The Cast

Find out more about your favourite cast member and the character they play


  • Bonnie Henna – Sister Zanele
  • Siyabonga Twala - Dali
  • David Butler - Duncan Birchett
  • Anna Mart Van der Merwe - Joan Birchett
  • Pumla Bacela - Maria
  • Sam Phillips - Odwa
  • Jerry Mofokeng – Joe
  • Mfana ‘Jones’ Hlophe – Jabu
  • Conny Setjeo – Conny
  • Sibulele Gcilitshana - Zandi
  • David Dennis - Sol
  • Lillian Dube – Sister Bettina
  • Innocent Modiba – Tshepo
  • Thomas Tsotetsi – Zuko
  • Rantsatsi Rantsatsi - Mandla
  • Nomava Kibare – Lihle
  • Zandile Msutwana - Sister Sonto
  • Khanyiso Crowder – Naledi
  • Pabi Moloi – Unathi
  • Wilson B Nkosi – Sheriff
  • Daphney Hlomuka – Nikiwe


Bonnie Henna (Sister Zanele)

Bonnie Henna was born in Soweto and attended school at Belgravia Convent and Greenside High School in Johannesburg. She’s the eldest of three children and at 13 she was discovered at a bus stop on her way home from school by an actor's agent who cast her in her first job on a television series titled Viva Families.

This was followed by cameo roles in the international productions Born Free 2 and Cave Girls. Henna went on to present various magazine programs for television including Teleschool, Zapmag, Technics Heart of the Beat and Limits Unlimited. In 2001, she landed a lead role in the hit television soap Backstage aimed at South Africa's youth. She was later cast in the role of Portia, an AIDS victim, in the series Gazlam. This was followed by a role in the detective series, Zero Tolerance.

Over the past few years, she has hosted a talk show in South Africa on SABC 1 entitled True-Life, won a role in the mini-series Homecoming, and appeared in two Canadian television series, Charlie Jade, a sci-fi epic and Scouts Safari an adventure series set in the African wild and completed a major role in Home Affairs for Penguin Films, a thirteen part series interlinking the lives of five very different women.

In film, she has played the role of singer Dolly Radebe, in Drum, the lead role in the Danish film, Zero Gravity, directed by the acclaimed Jon Bang Carlsen and, most recently, she has played opposite Tim Robbins and Derek Luke in the Phillip Noyce blockbuster, Catch a Fire. Her most recent television is the series Soul City in which she plays the lead, Zanele.

Siyabonga Twala (Dali)

Siyabonga can dance, sing and act which makes him a real star. He hails from KwaZulu Natal Umlazi Townships and he started acting in 1989. He has featured in movies as well as in theatre. He has featured on Bergville Stories which was directed by Duma kaNdlovu and has toured the United States. He has also appeared in Burning Blue, Turkish Delight, Siyavuma, Aladdin which he did in Afrikaans, Blues Brothers for which he won a Vita award.

He has also done television work where he appeared on Mama’s Love and Lahliwe.

David Butler (Duncan)

David was born in Cape Town where he studied Drama at the University of Cape Town. He made his professional debut in 1983 in the play Another Country and has since appeared in some 70 plays.

He has lately focused on South African drama. He performed the one-man play about the life of writer Herman Charles Bosman, A Touch of Madness. David has played leads in 20 television dramas such as The Game, Timber, The Big Time, Where Angels Tread, The Res and the BBC series Rhodes. Recent international film productions include Hoof of Africa and The Rose Grower. He also recently played in two local films, The Zulu Love Letter and Gums & Noses.

Anna Mart Van Der Merwe (Joan Birchett)

Multi award winner Anna Mart van der Merwe is bi-lingual in English and Afrikaans. Having trained at the University of Cape Town, Anna Mart initially worked for the now defunct Performing Arts Council of the Transvaal, productions including Women of Troy, Boo to the Moon and Four Play. Further theatre includes The Seagull, Moby Dick, Die Vleiroos, Uit die Bloute, King Lear, Uncle Vanya and Twaalfde Nag. More recently Imbumba and Begeerte at The Klein Karoo Arts Festival, and a season of Begeerte at The Baxter Theatre in Cape Town.

Much of Anna Mart's immense popularity has arisen from her leading roles in television. These include Veldslag for Franz Marx Films, Sonkring 1 and 2 for Scholtz films, Konings for Brigadier Films, Paradys for Eklips, The Syndicate for Cape Waterfront, Soul City for Bobby Heaney, Secret in my Bosom for Thapama Productions, Sewende Laan for Danie Odendaal, and Amalia for Sonneblom Films.

Her films include leads in Taxi to Soweto, Die Storie van Klara Viljee, Red Dust and The Long Run directed by Britain’s Jean Stewart and starring Armin Mueller Stahl.

Pumla Mavis Bacela (Maria)

Mavis has worked in a number of productions, she started as a teacher and has been a principal as well. She’s been on Tshatsha, Mponeng, Muvhango, Lab, Justice for all and Jozi H.

Sam Phillips (Odwa)

Sam is an actor, writer, music composer, director and producer. He caught the bug of performing in High School at Langa High in Cape Town. He joined the non racial People’s Space Theatre in 1974, and played in the first ‘multi-racial’ production Lycistrata at the Space. He performed in the first black production The Sacrifice of Kreli and joined the Market Theatre in 1971 with the Merchant of Venice. When TV 2 started in 1980, he settled in Johannesburg as a TV actor, played lead in several religious programs including the acclaimed Monna wa Cyrene and Ibali lika Yona. He has played lead in dramas and comedies including Phamokate, Umzi Nento zawo, Tholwana tsa Sethepu, Backstage and many others. He has also features in international plays like Atholl Fugard’s Master Herold and the Boys in New Orleans, Selaelo Maredi’s Absolom’s Song with the Los Angeles Theatre and main supporting role in Ace Ventura/ When Nature Calls.

He is an Oscar nominee for playing lead in Senzeni na?, which was nominated for Best Short Story with the American Film Institution (AFI) in 1990. He has worked as an assistant editor at Kinnerland and Scholtz Filoms in the 80’s for these films Motlhalefi Molefe, Ifa lika Mthetwa, Masechaba etc. He directed Woza Albert at McGowan theatre in UCLA and held several Workshops at the Hollywood Theatre Rapport. He has also worked as a producer for Nna Sajene Kokobela and 102 Paradise Complex as well composed music for 102 Paradise Complex which was sung by Brenda Fassie, Nna Sajene Kokobela, Motlhalefi Molefe, Nonwane, also wrote the lyrics for the feature Bopha directed by Morgan Freeman.

Jerry Mofokeng (Joe)

Jerry came from the humble beginnings at Orlando West High School and Youth Alive Ministries in Soweto in the 1970s. He went into acting as a past time in community theatre during the turbulent years of the students’ unrest. Having had to be actor, writer, director and producer in that context, he quickly hit the ceiling and proceeded to Wits Drama School where he initially went to major in acting. He went on to Columbia University in America where he obtained his Masters Degree in Theatre Directing.

In the 1990s he went through an eclectic career spanning from teaching at his alma mater – Wits, to an Associate Artistic Director at The Johannesburg Civic Theatre, to the Chief Director of Mpumalanga department of sports and culture, and finally the Artistic Director of The State Theatre – Pretoria.

And now, Jerry is a freelance artist investing in his varied skills in the arts – acting, directing, writing and teaching. Besides playing the baddies’ roles on television, Jerry has also portrayed other varied roles including Hlabeni the taxi driver in Cry The Beloved Country, Walter Sisulu in One Man One Vote, Thami in Friends, Hank in Drumbeats, Induna in Rhodes, Mzwakhe in Inside, Vusi in Tarzan, the magistrate in Justice For All, the lawyer in Yizo Yizo, the diviner in Bones and Darkie “The cop” in Behind The Badge. Jerry was also in Tsotsi (Oscar Winner “Best Foreign Film”) film based on Athol Fugard’s novel. Jerry is currently a presenter on Curious Culture.

Mfana “Jones” Hlophe (Jabu)

Mfana “Jones” Hlophe studied in Durban and matriculated in 1987. With his skills in music he joined Mbongeni Ngema School of Art (Committed Artists) and was chosen to join the second company of Sarafina in 1989 touring Europe.

In 1992 he decided to upgrade his career and went on to Gibson Kente’s School of Art where he started writing his scripts under Kente’s guidance. In 1993 he got a role in Kente’s “Mfowethu” and performed in Bloemfontein (PACOFS). In 1994 he joined the African Research and Puppetry Programmes (AREPP) and learned to be a puppeteer for almost a year.

In 1995 he composed music and played a lead role in a European company called Eurostage and with the cast of “Isikulu” toured European countries. In 1997, Mfana was chosen to play a lead role in “Ipi Ntombi”. He has been in productions at the Market Theatre such as Five Guys Named Mo, Woza Albert, The Necklace, Bergville Stories and choreographed “Unsung Heroes” by Doris Sihule.

He directed an AIDS show called “Waiting” that targeted tertiary schools in Gauteng. In his free time he teaches African Dance at Moyo Studios and creates new songs and dances with artists who have upcoming gigs. On television he has featured in Stokvel, Emzini Wezinsizwa, Mama’s Love and Khululeka.

Conny Setjeo (plays herself)

Soul City introduced a new actress; one whose real life story is revealed during episodes in 2005 and 2006. It was after watching an episode of Soul City in 1999 that Conny decided to go and check her HIV status. She was horrified to discover that she was HIV+; having been infected by her ex husband who began an affair after a few months of marriage.

On hearing of her status, with no counseling, she resolved to kill herself immediately, but changed her mind and spent three months planning for her death. After this did not transpire she began to pick up the pieces of her life.

She watched Soul City and called to ask why actresses were being used instead of real people like herself who are HIV+ and on ARVs who deeply understand the issues. Well then she earned herself a starring role in the series!

Conny is a talented poet.

She has no previous acting experience but has her own business, Setjeo and Associates, which advises businesses on HIV strategies. She also talks at high schools and church groups.

Sibulele Gcilitshana (Zandi)

Armed with a National Diploma in Musical Theatre from the Pretoria Technikon in 2002, Sibulele Gcilitshana is set for a dazzling career. Combining all the talents of acting, dancing and singing, she was nominated for an FNB Vita Award for Best New Actress.

Sibu has graced the stage in numerous performances including The Stadium, Blow the Whistle, the Bells of Amesfoort and Songs and Tales. She also has experience in corporate theatre and videos as well as educational theatre.

David Dennis (Sol)

David Dennis is one of the most distinguished South African actors having appeared in well over seventy theatre productions in all the major theatres in the country rounding his 22 year career with comedy, drama, theatre-radio as well as television.

A highly celebrated actor, David’s honours include a Vita “best actor in leading role” Award for Frank in the physical comedy Frank ‘n Stein and a Gallo Award for his performance as Riff Raff in the first SA production of The Rocky Horror Show. Later he received a Vita for his role as Frank ‘n Furter in the 1988 production.

David is well known for the classics, especially Shakespeare and has appeared as the king in King Lear. Best known for his portrayal of Sol in Soul City, other television appearances include Karim Davids (Isidingo), Judge Frederick Davitz (Justice For All) and advertising executive David Botha (It Rained Last Night).

Lillian Dube (Sister Bettina)

Lillian Dube is one of the most outstanding and distinguished actresses in the country. She’s been in the entertainment industry for 20 years and has appeared in television, films and theatre.

She has been honoured with awards like Astera Award for best actress in drama as well as Life Time Achiever Award which she received in 2004. Lillian has appeared in Curl Up and Dye which toured Scotland and Germany. She has appeared in films like Cry the Beloved Country, African Skies. She is best known for her portrayal of Sister Bettina in Soul City, other television appearances include Generations, Soul Buddyz and Mponeng to mention a few.

Rantsatsi Rantsatsi (Mandla)

Born in 1983 Rantsatsi is a new upcoming actor. He realised his love for acting at Bracken High School where he got involved in a few plays. He also got involved in arts and culture when he attended Johannesburg Technical College where he was studying mechanical engineering. He has appeared on Backstage as a supporting actor (Tebogo) and has since joined Soul City in the role of Mandla. His role in Soul City has allowed him to grow as an actor and he has engaged with well established actors and actresses like James Ngcobo, Xolile Tshabalala, Lillian Dube to mention a few. Rantsatsi would like to be a director and producer.

Khanyiso Crowder (Naledi)

Khanyiso is a Swazi born 25 year old who moved to South Africa in 2002. She has done some cameo roles but Soul City has been the largest project that she has worked on. She is a voice over artist as well for radio and television advertisements. Khanyiso is studying Film and Television part time at Monash University and would like to start her own production company and be able to produce her own shows, documentaries and other exciting and informative programmes. She is inspired by women like Noeleen and Basetsana within the entertainment industry.

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