of mischief. She wants to become a professional dancer or performer and after she has some experience, set up a casting agency as well as a dance company.

Bonnie in the series

Bonnie is very independent, confident and self possessed. She has learnt to articulate on behalf of other children and has ended up on the school LRC because of her good organizational qualities. She tries to avoid conflict and doesn’t like to stress and argue. However, because she has a strong sense of fair play she is likely to intervene in order to correct a wrong done to another child. She is therefore very sympathetic to Nozipho, whom she met at the Teddy Bear Clinic and Kylie. Although she is a good listener and very empathetic, she seeks approval and needs to liked and accepted by her group. Bonnie joined the Buddyz through Avril, and later becomes responsible for creating the new Soul Buddyz

Japhta Mamabolo (Thapelo)

At just seventeen, he can speak six languages; Japhta has achieved a lot for his age and is currently attending the National School of Arts. He has done a lot of work within radio and television. With his fluency in a couple of languages he has worked with Motsweding FM, Lesedi FM, Ukhozi FM and Thobela FM. On the television side he has worked as a presenter of e-tv’s Craze and other SABC’s productions such as Red Ribbon and HIV/Aids programme. Besides acting his other passion is fashion designing and he has done a bit of work on that and wishes to do more. His favourite people are Victoria and David Beckham, Whoopi Goldberg, Aaliyah, Thapelo Mokoena from Generations and Brenda Ngxoli from Home Affairs and Tsha Tsha. When Japhta takes time off he enjoys reading and going out with his friends

Thapelo in the series

Thapelo lives near Karabo and her Gogo in the rural area. Both of his parents died from Aids. He has an older brother, who has left school and home and works as a taxi marshal in the city in order to support the family. Because of his father’s illness over the previous year, the household responsibilities now fall on him. He cooks and cleans and washes. As a result he is often exhausted. He runs home at break to check on things and help out. Thapelo also has to care for Tshidi, his 7yr old sister. He is not very good at it, so she tends to look a bit unkempt but she doesn’t mind. Their financial circumstances have changed since their parents’ illness and death. Thapelo feels the pressure of everything he has to do and is stressed.

Mathapelo Matseke (Tumi)

At 12, Mathapelo speaks Tswana at home and also has her tongue around English and Afrikaans. This may have something to do with her schooling at Prinshof in Pretoria where Maths and Afrikaans are her favourite subjects. She is also a keen student of Natural Science and Technology and has plans to become a nurse while she develops her acting talents.

She admires Tumi the Soulbuddyz character who she plays, for her ability to show others that they are not alone in suffering with problems of sight or blindness. Mathapelo too, has problems with her sight but her glasses help her to cope. Karabo of Generations is her hero and movies at the top of her list are Harry Potter and The Mask, while Madagascar is on her list of must-see entertainment

Tumi in the series

Tumi is a bright, sensitive, visually impaired young girl for whom spectacles offer no solution. She was raised by Pabi’s grandmother amd used to attend a school for the blind and visually impaired. She has only been living with Pabi, her mother for the past five years. Tumi doesn’t recognize people easily as it is difficult for her to distinguish facial features, which tends to confuse those who know her. She is also sometimes accused of not listening because she has trouble making eye contact. She has to read large print books and sit at the front of the class in order to see anything on the black board and teachers have to write in large script and read out aloud as they write in order to allow her to keep in touch with lessons. Her disability tends to lead to frustrations that cause her to lash out at others to vent. She dreams of being a great scientist and is good at Maths and Science. She misses her father in spite of his sporadic reappearance in her life.

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 story

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.

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